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  China and the International Space Station

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Author Topic:   China and the International Space Station
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-24-2010 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A Roscosmos release, citing Interfax, suggests China has been invited to join the International Space Station program but has yet to respond.
International Space Station partners have not received any response from China on a proposal to join the ISS program, Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov stated during the International Economical Forum in St. Petersburg.

Speaking about Russian role in the program, Perminov reminded that US shuttles are to be retired soon, leaving Soyuz to maintain crew transportation services solely for the ISS, Interfax informs.

"This is rather dangerous, any expert recognizes that. There must a backup for the Soyuz. We wish some country would have it, and we contacted China with its human spaceflight program mature enough to maintain crew transportation in the program, asking to join the ISS partnership. However there was no response”, Perminov said.

via Parabolic Arc

jimsz
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posted 06-24-2010 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How can China's manned space program be considered mature? They have launched three manned spaceflights.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-24-2010 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perminov proposes using Shenzhou only as a backup to Soyuz, which might suggest that he feels China will have enough time to advance Shenzhou further before it would be called into service.

More information is needed than the three paragraphs provided by Roscosmos...

issman1
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posted 06-25-2010 01:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be surprising if such an invitation were turned down.

Regardless of whether or not China's human spaceflight programme is "mature," it makes perfect sense to have multiple access to the space station.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-25-2010 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Ken Monroe, staff member for the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics:
NASA confirmed with Director of Roscosmos' human space flight program; Russia has not issued an invitation to China to join the ISS partnership.

issman1
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posted 06-26-2010 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Chinese participation in the ISS is a matter of when, not if.

GoesTo11
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posted 03-24-2012 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aviation Week reports that European Space Agency Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain met with his Chinese counterpart March 22-23 to discuss future cooperation in manned spaceflight, including the potential for a Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station (ISS).
The two sides met at Dordain’s request on the sidelines of the European Space Agency’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) launch to the ISS March 23 to further establish a dialogue and lay the groundwork for potential Sino-European cooperation in manned spaceflight.

“For the moment we cannot dock and rendezvous with the ISS, because our system is not the same as the Americans or the Russians,” said Wang Zhaoyao, the newly named director general of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (Cmseo), adding that experts from both agencies are expected to establish a working group that will meet in Paris next month to discuss Shenzhou’s compatibility with a planned ISS common docking mechanism. “We would like to have cooperation.”

The bilateral talks come just months ahead of China’s plan to perform its first manned space-docking operation with Shenzhou 9. Wang says a crew of three onboard the spacecraft are expected to board the Tiangong 1 pressurized “docking target” space module launched last September, following a combination of automated and manual rendezvous and docking procedures.

Dordain says the two sides are discussing a range of collaborative opportunities in the area of manned spaceflight, including astronaut training, life-support systems and utilization of each other’s space station facilities.

While no concrete proposals are on the table, Dordain says the ISS partners should be open to cooperation with other countries, including China...

Editor's note: Threads merged.

dom
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posted 03-24-2012 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
About time. If a commercial company is allowed to fly to the ISS, I don't see why the third manned space nation can't do so too!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-24-2012 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only commercial companies permitted to fly to the space station (e.g. RSC Energia, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences) are doing so in the hire of existing partners in the program.

Inviting China to dock at the space station is a much more complex issue, such that the comparison is not appropriate. The considerations go far beyond politics and even technology.

For example, what happens if in the course of a docking, something goes wrong and Shenzhou damages the station? In the case of a Soyuz or Dragon, the liabilities are addressed by the agreements between partners. But what about a non-partner? (And if the answer is to make China a partner, then the situation becomes even more complex.)

GoesTo11
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posted 03-24-2012 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
I think Chinese participation in the ISS is a matter of when, not if.
Agreed, but given that the United States paid for the bulk of the ISS's construction, and controls access to the station both in terms of re-crewing and re-supplying... any joint ISS operations involving China should be conditional: Subject to existing policies pertaining to the exchange of technology between the PRC and the United States, as well as related security issues.

Wait...what? Ah crap. Never mind.

dom
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posted 03-25-2012 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I personally think an invitation to China to conduct an ASTP type link-up would be a good thing in the long run. Paperwork issues aside, it seems ridiculous to bar the next space superpower from access to an 'International' space station.

Making friends with them on this issue might avoid a future Cold War type space race that the west obviously can't afford right now. China is going to build their own space station within the next 20 years and there might be calls for them to allow us visit that too...

moorouge
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posted 11-09-2012 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is called the International Space Station. However, at this point in time only the Russians have the capability to launch manned (personned!) flights to it even though other nationals can be part of the crews.

This said, how likely is it that a manned Chinese vehicle would be allowed to dock in the future? What procedures and permissions would have to be sought? What technological exchanges would have to be made to ensure the Chinese had a compatible docking system?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

SkyMan1958
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posted 11-09-2012 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find it rather amusing that the Russians and the Europeans are talking about letting the Chinese use the ISS. As the saying goes, "money talks, bovine scat walks".

Given that the US is the main financial contributor to the ISS, it is extremely unlikely that the Chinese would be allowed to dock anytime soon (except in a hypothetical emergency) as it would be contrary to current codified US law regarding cooperation in space with the PRC.

I personally have no problem working with the Chinese in space as equal partners ONCE they have spent the money to fully develop their own state of the art space technologies, AND have repeatedly operationally used them. However, given that China and the US are competitors, until that point in time when China has it's own state of the art technology, given China's current proven track record with, in essence, stealing technology, I see NO point in helping them along with one of the few areas left that the US has superior technology.

Once the Chinese have advanced to state of the art space technologies (and used them), say in the 2020 - 2025 timeframe, it makes sense to me to then fully internationalize space exploration... Of course, given the clearly developing space race in Asia, by then India might want to hitch a ride too.

issman1
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posted 11-10-2012 12:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
Given that the US is the main financial contributor to the ISS, it is extremely unlikely that the Chinese would be allowed to dock anytime soon...
Now that Obama is US president, till inauguration day 2017, perhaps we will see a mellowing of this?

quote:
I personally have no problem working with the Chinese in space as equal partners ONCE they have spent the money to fully develop their own state of the art space technologies...
Tiangong-1 has been orbiting for over a year with visits from Shenzhou capsules. China is one of two entities capable of returning downmass from a space station, the other is SpaceX.

cosmos-walter
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posted 11-10-2012 05:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't forget, each Soyuz carries three astronauts and some 100 kg of freight to earth.

On the other hand, China has a slow but insistent space program. I doubt, they are producing any spare Shenzhou spaceship not needed in their own space program. If China was to fly a rescue mission to ISS, it would be necessary, they had docked and tested concurrence of different technologies before.

dom
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posted 11-10-2012 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I fear we might have our "head in the sand" a little if we're debating whether China is good enough to join the ISS project.

They are steadily increasing their launch rate - with their next mission rumoured for next June - and before we know it China is going to be a major space power to reflect their increasing economic firepower.

Like I've said before, the tables could very well be turned and the west might find itself refused permission to dock at a Chinese-led "asian space station" in the future!

SkyMan1958
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posted 11-10-2012 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Clearly they are good enough... The question is whether the US wants to give them even more technology. I for one vote against it.

If you believe in an "asian space station" I believe you are severely lacking in historical knowledge about that part of the world. Theoretically, yes China could have some sort of an asian international station, but given historical enmities I would be extremely surprised if any countries besides North Korea, Pakistan, Burma and maybe Cambodia would join it. Not exactly a who's who of countries with either major technology, space know-how or economic capabilities.

Given the coalescing group of countries who fear China's rise, and their own stated interest in space development, I could more easily believe in an asian space station with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India, and potentially Australia being the lead partners.

dom
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posted 11-10-2012 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding co-operation aboard a future 'asian' space station, maybe you assume I mean one launched by a China that's still run by the Communist party? I don't, as I think their days in power are numbered!

I'm simply stating that if we get too hung up on the "technology transfer" issue, we are going to find that when Chinese technology gets to the same standards (which it will eventually) the west might find it failed to make the right contacts at the beginning and our knowledge/experience is irrelevant as the Chinese would have discovered the secrets of spaceflight all by themselves!

SkyMan1958
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posted 11-10-2012 09:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you believe that the Chinese won't want in the future to work with the premiere space power (or let's say in the future co-equal space power with the Chinese, e.g. leading them in some areas and behind them in others) then I guess we really don't have anything to discuss. That's not how real world politics work...

dom
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posted 11-11-2012 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, I'm saying that the "window of opportunity" to start co-operating with the Chinese is now. If we snub them, then I wouldn't be surprised that they might have a long memory in the future when they become a major space power.

I have a feeling that we all really don't know how the future of space exploration is going to turn out in the 21st century. For example who could have imagined in the year 1900 that America would have been the first to the Moon?

The mind boggles what a nation of over one billion people (all living in an overcrowded country and who would willingly become space colonists if given a ticket out of there!) is capable of when it becomes a great space power.

As space enthusiasts we should all be focussing less on earthly politics and thinking about mankind's long term future in space. I'm not thinking ten years into the future with my comments, I'm thinking fifty years from now. China on the ISS is trivial when viewed in that context!

All times are CT (US)

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