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NASA Willing To Team With China; Rumors of a Budget Cut

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the let's-dance dept.

NASA 200

eldavojohn writes "2009 has been an interesting year for NASA — from a new strategy to even closer ties with an old enemy. So it's perhaps no surprise that NASA has publicly stated that they are ready to team up with China. NASA Chief Charles Bolden said, 'I am perfectly willing, if that's the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a partner in any space endeavor. I think they're a very capable nation. They have demonstrated their capability to do something that only two other nations that have done — that is, to put humans in space. And I think that is an achievement you cannot ignore. They are a nation that is trying to really lead. If we could cooperate we would probably be better off than if we would not.' While the budget of the China National Space Administration is a fraction of NASA's, partnering with them has been considered since 2008. In possibly related news, rumors are circulating of the Obama administration cutting NASA's budget by ten percent for fiscal year 2011 despite the success of Monday's Atlantis launch. Considering the Augustine panel's recommendations, such a cut could halt US human space flight for a decade."

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200 comments

You're doing it wrong (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134458)

We need China as competitor, not a partner. We need some sort of 'gap' to get the ignorant hordes* all worked up so they'll pay for it.

*Congress

Do we really want the Chinese in space? (0, Offtopic)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134574)

All they're going to do is put lead in it...

Re:Do we really want the Chinese in space? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135022)

All they're going to do is put lead in it...

There is a nationalist cry for us to rally around:
"Let's get the lead out in our quest for space!"

Re:You're doing it wrong (2, Interesting)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134842)

Considering China owns 10% of our debt ($800 billion) I wonder if Obama was made an offer he couldn't refuse.

Re:You're doing it wrong (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134952)

I wish our debt was only $8 trillion.... Try $12 trillion -- and that's before unfunded obligations are included.

Re:You're doing it wrong (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135156)

I wonder if Obama was made an offer he couldn't refuse.

Somehow I don't think the Chinese are crazy enough to try and blackmail a nuclear armed state. It would hurt them as much as it would hurt us anyway. In the long run it might even be worse for them, as it would bring their economic growth to a screeching halt.

What pisses me off is that we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars we don't have on health care "reform" that isn't and hundreds of billions more on invading countries that never attacked us but we can't find the money to fund NASA. The last round of serious investment into space exploration brought us cheap microchips, GPS, satellite photography, etc.

Fucking shortsighted stupidity.

Re:You're doing it wrong (0)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135934)

The Chinese have nuclear weapons capable of hitting the US as well. I don't think they're too worried we're going to nuke them.

Besides, they have something better. Go ask an economics professor what happens to the United States if China dumps their $1 Trillion in US debt for $10 Billion.

Re:You're doing it wrong (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30136010)

Besides, they have something better. Go ask an economics professor what happens to the United States if China dumps their $1 Trillion in US debt for $10 Billion.

The same thing that would happen to your neighbor if he dumped his $100,000 house for $1,000. He'd lose a shitload of money.

Yes, it would hurt us, but it would hurt them just as badly if not more so.

Re:You're doing it wrong (3, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135336)

People make such a big deal out of China owning the US debt. They do so to act as a currency reserve because historically (meaning over of the last 50 years) the US has had significantly lower inflation and instability than most other nations. But the primary reason the Chinese have purchased US debt is identical to the reason the Japenesse continue to invest billions of Yen in the Debt, and that's to keep the US dollar artificially elevated.

These governments are intervening and unbalancing currencies to artificially keep the dollar high and cause imports to be cheaper in the US to wipe out US industrial production. Eventually the market will correct, but because of the intervention the correction is going to be much sharper than had it been allowed to happen naturally. Once the dollar drops to reflect the actual real value of the dollar US exports will rise and the system will re-balance but the pain level for the US consumer is going to be very very high. But we can't compete when we allow foreign governments to manipulate the value of currency to keep it high. Currency manipulation is a serious issue with China, it should be the top priority of any negotiations with China.

Re:You're doing it wrong (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135576)

The difference between Japan and China is that Japan DOES buy from us. Lots. China only buys resources. In fact, we have MANY things that they need. For starters, pollution control from most of the western nations. Yet, they are wanting us to GIVE THEM the tech. With China sitting on 4 TRILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS, they should be buying this and dropping their pollution and even CO2 emission. But, they do not. Japan wants to win at 2 way trade. China is in a cold war with western nations.

Re:You're doing it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135956)

You might want to start to do some buying of that anti pollution tech yourself. Last time I checked USA refused any commitment to lower its pollution at all and was the biggest polluter in the world.

If China wanted to hurt the US it would start shifting its dollar. It isn't a stable currency anymore anyway. The only thing that keeps it alive are foreign investments and that the OPEC trades its oil in $. No one in their right mind seriously thinks the US could even touch China military wise. You are thin stretched as it is fighting some small 3rd world countries. I guess the situation with the oil producing countries isn't that clear, you seem to be picking fights with those who don't want to follow your lead anymore.

I really hope the world will, some distant time in the future maybe, refuse to pay the debts of the USA. All the money you spend without possessing it does not come out of thin air you know, wouldn't other countries stabilize your currency (read: Pay your debts) you'd completely fuck yourself by just printing more money as you do now.

Re:You're doing it wrong (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134858)

I agree. And the statement that China is trying to be a leader is misleading. So what? They can try all they want. The real question is: do we want them to BE a "leader"?

And, as long as their government is structured as it is and behaves as it does, I say the answer to that is no. In fact I think a space partnership with China would be disastrous for the United States.

Re:You're doing it wrong (3, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135370)

A political race is unsustainable. If we were to enter another 60s style space race, we would spend incredible amounts of money to do more flags and footprints and then sputter around for 40 or 50 years afterwards, again.

While Apollo was an impressive feat, I can't help but wonder where we would be now if we had stuck to an Eisenhower-esque slow and steady approach, and not gotten drawn into the space race. It certainly would have taken longer to get to the moon -- we might just be getting there now. However, we would be doing so in an affordable way, with an eye towards long-term missions, science and development. I think slow and consistent is better than massive rushes followed by 40 years of sputtering about.

The problem with Apollo is that it was run at a rate that history has shown is about 4 times higher than is politically sustainable without an external threat. Since this was the beginning of the Space Age, NASA assumed that the gravy train would go on forever, since there was no evidence otherwise. They never learned how to do things right within a small budget. This is why we're currently where we are. Vehicle design is always seeking an absolute perfection rather than a balance between cost and capability. The constant rallying cry is 'if only we had Apollo-level money again.' Perhaps most importantly, efforts to privatize the low-risk parts such as LEO transport is like pulling teeth, since the huge federal cost-plus contracts from the Apollo era are still massive employers.

Personally, I welcome the idea of cooperation. Sharing money, technology and development is the best way to make use of limited budgets and speed up frontier development. Competition is a great short-term motivator for politics, and can encourage efficiency in the long term. However, cooperative ventures are much more sustainable in the long-term, and competition in the free market sense only makes sense for developed technologies such as LEO transport, not the "Lewis and Clark" role that the government should excel at.

Re:You're doing it wrong (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135472)

The problem is that China is pretty much four and a half decades behind the US and the USSR. They're doing what Russia and the US did with the Vostok and Mercury missions. Now admittedly they should be able to progress at a far greater speed than either the US or the USSR did, because a lot of the groundwork has been laid, but still, even an optimistic estimate would, I think, put them at least ten to fifteen years away from being competitors.

Misquote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30134488)

'I am perfectly willing, if that's the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a partner in any space endeavor.'

Should read:

'I am perfectly willing, if that's the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a banker in any space endeavor.'

Am I missing something? (5, Insightful)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134540)

Sounds like a fantastic way to supply China with even more classified advanced US technology.

Don't be ridiculous. (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134694)

As if we have any classified advanced US technology China doesn't already have.

Re:Don't be ridiculous. (1)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134818)

Given the nature of their military equipment, I'd say there's plenty they don't have yet. [cfr.org] No need to hand it to them on a platter.

Re:Don't be ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135612)

Sure their hardware is 20 years behind, but they are closing the gap rapidly and at a far lower cost than we spent to develop the gap. They are putting less emphasis on developing their own technology than simply stealing it from other nations. China also happens to be very close to or even ahead of the US in IT warfare.

Re:Don't be ridiculous. (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135674)

Just because they haven't got a modern military doesn't mean they don't already have the plans, there is a big difference between having the designs to a Bugatti Veyron and being able to make one.

Re:Am I missing something? (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134758)

Sounds like a fantastic way to supply China with even more classified advanced US technology.

Space rocket technology has been around since the late 50's. It's not like there's any major secrets, and if there is, we simply don't include those in designs, doing it the older way. Plus, they probably already have Soviet designs, which have proved more reliable than our stuff. In fact, many of our satellite rockets use engines purchased from Russia.
   

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134948)

It isn't just "space rocket technology". Radar, communications, avionics, tracking, gps, life support, $100 billion (today's dollars) of lessons learned from the Apollo program to say nothing of the Shuttle program. There's plenty of info they'd love to have. The point is: why not just NOT cut NASA's budget and do it in-house? Would you want to fly on a joint US-China spacecraft? Lost in Space Translation indeed.

Re:Am I missing something? (3, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135096)

Just a slight clarification, in todays dollars the Apollo program cost $300 Billion. It also caused the microchip to be invented along with hundreds of other game changing inventions.

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135226)

in todays dollars Apollo program cost $300 Billion. It also caused the microchip to be invented along with hundreds of other game changing inventions.

The microchip was invented before Apollo. Apollo did inject funds into the industry when few other manufacturers seemed interested, I will agree.

     

Re:Am I missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135354)

Yes you are missing something. The microchip, and a lot of the technological advances attributed to space exploration, were actually invented for use in ICBMs.

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135296)

But we don't have to use the very latest or most sensitive technology during a shared mission. The 60's technology worked fine, for example.
     

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135254)

Space rocket technology has been around since the late 50's. It's not like there's any major secrets

Actually, there are. Not so much military type secrets, but trade secrets and proprietary processes. Rocketry is still very much an art, as everyone from Armadillo to SpaceX is discovering. We haven't had that many design generations, and total flight experience is pretty low overall.
 

they probably already have Soviet designs, which have proved more reliable than our stuff.

That's what the urban legend would have you believe - but it's utterly false. The difference in reliability between American and Russian vehicles is statistically insignificant. (And the Soyuz capsule in particular has the questionable tendency to break just enough to ride the ragged edge between survival and loss of crew...)

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135510)

Oh come on. China has missiles. China has advanced guidance systems. That's in part because of the Soviets and in part because they've done so well at stealing US secrets already.

Worst Idea going (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30134548)

China has been leaching the west dry. They have their money fixed against the American dollar and it is designed to take down all of the western nations. Even here, China will only use this technology to improve their forthcoming multiple military only space station [space.com] . China treats the west in the same fashion that USSR did in 1946-1955; as a place to steal from.

Hopefully, Obama is smarter than to do this.

Re:Worst Idea going (1, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135250)

Hopefully, Obama is smarter than to do this.

Yeah right. Obama is just as addicted to "cheap" Chinese money as every other jackass politician (Republican and Democrat) we've had in recent memory. Cutting that supply off would require us to actually made hard choices about taxes and spending. Such choices might actually have consequences at the ballot box. We wouldn't want that to happen, now would we?

I had hoped that Obama would be an actual leader willing to make hard choices but he's just another empty suit that's ignoring reality in favor of catering to his base and pushing his agenda. Don't worry though, we can't ignore economic reality indefinitely. If you think the economic crisis last year was serious just wait until the ponzi scheme that is the US->Chinese economic relationship actually blows up. I hope you've stockpiled as much ammo, canned food and greenbacks (gotta burn something to keep warm) as possible.

Chinese requirements (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134586)

  • Communication with the space ships has to be filtered by the Great Firewall.
  • All flights are done with cheap Chinese copies of NASA rockets

Re:Chinese requirements (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134788)

  • Communication with the space ships has to be filtered by the Great Firewall.
  • All flights are done with cheap Chinese copies of Russian rockets
  • Rocket vendor shall be WalMart Corporation
  • Astronauts not to be tested for melamine or lead poisoning

Re:Chinese requirements (2, Interesting)

lazylocomotives (1645339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134944)

Actually, the Chinese are spending a lot of money on an (extremely interesting) adaption of the RUSSIAN Soyuz. The Soyuz missions have lost 4 Russian cosmonauts over 120 missions while the US has lost, what, 14 astronauts over 120 missions to the ISS? It's a little strange that NASA is suddenly saying this I admit, but I wouldn't be so quick to make fun.

Re:Chinese requirements (2, Interesting)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135664)

  • All flights are done with cheap Chinese copies of NASA rockets

Actually I think that is one of the main problems of today's space programs. Especially NASA's.

They are so hung op on the quadrupal redundant, 99.9999999999% safe and fail-proof flights that the costs to achieve such goals are way out of balance with the goal that needs to be achieved.

Fuck the almost 100% guarantee that nothing can go wrong
I'll settle for 90% if that means 10x more exploration.
Yes, rockets will explode, astronauts will die. So what? All in the day's job...

"there is a small chance you might die on your next mission, sign here please"
Not much difference compared to joining the army or something alike.

Re:Chinese requirements (1)

lazylocomotives (1645339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135792)

Well, I don't know if that's right. Russia has less money for space than even the Chinese, but the Soyuz is one of the most reliable, if not the most reliable spacecrafts out there.

Just 10%? (0, Troll)

glrotate (300695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134592)

Dear ObaMao;

Please cut the white collar aerospace welfare program by at least 75%.

They haven't done anything really interesting in manned flight in almost 40 years, and until we invent warp drives, manned exploration will continue to be a waste of tome and money.

The unmanned exploration is mostly useless. Nobody other than soil scientists care whether the crust of Mars is 27.6% silica or 27.7& silica.

Thank you.

Re:Just 10%? (1)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134762)

They haven't done anything really interesting in manned flight in almost 40 years, and until we invent warp drives, manned exploration will continue to be a waste of tome and money.

How do you expect this to happen without funding NASA?

Re:Just 10%? (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135082)

Low cost Chinese labor! Using child astronauts will allow NASA to reduce payload and save money!

Re:Just 10%? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134844)

The unmanned exploration is mostly useless. Nobody other than soil scientists care whether the crust of Mars is 27.6% silica or 27.7& silica.

Hogwash. A good remote-bot sample-return program could cover more areas than humans for roughly 1/4 the cost.
   

Re:Just 10%? (2, Informative)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135098)

The unmanned exploration is mostly useless. Nobody other than soil scientists care whether the crust of Mars is 27.6% silica or 27.7& silica.

Hogwash. A good remote-bot sample-return program could cover more areas than humans for roughly 1/4 the cost.

Thank you. That's right. Unmanned exploration gives you the biggest bang for the buck.

The GP talks about white collar aerospace welfare program, which is exactly what I think whenever I see an ISS story. Exactly what has that given us with regards to science or engineering?

How about a mission to an extrasolar planet? Or even the outer reaches of our solar system?

Folks talk about sending people out there, usually over some fantasy based on Star Trek, but the thing is, if we start just sending folks out without really knowing what is out there, we'll be not only putting folks at needless risk, but we'll also be putting money and other resources at risk. When I say risk, I mean needless risk. Risk is inherit with any human activity, but we shouldn't be sending folks out there willy nilly and without a stated goal other than putting them out there for the sake of having manned space flight.

Re:Just 10%? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135032)

Mod parent up.

1% of the budget to ensure the continued survival of our species is entirely too much to spend. I mean, sure, one fortieth of our current military budget, one twentieths of our human resources budget, or one tenth of our general government budget could easily pay for NASA. But who needs that when we can just gut the program and let someone else take care of the issue!

Who cares if this is your responsibility, government! Several of my friends, who are currently against this government, fully applaud this decision. Sure, we normally complain about "socialism" and letting other people take care of our responsibilities.... ... but in this scenario, it's OK. Let the Chinese take care of our responsibility to ensure the long-term survival of our species. We've better things to spend our money on, such as waging a war on personal freedoms and producing guns.

I'm just saying.

Why not team up with Russia? (3, Insightful)

JoeSchmoe007 (1036128) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134598)

Not to diminish China's achievement, but Russia is definitely way ahead of them or anyone else. Plus AFAIK China's space technology is mostly licensed from Russia. Is politics getting in the way? Well then doesn't it make even more sense to team with Russia since they are now significantly "less communist" than China (even if mass media may not reflect that)?

Re:Why not team up with Russia? (1)

JoeSchmoe007 (1036128) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134646)

Well I posted and then possibly partially answered my own question: probably because Russia doesn't have money and China does? On the other hand wouldn't expertise be just as important or even more important?

Re:Why not team up with Russia? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134800)

Actually, much of China's Russian tech was NOT licensed. Much of it was out and out stolen according to Russia.

However, we are already talking to all of the ISS partners on future space missions. That esp. includes Russia and ESA.

Finally, neither USSR nor China have ever been communist. They were totalitarian states, with command economy. China remains a totalitarian state, but with about a mix of command and capitalist economies. For example, Chinese gov. still tells all of the major companies what they will do with regard to buying and selling lines of business; recently, Chinese gov. was shooting down a company that was to buy GM's Hummer line.

Re:Why not team up with Russia? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135066)

Well, it does really boil down to politics. NASA is willing to team with China because the Administration is bullish on China. NASA is unwilling to team with Russia because Congress doesn't want to because of Russia's violation of various technology transfer treaties. (Congress is currently making noises about not renewing or canceling the special dispensation that allows NASA astronauts to fly on Soyuz.)

The basic technology for the Chinese program did originally come from Russia, but they've gone considerably beyond that now. However, real the problem is that China doesn't actually appear to be interested in much more than the "Potemkin village" program they currently have. They spend just enough and fly just enough and try just enough that they appear to have a space program (a modern hallmark of a 'Great Nation', as battlewagons were back before WWII) but no more. Sure, China produces a lot of press releases and Brave Pronunciations Of Grand Goals In Space... But there doesn't seem to ever be much in the way of actual progress. (Though it does keep columnists and bloggers busy pandering to the easily excitable demographic.)

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30134632)

Let's outsource the ****ing space program too.

Re:Sure (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134924)

Let's outsource the ****ing space program too.

Why should rocket scientists be spared the "pleasure" of being offshored? Equal Opportunity Fu%%age. If every profession is touched, then voters may finally start to care about the effects of lopsided trade.
     

Re:Sure (3, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134934)

Lets outsource national defense! Much higher opportunities to cut costs there.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135434)

We already do. It's called every other nation's pathetic attempt at not blowing themselves up just because "that's what they've been doing since the dawn of time". We then have to mobilize our defense to fill in the holes everywhere else.

Real Danger is avoiding rockets (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134674)

The quiet truth is that China has the rare opportunity to leapfrog ahead of the US.

Frankly, their rocket science is not up to our par. Instead of investing in rocket science they could ignore it and go right to Space Fountain. Cheaper in the long run.

The scientific basics are sound, they have the tibetan plateau (great place to build most space industries as it is has huge flat areas that are 5,000 meters above sea level), and they don't have to deal with an entrenched existing industry that doesn't want the competition. Yes, no one has built more than the most rudimentary test version, but the theory says it will work without the scientific advancements in materials that the space elevator needs.

The only thing protecting the US's space advantage is the inherent conservativism that all dictatorships develop. Their government actively discourages independent thinking so instead of trying to build something new, they will most likely stick with the old style rocket technology that the US has already proven to work.

Re:Real Danger is avoiding rockets (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135044)

The only thing protecting the US's space advantage is the inherent conservativism that all dictatorships develop. Their government actively discourages independent thinking so instead of trying to build something new, they will most likely stick with the old style rocket technology that the US has already proven to work.

Ironically, we actually needed that thinking before NASA selected the shuttle. If we extended Apollo instead of bolted for the weird shuttle, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. And probably fewer dead astronauts.
         

Re:Real Danger is avoiding rockets (3, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135458)

If we extended Apollo instead of bolted for the weird shuttle, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. And probably fewer dead astronauts.

Apollo had one loss-of-crew accident in about 13 flights. That's about 7%.

Shuttle had two loss-of-crew accidents in about 125 flights. That's about 1.6%.

So, what's the basis for believing we'd probably have fewer dead astronauts if we'd stuck to Apollo?

Re:Real Danger is avoiding rockets (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135680)

But that was during testing, and thus carries much less weight. Plus, the capsule concept *in general* has been road tested by the Russians also. The shuttle has a known problem area: ice-chunks hitting the tiles. It's a design flaw that is difficult to work around. Apollo had no known significant and hard-to-fix design flaw.

FIREFLY (1, Offtopic)

cadience (770683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134682)

hmmm maybe Josh had it right! Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng.

Re:FIREFLY (0, Offtopic)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135506)

hmmm maybe Josh had it right! Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng.

So you're suggesting that our space-faring culture will be heavily influenced by our cooperation with the Chinese, but that we'll screw them over somehow before the great migration, so there won't actually be any Chinese people in the new solar system?

Could happen, could happen.

Really, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30134714)

What could possibly go wong?

By all means (0, Troll)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134736)

Space missions are non-contraversial, expensive and a perfect way for a country to show off its might without killing anyone in the process. It's a perfect case to cooperate with any country, friendly or hostile, that has the resources to contribute. Soviet-US joint missions were pretty much the norm during cold war. I don't see any reason to leave out China, Iran or North Korea if they are willing to contribute money and talent.

Re:By all means (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135222)

So about 3 missions (ASTP and maybe a couple of visits to Mir) out of 80-100 missions was the norm?

Disclaimer: I don't know the exact number of Shuttle=>Mir missions, nor have I counted the total number of space missions. I am making what I believe to be reasonable guesses as to the entire total of manned US and Soviet missions between 1961 and 1991.

Re:By all means (3, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135424)

Follow up.

OK, According to NASA, there were 18 Shuttle/Mir missions [nasa.gov] . However, none of them occurred prior to 1991. Therefore ASTP was the only Soviet-US joint mission.

US Manned Space Missions from 1961-1991:
* Mercury - 6
* Gemini - 10
* Apollo - 11
* Skylab - 3
* ASTP - 1
* Shuttle - 44 (per Wikipedia)

Soviet Space Missions from 1961-1991 (per Wikipiedia, includes ASTP): 66

That gives 141 missions. So out of 141 manned missions before the fall of the Soviet Union (your timeframe: "during cold war"), exactly 1 (or 2, depending how many times you count ASTP) were joint.

Would you care to explain how 1 out of 141 is the norm?

Re:By all means (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135522)

I don't see any reason to leave out China, Iran or North Korea if they are willing to contribute money and talent.

Iran and North Korea? Are you fucking serious? You do realize that space launchers have other applications [wikipedia.org] , right?

Re:By all means (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135788)

Who is saying anything about telling other people how to build space launchers or paying them money for that purpose. But if they just happen to develop the technology themselves, why not cooperate on scientific research that doesn't have immediate military use. Whom are they going to blow up with Hubble?

Re:By all means (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135832)

But if they just happen to develop the technology themselves

Yeah, and if dolphins crawl out of the oceans and master fire we can partner with them as well....

Re:By all means (2, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30136024)

There is however a lot of tech that can't be weaponized, the shuttle for example isn't going to be used as a fighter plane any time soon (in fact most of it's design principles are the opposite of those used when designing fighter planes). Cooperation on non-military parts of the space mission wouldn't be hard, let them put a few scientists on the ISS, etc in exchange for funding and cooperation in other areas, try using the carrot instead of just the stick

Duh (1)

hatemonger (1671340) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134860)

If this surprises you, then I would argue that you haven't been paying attention to the state of science in America. At least China isn't wasting its time arguing over evolution or fretting that the LHC will kill us all.

Re:LHC (1)

fregare (923563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135178)

Yes, the LHC has killed us all already. Didn't the LHC via a black hole cause AIG to go bnakrupt? I mean look at the great recession. If that isn't the end of the world what is? Financial bail out can't undo the LHC. We are doomed.

Ah! China gets tech knowledge for free! (1)

meburke (736645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134912)

We are going to give away technical knowledge with military and commercial value to China without them having to spend the high costs of research or espionage. Has anyone read, "The Asian Mind Game" by Chin Ning Chu? http://www.amazon.com/Asian-Mind-Game-Chin-ning-Chu/dp/0892563524 [amazon.com] This, and many similar books show the strategies that China and Japan have been using to create dominant positions internationally. China will never be a "full participant" but will always be glad to accept any knowledge we can give them.

we should team up with Canada and Mexico (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134914)

we should team up with Canada and Mexico

Re:we should team up with Canada and Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135010)

I don't know about Mexico but up here in Canada we're too busy dealing with the massive igloo manufacturing fraud to partake in any space adventures.

Re:we should team up with Canada and Mexico (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135196)

Unfortunately the Canadian sled-dog training program for this fell apart when the recruits heard about what happened to Laika.

Re:we should team up with Canada and Mexico (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135030)

Canadians are always prepared to give a helping hand in space programs.

Re:we should team up with Canada and Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135194)

Canadians are always prepared to give a helping hand in space programs.

Maybe so, but they're whiney little assholes.

Fuck the disingenuous Canucks; they can have their shuttle arm. At least we know where we stand with the Chinese.

Re:we should team up with Canada and Mexico (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135150)

we should team up with Canada and Mexico

Nah, Canada's only interested in flat icy moons for hockey, and Mexican astronauts keep shifting off to other planets in the middle of the night.
   

There is a solution (2, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134918)

There are NASA engineers which have the solution, which can work even with a reduced budget. They call it DIRECT [directlauncher.com] . Rather than sink tens of billions into R&D, they adapt the existing Space Shuttles systems into a launch vehicle. The Shuttles R&D costs were paid for decades ago. The new systems are well within the realm of "relatively simple" as far as rockets go. It could be ready within a few years, and can operate within even a reduced budget realm.

The alternative is to modify the Department of Defences EELV vehicles, Delta and Atlas, but we all know how much the DoD likes having their babies played with.

Noo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30134958)

But they ARE wasting their time trying to parse the internet so the "loyal" populace don't get any funny ideas about human rights or democracy, sexual freedom, religious freedom,( basically the things the rest of the world believe in).In the end, this will become a VERY bad decision.

Stereotype Obligatory (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134974)

The problem with Chinese missions is that you feel like going back up just a few hours after landing.

We're Never Going to Mars... (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30134988)

If Obama cuts NASA's budget by ten percent. No matter where you stand on the issue, we're not even going to have anything to debate anymore if a budget cut goes through.

While I understand those who advocate robotic-only exploration, a budget cut is truly a sad scenario for all concerned.

Re:We're Never Going to Mars... (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135074)

It's better this way, Mars ice is infected, the Doctor told us so.

Re:We're Never Going to Mars... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135166)

Now while I agree that there MAY not be much direct benefit from a Mars mission, I don't see the reasoning behind cutting it. They should be funding institutions like NASA. If nothing else it's a massive make work project for the tech industry and creates an environment that's friendly toward the highly educated. It's a fairly harmless and uncontroversial project to center that on, unlike funding educational institutes or healthcare apparently. heh. It really seems like funding NASA would be a positive thing for the US government, certainly not the best place for budget cuts. But then I think that governments need to increase arts funding and educational funding as well.

Why? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135408)

At this time, 10% cut is about a 5% cut of historical levels (which was about 1% of GDP). Right now, it is about .5%. The reason is that W/neo-cons effectively cut it 50% over the 8 years.

Do not get me wrong. For the life of me, I do not see this as being the place to cut (like eating our grain seed in late April), BUT, I also do not thing that this particular cut would prevent us from going to Mars. I would place the blame for that on the last 9 years of spending and bad cuts.

In the end, the real question is not the cut. The real question is, what will he replace this with? Will he push towards commercial space COMBINED with Direct (which COULD get by with less money)? Or will he do like a neo-con, do a cut, then push the agency to spend money foolishly? What scares me the most, is that he may do the later, rather than the previous.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135776)

latter, former

Team Up With (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135062)

Energia [energia.ru] .

Yours In Baikonur,
Kilgore Trout

"ending manned spaceflight for a decade?" (1)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135084)

Perhaps it should say "Ending government paid for manned spaceflight for a decade".

It would be really interesting to see the conservative reaction to this. Will they oppose simply for the sake of opposition, or will they applaud it and call out for the free market to provide for manned space flight.

Personally, I think stopping goverment funded spaceflight is a bad idea, there is not enough economic benefit yet for corporations to go into space, beyond quick space tourism flights.

Cuts not for certian. (1)

Waste55 (1003084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135190)

It would be sad and somewhat hypocritical [savespace.us] (watch the video) of Obama to kill off the Shuttle's successor. However, keep in mind that these are rumors stir from a blanket statement applied to all agencies.

FTA:

But a senior administration official, who is not authorized to speak on the record, cautioned not to read too much into the proposed reductions. The official said agencies were given "global" instructions to cut their budgets by 5 to 10 percent to help reduce the record $1.4 trillion deficit.

"When the president makes a decision on human spaceflight, he can ignore that," said the official.

Why is this a surprise? Obama hates space. (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135238)

Sad truth is, there was only one candidate out there who liked the idea of NASA. Hillary. If you gave a damn about space, you voted for her. After she was out... NASA was screwed.

Obama - said early on he'd cut NASA for education funds.
McCain could care less one way or another if memory serves.

Obama heralds the age of no more manned NASA. About the only hope for US manned ambition is Dragon, or a COTS contract.

About the most optimistic thing I can say about this, is that maybe killing off manned space will free up room for more awesome robotic missions (Terrestial Planet Imager, I'm looking at you!). Who knows? Maybe he'll punt, and we'll abandon the moon for visiting an asteroid (which always sounded more interesting to me anyway).

Re:Why is this a surprise? Obama hates space. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30135430)

Barack Obama doesn't care about space people.

Re:Why is this a surprise? Obama hates space. (1)

Waste55 (1003084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135618)

Yep, Obama originally said take away from CxP to fund education. He then changed his tune when he gave his speech in florida [savespace.us] . ( My thought is why the hell would those two compete for budget when they compliment each other so well. )

McCain is no better, he recently voted No in restoring funding that NASA has already lost. It passed anyways.

Not just space: Joint statement by China/US (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135342)

It actually isn't just space the two countries are planning on cooperating on. Not sure how much beef is behind this statement, but here's a snippet of the joint statement by Presidents Obama and Hu during Obama's visit to China:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/joint-press-statement-president-obama-and-president-hu-china [whitehouse.gov]
http://nasawatch.com/archives/2009/11/china-and-us-to.html [nasawatch.com]

The complementing departments of China and the United States have already signed a number of cooperation agreements, including the MOU to enhanced cooperation on climate change, energy and environment. The two sides have also officially launched the initiative of developing a China-U.S. clean energy research center.

Both President Obama and I said that we are willing to act on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity to deepen our cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement, science, technology, outer space, civil aviation, and engage in cooperation in space exploration, high-speed railway infrastructure, in agriculture, health, and other fields. And we also agreed to work together to continue to promote even greater progress in the growth of military-to-military ties.

It's About Time, It's About Space (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135460)

Pinning a long term program on a single nation is a bad idea because some time during the program the administration changes and often changes the funding or program. Then things fall apart. When we teamed with Russia things went more slowly than they would otherwise but they kept going when they might have faltered.

I've always been of the mind that space exploration should be an international endeavor. ESA is a good start. So is the US/Russia team. If we add China, we'll have a 3 country team. At that point there's two international teams. When confronted with a major program, say data indicates the probability of life on Europa and they want to send people to explore, they'll consider then about a consolidation to get the job done.

I think this should be made easier for them by creating an international organization for them all to join, with administration already in place, but that only handles the cooperation aspect and leaves the program to the people who run the national portions. Such an office could be set up by the UN. A benefit to this is that the charter could be written so that nations unable to have a space program could participate in at least a small way in this.

When humans land on Mars, I think it would say more that they came from Earth itself in name rather than a particular country, than it would that humans got there at all.

Hopefully America Can Rub Off on Them (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135476)

One of my professors in college that used to work for Boeing explained to our spacecraft design class that Boeing stopped contracting launches with China because China launches their rockets over landmass rather than ocean. While this alone is a very dangerous practice, it important to note that a good amount of the crap pouring out of the back of some launch vehicles is poisonous....especially when hydrazine is added into the mix. As a result, the Chinese launch vehicles were dumping significant amounts of poisonous crap down on some of their towns, villages, and even farms. I hope that if NASA does start partnering with China, NASA can influence China to stop such inhumane practices. It would be sad to see bad habits adopted in the reverse order instead.

Just a thought...

More info on budget cut rumors (2, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135654)

FYI, it's not a directed budget cut towards NASA -- every single non-military agency has been told by the Obama administration that they may see cuts of 5-10% in order to reduce the deficit.

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2009/11/17/sharpening-the-budget-cleaver/ [spacepolitics.com]
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hBr0LFXMFF1HE6-n_ZTN1829QS1QD9BUTPVG0 [google.com]

On the plus side, if there is in fact a budget cut, it'd hopefully be the cover NASA needs to shut down/reduce its politically well-guarded Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), which uses up a huge part of NASA's budget, but due to its chronically incompetent management has spectacularly failed [selenianboondocks.com] in basically all of its large projects over the past 30 years.

Re:More info on budget cut rumors (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30135814)

Actually, I am glad to see the 5-10% cut across the board. We need to get control of this deficit.

Interesting about MSFC. BUT, that is the land of Dick Shelby. It will be interesting to see what will happen in congress.
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