European Space Scientists Anxious for a Part of China’s Space ProgramPosted: October 5, 2016
The International Space Station (ISS) will retire in 2024 while China’s first space station will be in service by 2022. On 28 March 2015, Russia announced that Russia and the US had agreed on cooperation in developing a replacement, but the US failed to confirm in its statement later.
Given current tension between Russia and the US, the cooperation is not quite likely. European scientists are anxious to join China’s space program so that they can use China’s space station.
SCMP says in its report “For scientists reaching for the stars, China offers leg-up – with litmus test” on October 4, “For three days in Shanghai late last month, leading Chinese space scientists met their European counterparts to discuss how to work together on projects that push the limits of technology.”
China’s ambitious projects of world largest space telescope, space station, installation of an atom interferometer in space station, Mars exploration and landing humans on the moon are very attractive. China welcome European cooperation but there is a precondition:
SCMP quotes Du Yuanjie, an engineering researcher at China Academy of Space Technology, as saying, “they must bring to the table something that will make a tangible contribution to the mission” and that Western countries should not approach China for collaboration with second- or third-rate technology, because it would be regarded as humiliation.
Does China have first-rate technology in the first place? Years ago, the US did not allow China to join the ISS for fear that China, being too backward, may steal US advanced technology. Now however, SCMP says “Ojha (Anu Ojha, director of the British National Space Academy) said Western space scientists were ‘shocked’ by the progress in the Chinese space programme. Chinese researchers had come up with solutions to some engineering problems that were ‘completely different’ from those in the West and that worked equally well or even better.”
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/tech/china-tech/article/2024305/western-scientists-reaching-stars-china-offers-leg-litmus-test