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The ISS  (Source: NASA)
China wants in, but the U.S. may not allow it

Chinese space officials today announced the country is still willing to work alongside the United States on extraterrestrial endeavors, especially the International Space Station.

"We sincerely hope to conduct cooperation with the United States in the field of space," said Li Xueyong, Vice Minister of Space and Technology.  "At some point we hope to take part in the activities relating to international space stations."

Sixteen nations are currently involved in the ISS project, but China is not one of them even though the country has one of the fastest growing space programs in the world.  China would ultimately like to have an astronaut stationed on the ISS in the future, but must convince the United States and other partners to allow a communist nation to be allowed to participate in the project.

Li did not clearly specify how China hopes to help the participating nations work on the ISS.

State media in China reported the country plans to launch its first lunar probe before November, only weeks after Japan launched one into orbit.  In 2003, China became the third nation to successfully launch an astronaut into orbit with no help from other nations.

There is growing concern over the country's expanding space program, which reached a new level after China announced it had destroyed an old satellite last January by shooting a land-based missile to destroy it.  Critics of the launch claim China could theoretically launch a missile to destroy active military satellites, though Chinese officials still claim the nation has only peaceful plans for space.

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RE: china is a nice place
By Gul Westfale on 10/16/2007 7:36:10 PM , Rating: 3
about communism:
china isn't "really" communist, neither in name nor in actions. east germany for example called itself Deutsche Demokratische Republik, but they were really a dictatorship since only one political party was allowed in the "republic". there were other smaller ones but they never were alowed to have any power. china works more or less the same way, officially a republic but there is only one party so the head of the party is essentially a dictator for as long as he stays on top of the party.

they aren't communist in action though because communism would mean that they are a classless society in which all and everything material is shared between all people. that is obviously not the case, china (just like russia, east germany, and every "democratic" country in the world) also has a ruling class that controls the country politically and economically. the whole "communism" thing just gives them something to hide behind when people demand worker's rights or better education, wages, healthcare... "sorry same crap for everyone, we're communists!" at the same time the leaders get to be chauffered around in limos, and eat the finest foods, of course...

as for letting them in on the ISS program: yes and no. yes because the ISS has already experienced delays due to russian underfunding, and due to the columbia accident. thus allowing the chinese to manufacture components either for the station or for launching systems (like booster tanks for the shuttle) could be helpful.

no because the chinese are inexperienced; the two countries with the most experience in manned spaceflights are the US and russia, and i think europe's ariane rocket is the most successful private satellite launch program. all three have experienced massive problems (challenger, columbia, and various other incidents in the 60s and 70s for the US, similar problems for the soviets, and repeated failures of the ariane rockets even recently), despite their experience and expertise. so chinese accidents will happen, and it would not be so nice if something serious happened on the ISS, where every partner nations sand astronauts would be affected by one country's screwup. maybe in 10 to 15 years china will be ready for something like this, but not now, imho.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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