First Date With China

Today NASA chief Mike Griffin is in China, saying 你好 ("ni hao"; hello) to Chinese space officials in a visit he has called a "first date." Indeed, the trip marks the first time a head of the US space agency has paid a visit to the third nation in the world to send its own citizens into orbit.

Here are
highlights of Dr. Griffin's trip posted on NASA.gov. This is a news update (via AP). And we'll be hearing more about the visit, which lasts until Thursday.

Jeff Foust says, "there's little evidence of a space race brewing between the US and China (despite occasional hyperbolic claims to the contrary)..."

* * *
On a semi-related note, while NASA at home has
withdrawn an invitation to the Sex in Space author to sign copies of her hot book at JPL, I wonder if folks at the China National Space Administration (CNSA) will be reading her publication? (I'm sure Mike did not bring along any gift copies. Well come on, it's not that kind of date.) (Link via NASA Watch.)

UPDATE 9/26: Some news on the talks -
transcript of the press conference in Beijing, with Mike Griffin along with astronaut Shannon Lucid, associate administrator for space operations Bill Gerstenmaier and U.S. ambassador to China Clark Randt, Jr., in which Dr. Griffin said, among other things, "There are no plans on our part to work with China on the ISS construction." (Via SpaceRef)

And some quick links:
NASA to Limit Cooperation with China's Space Program - (AP via Space.com)

NASA, China consider limited space ties: In Beijing, U.S. space chief says joint human missions are `down the road.' (Reuters via MSNBC)

Visiting China, NASA chief indicates nations won't partner up soon. (Houston Chronicle)

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