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Co-operation With US In Space Sector Welcomed

In addition to building ground facilities, half of China's expenditure has been allocated to the rocket and spacecraft systems, both of which were developed by Zhang's company, the Study Times weekly reported this week.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) May 08, 2006
China looks forward to co-operating with the United States in the space field, and expects personnel exchanges between the two sides will become "normal", a senior aerospace executive said on Wednesday in Beijing.

Asked to comment on the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) chief Michael Griffin's upcoming trip to China, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp President Zhang Qingwei said China had always welcomed such visits.

He said that in January, a bipartisan congressional delegation visited China,

Delegation member Tom Feeney talked about immediate areas of US space co-operation with China, and reportedly said that future US spacecraft should be able to dock at the space station China is planning.

Griffin said he had accepted an invitation from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) to visit China for talks on possible Sino-American space co-operation. The agenda of the trip has not been announced yet.

"We welcome them (US visitors) to take a look over here," Zhang told China Daily.

"But personally, I hope the exchanges will become more reciprocal."

Zhang was referring to the fact that while China's door has been open to US visitors, Chinese aerospace staff have frequently been denied visas in recent years.

Most recently, when deputy chief of CNSA Luo Ge visited the US earlier last month, some members of his delegation were denied visas, according to Zhang.

Chinese space scientists have sometimes had difficulty in attending international space conferences held in the United States, even though the events were not sponsored by the US, Zhang added.

Zhang said he hoped the situation would change.

NASA chief Griffin was quoted by AFP as saying of his upcoming China visit: "I think the United States has always benefited from discussions, I do not see how it can hurt us."

Griffin told a Senate subcommittee on science and space during a hearing in Washington DC last Tuesday that he was looking forward to the visit.

Griffin said that the United States needs both good partners and competitors in space exploration, and sometimes they can be both a competitor and a partner.

Zhang said as with other countries, China and the United States can co-operate in areas including deep space exploration, commercial satellite launches and manned space flights.

"So far as technology is concerned, we will respect each other's intellectual property rights," he said.

Zhang, also deputy chief commander of China's Manned Space Programme, said that technological innovation has enabled China to "spend less money but achieve more" in its manned space programme.

The country has earmarked around 20 billion yuan (US$2.47 billion) for its manned space programme since it was initiated in 1992, catapulting China into the exclusive space club that three years ago housed only the former Soviet Union and the United States.

The spending paled when compared with the cost of the US Appollo Programme, which totalled US$25 billion, spent between 1962 and 1972.

In addition to building ground facilities, half of China's expenditure has been allocated to the rocket and spacecraft systems, both of which were developed by Zhang's company, the Study Times weekly reported this week.

Theoretically, the more tests and trial launches are made, the higher success rate for both rockets and spacecraft.

With painstaking technological brainstorming, Chinese scientists have applied 55 new technologies, including innovative solutions for fault detection and escape systems, on the Long March 2F rocket the carrier of China's spacecraft, raising its reliability rate from 91 per cent for unmanned launches to 97 per cent for manned missions, Zhang said.

The overall safety rate reached a staggering 99.7 per cent, he said.

Space innovations have been increasingly applied to national economic development, Zhang said.

Between 1999 and 2005, China successfully launched two manned and four unmanned space missions atop the Long March 2F rockets.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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China Welcomes NASA Chief But Calls On US To Be More Open
Beijing (AFP) May 05, 2006
China is looking forward to an upcoming visit by the head of NASA but has called on the United States to be more welcoming to its space officials, state media said Thursday. US National Aeronautic and Space Administration chief Michael Griffin said last month he had accepted an invitation from the China National Space Administration to visit the country, although no date has yet been announced.

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