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Is China's Space Race An Opportunity For the US?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the silver-lining dept.

China 164

Hugh Pickens writes "Lieutenant General Frank Klotz (ret.), the former vice commander of Air Force Space Command, writes that it's worth considering whether aspects of the U.S.-Russian experience with space cooperation can be pursued with China to serve long-term American interests. 'China has in many respects already reached the top tier of spacefaring nations — with profound implications for America's own interests in space,' writes Klotz. While initially starting well behind the two original space powers, China has slowly but steadily added accomplishments to its space portfolio, conducting nineteen space launches in 2011 — twelve less than Russia but one more than the United States. It's worth recalling that even in the darkest days of the Cold War, the United States and its archrival at the time — the Soviet Union — embarked upon cooperative efforts in space, most famously with the joint Apollo-Soyuz docking mission in 1975 and today the first stage of one of the rockets that currently lofts U.S. national-security satellites into orbit — United Launch Alliance's Atlas V booster — uses the powerful RD-180 rocket engine, which is made in Russia. Washington has called for enhanced dialogue with Beijing on strategic issues and for military-to-military exchanges to help reduce uncertainty and potential misunderstandings, however, in May of last year, the House inserted a provision into the NASA appropriations bill prohibiting the US from spending any funds 'to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company' and blocking the hosting of official Chinese visitors at facilities belonging to or used by NASA. 'This legislative action reportedly reflected deeply held concerns about protecting American intellectual property and sensitive technologies in the face of aggressive Chinese attempts to glean scientific and technical information from abroad,' writes Klotz. 'However, in the process, it foreclosed one possible avenue for gaining greater insight into China's intentions with respect to space.'"

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Exclude the really bad ideas (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816793)

writes Klotz. "However, in the process, it foreclosed one possible avenue for gaining greater insight into China's intentions with respect to space."

Luckily that avenue is risky and useless. Isn't a very early step in the decision making process "exclude the really bad ideas"?

China will ultimately whip the USA in everything (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816803)

Low cost labor, unabashedly stealing IP, billions of dirt cheap workers, totalitarian rule - There is no doubting who will win this battle.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (5, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816891)

As people say, China will get old before they get rich. Please don't interpret me as saying America doesn't have several problems they have to work through, but at the very least they don't have a demographic problem (compared to most parts of the developed world).

China's one child policy is ultimately going to bite them. I know the general sentiment on Slashdot is Malthusian, but the number one resource of a nation is people. And if you have a demographic of population decline (eventually), a lot of single males, and too many old people relative to young people, that's not a long-term trend for success.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (3, Interesting)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817995)


China has a one child policy? What are you stuck in the 1970s when it was implemented?

There are so many loop holes in that policy one can drive a truck through it.

There are exemptions if your first child was a girl, many regions of China now have locally implemented a two child policy across the board, Ethnic minorities (there are 55 in China) are allowed 2 Children in urban areas, or 4 in rural areas, with Tibet's Autonomous region declaring there is no limitations to the number of kids one has. These exceptions mean that as long as you follow a birth spacing of 3-4 years depending on the area, nearly 65% of all China are allowed more then one child.

Plus there are exemptions if you want to pay a fine (equal to the average disposable income in the area your living in the year the child was born, and doesn't need to be paid till the child is 5 years old and starts school, WITHOUT penalty/interest for being late), or if your a business owner the fine is larger and much stiffer, and you need to do math based on your income.

20,000×6+(INCOME-20,000)×2 = Fine in Chinese yuan.

I know we bai gui's in the west still act like China is still in the 1970's but Mao has been dead for 34 years, and most of his policies are either totally gone or have been swiss cheesed since then.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818835)

A lot of the demographic problem those policies created still exist though, and will until the "problem generations" die off. And even if the child restriction only really applies to the least-fortunate 1/2 or 1/4 of the population that's still an ongoing contributor to demographic imbalance

On the other hand the bulk of their population is still agrarian, and as they industrialize the surge in per-capita productivity will likely outstrip the demographic problems. It doesn't really matter much to the economics of the situation whether the new labor pool is coming of age or immigrating from near-subsistence rural areas.

In fact China may be in a better position than most developed nations in that it's industrialized population growth is phenomenal, whereas in most nations developed it's relatively stagnant if not slightly negative.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

slugstone (307678) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819267)

...until the "problem generations" die off.

Oh I like this. really? That us right?

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1, Interesting)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819561)

A lot of the demographic problem those policies created still exist though.

Verses what our baby boom generation?

You do realize that our demographics are more screwed up then theirs already right? Under 9% of China's population is over 65, but in the US, the figure is already at 13%, and in Canada 16%. Or look at their close neighbour the Japanese, with a whopping 23% over the age of 65!

And even if the child restriction only really applies to the least-fortunate 1/2 or 1/4 of the population that's still an ongoing contributor to demographic imbalance.

It is not the "least fortunate" who are still blocked from having more then one child, seeing as China's least fortunate populations are rural and they have had easy exemptions and tiny fines for years. Its the upper-middle and upper class who face drastic fines that tend to be unable to have more then one child due to their unwillingness to spend the money. Which is why just about every news article talking about the One Chile Policy in China today always ends up referring to people with "successful businesses" as they take the blunt of the fines.

I'm very confused, a simple look up of population statistics would have shown your argument to be invalid, but it is like I said in my previous post, people have a strange fascination with old Cold War propaganda about China, and its hard for them to change their minds. While we in the west treat our actions as perfect and yet we face the larger demographic problems with out baby boom generation, and our inaction to protect and expand our own industries and resources so that we may continue the life we once had in the 1950's and 1960's.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819961)

Nice try. For a country where you still need to apply for a "permission to give birth"...how can anyone say that tyranny is not still there? Yes, China has this, it's alive and well, and yes it applies when one parent is a foreigner. To say nothing of Americans who think that "breeders" are a huge problem and dream of implementing a similar program here to control the number of new Americans born to the natives. They exist.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821795)

Do you actually know any mainland Chinese ? I do, they are of course middle class engineers and the like, and they are following the one child policy. It sees pretty real to me.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819729)

the number one resource of a nation is people. And if you have a demographic of population decline (eventually), a lot of single males, and too many old people relative to young people, that's not a long-term trend for success.

Because having billions of starving young people fighting for resources is so much more fun!

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816911)

You act like trade benefits one party and doesn't benefit the other.

Due to China's low cost labor, we, in the US, have been able to enjoy a -much- higher standard of living than we otherwise would be able to have. In exchange, China is getting a huge amount of capital which raises their standard of living, although, due to not having a free market it really only raises the standard of living for those at the top.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816951)

China is getting a huge amount of capital which raises their standard of living, although, due to not having a free market it really only raises the standard of living for those at the top.

How is that different than the USA? Wages have been stagnent for all but those at the very top for decades. Real income is actually slipping.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816989)

Because in the USA you can choose a better job and there are plenty of better ones out there if you have the skills/aptitude for them. In China, unless you have a family member in the Communist party, you're pretty much stuck doing either factory labor or agricultural labor. Starting your own business in China is nowhere near as easy as it is in the US unless you have political connections.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817027)

Actually class mobility in the USA is pretty much at an all time low.

I know that conflicts with your American Dream mythology, but that is all it ever was a myth.

Starting your own business in the US is easy, making it big pretty much requires political connections or connections with already established big business.

Seems like the Chinese are run by government bureaucrats and we are run by Corporate bureaucrats.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817105)

Not forgetting the IP minefield. Google's $12.5bn purchase of Motorola Mobility wasn't for its love of phones.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817457)

75%-80% of all people earning about $500,000 per year did not come from wealthy backgrounds. Mobility is not as difficult as your make it to be. The bigger issue is that it now takes time and money to move between financial classes. You must have a skill and you must put the time into developing it.You must also be willing to take some risk. Hard work at your job alone is no longer enough.

I am surprised the the parent is modded up. It is unsubstantiated opinion and bordering on pure fiction.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817805)

What background did they come from? Impoverished? Or well-to-do or above?

And how many people are we talking about anyway?

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817851)

Citation needed.

The way social mobility is kept low is because poor people do *not* have time, have no money, have no opportunity to develop skills and cannot afford to take the risk. These problems are far from as trivial as you make it sound. Work a poorly paid 18 hour day, and be forced to decide between medical care, food, and education, and realise that financial failure means starvation, and you will see how easy it is to be trapped in poverty.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819003)

In fairness though our addiction to consumerist culture exacerbates most of those problems dramatically. Immigrants from less materialistic cultures can often do quite well for themselves on the exact same income, and boggle at native-born Americans claiming they have no opportunities while simultaneously pissing away their income on enough housing to hold all the junk they buy. (Illegal immigrants have it worse since they are much more vulnerable to exploitation)

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (3, Informative)

Zcar (756484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818251)

As an overall percentage, it's down. In the 1970s, 36% of US families stayed in the same income quintile. In the 1980s, 37%, and in the 1990s, 40%. That's reduced class mobility. How significant this is debatable, but it's not "unsubstantiated opinion and bordering on pure fiction".

http://www.economist.com/node/3518560?story_id=3518560 [economist.com]

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

ranton (36917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820407)

As an overall percentage, it's down. In the 1970s, 36% of US families stayed in the same income quintile. In the 1980s, 37%, and in the 1990s, 40%. That's reduced class mobility. How significant this is debatable, but it's not "unsubstantiated opinion and bordering on pure fiction".

Measuring economic mobility by using quintiles is incredibly misleading. It punishes more powerful economies where there is more room between quintiles.

In 1971, there was a $25,200 gap between the average income of the 2nd and 4th quintiles in the US (in 2005 dollars).
In 2005, there was a $36,600 gap between the average income of the 2nd and 4th quintiles in the US.
This means the 3rd quintile grew by $5700, or 45%.
Average Income By Quintile [kltprc.info]

Considering the increased size of each quintile, it is obvious that mobility between quintiles would reduce. Someone at the middle of the 3rd quintile in 1971 would have to increase his income by 15.7% to reach the 4th quintile. In 2005, a similar individual would have to raise his income by 21.8%

That means it takes a 40% greater income increase for the middle quintile to move up in 2005 than it did in 1979. Considering the percentage of people who stayed in the middle quintile only rose by 8%, I would say income mobility is growing rapidly.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40820547)

By 'more powerful economies', you actually mean more *unequal* economies don't you?

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817487)

Indeed, USA is nowadays characterized by the lowest [huffingtonpost.com] social mobility among western countries. [pewstates.org] The only other country that comes close is the UK. [huffingtonpost.co.uk]

Thank you Barack and Dems (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40818393)

And he wants to double down on his failed policies.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819407)

If you look at actual numbers rather than relative numbers: "Most Americans (84 percent) exceed their parents income at a similar stage....Among sons, 59 percent had higher inflation-adjusted wages and salaries than their fathers." (source) [washingtonpost.com] .

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817693)

The best places to get rich today is in fact the Nordic countries... Damn those tax rates are keeping people from being successful lol.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819237)

High income taxes are the primary means the rich use to eliminate competition; they are a huge barrier to anyone trying to raise enough capital to build a small business, while they have little impact on the rich because most of their income isn't classed as 'income'.

They rely on the 'tax the rich!' useful idiots such as yourself, then laugh behind your back at how you're supporting taxes they use to screw you.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819477)

I 100% agree with your implicit argument that we should tax the shit out of capital gains.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819589)

How does that jive with reality?

Where some of the nations with the highest levels of class mobility also have the highest levels of income tax?

Why can we not classify all income the same way, including investment income for the purposes of taxes?

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820175)

Where some of the nations with the highest levels of class mobility also have the highest levels of income tax?

Yes, it is easier for rich kids who go to college become poor kids in countries where income taxes and labor laws make these kids just out of college unemployable. Because they move down in the relative scale, poorer kids who can get blue collar jobs move up the relative scale.

That is why it is better to look at what children are making compared to their parents in absolute terms rather than looking through the viewpoints of class and income relativism.

In Spain [barcelonareporter.com] only 40% of college graduates get a job in their field.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818849)

I don't agree. Family or school connections make things much much easier but making those same connections without a privileged background is certainly not out of reach. You do have to be arrogant, determined and willing to take risks while keeping your reputation clean (no powerful family to back you up).

The American Dream btw was not that anyone could become an elite power broker. It was that anyone can make their own destiny. There are a million millionaires in America that prove that one.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820113)

Wages have been stagnent for all but those at the very top for decades.

But real total compensation [blogspot.com] has risen over 100% from 1968 to 2008. You just don't see the increase in real wages because tax laws encourage more of your total compensation to go into benefits such as medical insurance.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (-1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818365)

considering that the American Schools don't teach kids how to reason or even think for themselves, I'd say the Chinese will be the only ones to really benefit. Keep in mind that for the last 40 years, American Schools have been pushing consumerism instead as Corprate America doesn't want thinkers. They Want "Consumers" and they'll continue pushing that as long until it's way to late and China has simply gobbled up America by buying the damn corporations and politicians.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819793)

it really only raises the standard of living for those at the top.

Fortunately we have The Free Market (tm) or this could be happening here too! Oh, the horror...

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (2)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819963)

it really only raises the standard of living for those at the top.

The proportion of impoverished Chinese fell from 65% of the population in 1981 to 4% in 2007, during which time more than HALF A BILLION people were hoisted above the poverty line. (source) [worldbank.org]

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821823)

HAHAHAHHAHAH!! I needed a good laugh

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816923)

Wages are rising rapidly, the export sector is only marginally profitable, and ties between the two states are increasingly unbreakable. Two thirds of global GDP is found in east Asia. A rising, stable, and prosperous China is good news for the US, and we'd be wise to welcome them to the party.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817151)

China has a short term strategy.
Low Labor Costs, are based on supply and demand. There are a lot of Chinese (A big supply) bigger then their demand for work. However as they grow more, they will get more skilled, and begin to diversify their jobs, and demand more pay. Even in a totalitarian government, if the gap between their actual worth and what they get paid is too wide, there will be increase in under the counter work, or they will go to an other country (Brain drain in china).
Stealing IP, Isn't a strong model to work off of. As the people who they are stealing it from get better mechanisms to prevent it. Sure they can find more ways to bypass them. But as some point you need to figure that you are putting more R&D time trying how to steal Other Ideas, then you could put in making new ones yourself.
Totalitarian rule. Most of China's success has been in their gradual moving away from the communist ideas and embarrassing more capitalistic ideas. With more people who have stuff, they have more stuff they want to protect from someone else. That will lead to more revolts, or less Totalitarian actions from the Chinese to prevent chaos.

Can China be #1? Possibly it is the worlds most populous nation, and has a lot of resources. However just because the US could be regulated to #2 it doesn't mean US will loose out.

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817531)

*relegated

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819051)

*relegated

Obviously you're not factoring in the eventual Chinese dominance of international law :-P

Re:China will ultimately whip the USA in everythin (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820967)

Yup, it worked well for USSR.

Slashdot is for fags. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816841)

Now suck my Windows 7 using cock.

Re:Slashdot is for fags. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40820955)

Sure. Give us your IP address and we will be sure to take care of you.

The U.S. doesn't play well with others (0)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816847)

Most of the cooperative efforts with the USSR/Russia were very limited in scope and only done begrudgingly. Even international efforts like ISS have frequently led to U.S. bitching (like the time the Russians sent up a space tourist [wikipedia.org] to the ISS and NASA reacted like a bunch of pissy children). I find it highly unlikely that NASA is going to be working with China on anything signfiicant anytime soon. We're talking an agency that still holds a grudge against Russia 20 years after the Cold War.

Re:The U.S. doesn't play well with others (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817189)

It sounds like NASA has a culture problem it needs to be fixed.
However I think if the public/the people who pay their checks, demand more cooperative efforts they will slowly change their mindsets.

But whenever you have different countries working together we always have these types of bickering, but they usually just go on in the higher levels, keep the press going on.

china (1)

Dwiasri (2696825) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816875)

nice info tq

Europe will if the US won't (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816881)

The European aerospace industry seems to see the recent US ban on cooperation with the Chinese space program as an opportunity, and is stepping up [spiegel.de] cooperation.

Re:Europe will if the US won't (0)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819815)

Europe being what it is, the result from this "cooperation" will be that Europe will have given China all its technology and know-how, "exported" all the manufacturing to them while devastating its own manufacturing base, and still bend over while asking, "Please sir, can I have some more?"

Forget cooperation (-1, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816885)

China wants to rule the world and put it at the disposal of the Han master race, and will spare no dirty trick to do it.

They are not interested in cooperation. They consider it beneath them.

Concerns about intellectual property (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816889)

You can either cooperate. It means you have no unique intellectual property (IP) position, but through the widespread use of your IP you might get some benefits back like cheaper space flight. Also, with some luck, new orders for your own local economy, where that IP originated and where the most knowledge is available.

Or you can protect the IP. No cooperation. Create an inflexible closed operation. Costs increase and without cooperation you'll have to invent everything yourself, or buy it under a license agreement. The best case scenario you succeed at being the first at everything. In a worse scenario, you pay for knowledge. In the worst cases, you either have no access, or you're violating someone else's IP.

Look at the money being squandered on patent battles in courts in the IT and also manufacturing industries. Don't get space flight locked into a similar situation, because there's no way out.

Cooperation through openness is the way forward. But it takes some balls to start doing that. (And please note that top managers and politicians, who think only short term, generally don't have those).

Re:Concerns about intellectual property (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817971)

You can either cooperate. It means you have no unique intellectual property (IP) position, but through the widespread use of your IP you might get some benefits back like cheaper space flight.

Or you can protect the IP. No cooperation. Create an inflexible closed operation. Costs increase

Despite decades of rhetoric, there is absolutely zero evidence that cooperation reduces cost. None. Zip. Zero. Nor is there any evidence that "IP" plays and huge role.
 

without cooperation you'll have to invent everything yourself, or buy it under a license agreement. The best case scenario you succeed at being the first at everything. In a worse scenario, you pay for knowledge. In the worst cases, you either have no access, or you're violating someone else's IP.
 
Look at the money being squandered on patent battles in courts in the IT and also manufacturing industries.

Despite your fear mongering, when you look outside the tech/consumer electronics industries - you don't see this happening, or at worse it happens very rarely. Toyota isn't suing Ford over having a six cylinder engine, GM isn't suing Mercedes Benz over having tail lights. Etc... The tech and consumer electronics industries operate under some unique pressures - and it's dangerous to generalize from them to other industries.

Re:Concerns about intellectual property (1)

JP205 (263673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818467)

The automobile industry operates under some unique pressures - and it's dangerous to generalize from them to other industries.

Re:Concerns about intellectual property (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818631)

I didn't generalize from them to other industries - I used them as a specific example. Learn to read and comprehend.

Re:Concerns about intellectual property (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818721)

Look at the money being squandered on patent battles in courts in the IT and also manufacturing industries.

Despite your fear mongering, when you look outside the tech/consumer electronics industries - you don't see this happening, or at worse it happens very rarely. Toyota isn't suing Ford over having a six cylinder engine, GM isn't suing Mercedes Benz over having tail lights. Etc... The tech and consumer electronics industries operate under some unique pressures - and it's dangerous to generalize from them to other industries.

It's happening, we just don't hear about it.

Toyota did sue Ford a few years ago, over hybrid vehicle patents (I believe they ended up cross-licensing and settling).

And nevermind way back in the 1900's or so when the ICE was first new and novel that there were patent lawsuits flying everywhere. Heck, it took until the 80s or so for the patent on an intermittent windshield wiper to expire, of which there was a huge patent fight over by its inventor and the big three. (And literally, the big three were trying to run the inventor out of money. It was the late 70s or so that the courts finally ruled and awarded damages).

It's just that cars are pretty much mature technology these days that lawsuits don't happen because it's all been invented already. About the only patenting going on comes from radical changes to the power train and the like (see Toyota hybrid patents, Ford hybrid patents).

There were plenty of patents for other technology too, all resolved today because of time. I'm sure 100 years from now we'd be saying the same about mobile telecommunications, and complaining about how flying car manufacturers are suing each other to death or something.

Re:Concerns about intellectual property (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820833)

It's happening, we just don't hear about it.

You'll note I didn't absolutely claim it didn't happen. And your, "oh this was a couple of years back" and "here's some examples from decades ago" just proves my point.
 

It's just that cars are pretty much mature technology these days that lawsuits don't happen because it's all been invented already. About the only patenting going on comes from radical changes to the power train and the like (see Toyota hybrid patents, Ford hybrid patents).

Given the list of applicable patents in my owner's manual and on various stickers on my car... I suspect you're either just blowing smoke, making shit up, or are completely oblivious. (Or some combination of the three.)
 
For that matter, rocket technology is largely mature - and largely based on information in the public domain. Specific items may be subject to design patents, but there are no "look and feel" suits. Nor are there "Northrup's fuel pumps look a lot like our, and pump fuel like ours, so they must have copied" type suits.

Cooperate with the Communists? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816903)

Never! That's Un-American! They're nothing but God-hating power-hungry greedy bastards. In America we don't put up with that.

You have to at least pretend to love God and Jesus.

Re:Cooperate with the Communists? (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816935)

The sad part is, China has almost become more capitalist than a good chunk of Europe and the US.

Re:Cooperate with the Communists? (4, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817077)

Isn't that our capitalist victory over the communist bastards? :)

It seems that it never occurred to anyone that by winning the cold war, the communist countries would start playing the game by our own (rather ruthless) rules.
When they were commies, we could block them out. Now we have to allow them to play the game. Not sure what was a bigger threat for our western economies.

Slightly off topic question about the RD-180 (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816941)

Since its topical, and in "space articles" we often get real rocket scientists reading, how does the oxygen rich preburner in the RD-180 work? I don't mean the "duh" stuff like how do you adjust the mixture, but what in the world are these guys doing for metalurgy such that you can basically pipe a metal cutting torch's flame around the innards of an engine? Or is it something totally bonkers like they use nozzle style film cooling inside the pipes and stuff (which doesn't help with the turbopumps, but...)

I would assume if the russians ship working hardware to the DoD that whatever the answer is, its probably not classified.

Also I might be dense here but isn't it harder to maintain stable combustion when oxidizer rich rather than fuel rich? Or maybe its just "different" for an industry used to running fuel rich?

Do they use oxidizer rich preburner gas to cool the nozzle? I'm guessing they aren't that crazy and use the traditional nozzle coolant of fuel. Now a oxidizer regeneratively cooled nozzle would be bonkers, I don't recall anything that crazy. Maybe one of those weird solid fuel/liquid ox hybrids used liq O2 to cool the nozzle. I would imagine a pinhole leak in a oxy cooled nozzle would be a pretty spectacular failure whereas a pinhole in a fuel cooled nozzle is pretty much irrelevant until its a big enough leak to affect flow rates...

The background is that the 170/180 are the only engines I can think of off the top of my head that run oxidizer rich... every one else preburns fuel rich because a traditional welder's cutting torch is an oxidizer rich flame and putting what amounts to a cutting torch inside a engine seems a recipe for disaster. On the other hand oxidizer rich would seem to eliminate carbon/tar/gunk buildup issues. Maybe if you're stuck using heavy tarry parafiny filthy liquid fuels, like cruise ship heavy bunker oil as a fuel, the oxidizer problems are easier solved than creating a whole new fuel refining infrastructure... Would be interesting to know the design tradeoff, assuming its not just "too many bottles of vodka"

Re:Slightly off topic question about the RD-180 (2)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817073)

The answers I've heard personally, is that Russian industry learned some metallurgical tricks (making alloys suitable for use in oxidiser-rich engines) back in the day, but aren't worried about losing the know-how, since the secret is in the manufacturing process. Supposedly, simply doing an assay of the materials in a shipped engine is nowhere near enough to reproduce the special alloys they use.

Re:Slightly off topic question about the RD-180 (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817145)

OK a coating makes sense in all regards. Analogy is its one thing to know a machine tool/drill bit has a thin anti-wear coating made out of a certain peculiar ratio of titanium and nitrogen, but its an immensely bigger problem to figure out how to make it and stick it to the underlying material.

Re:Slightly off topic question about the RD-180 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817223)

Chapter on Oxidizer Rich Preburner technology:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0HWotm1k40QC&pg=PA683#v=onepage&q&f=false

Re:Slightly off topic question about the RD-180 (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821719)

Thank you AC you should post under your name to get credit for a good ref link like that.

Some highlights:
1) Cooler oxidizer rich gas has the same turbine power as warmer fuel rich gas. So you're comparing cool oxy rich vs hot fuel rich, so its not as much of an issue as you'd guess since chemical reactivity scales pretty strongly with temperature. Product gas is denser and cooler, the machinery is smaller and lighter, meaning you need less miracle coating or miracle high temp alloy for an overall net gain anyway. Or in summary the pumps and stuff end up lighter, always good.
2) There's some systems issues where if you generate tank pressurization using engine heat to vaporize the liquids, a small oxy rich leak is somewhat safer than a small fuel leak. Which makes sense looking at explosive safety limits of most fuel oxidizer pairs. A tiny bit of O2 in the H2 tank is safer than a equal tiny bit of H2 in the O2 tank. Partially ratios, but I'd imagine or guess that a slow leak of gas O2 into the liq H2 tank means frozen O2 sinks to the bottom rather than ready to combust H2 gas in the top of the O2 tank.
3) gas/gas injectors have acoustic/stability profiles easier to stabilize than gas/liq O2. Intuitively you'd think gas/gas injectors would mix better so I guess I'm not totally surprised, and some acoustic/stability fixes are heavy so anything to make smoother more stable combustion is a win, even if its a probably very small effect.
4) Apparently the Germans in the 60s began experiments with film cooling using oxidizer... I'd be shitting bricks if I was the chamber engineer or the machinist who fabricated the chamber, but apparently the performance gains etc outweighed the risks of leaks, or at least nothing awful happened at the time.
5) The russians have been fooling around with oxy rich ratios since the late 60s... so its not new, older than I thought. Not mainstream, by any means, but becoming more popular since then.
6) My concerns about ignition stability at strange ratios is verified to not be an issue at high enough chamber pressure/temp. GOOG books cut me off as they were discussing that topic. My gut level guess is that moves ratio problems, if any, to a startup/shutdown timeframe. Hard starts have always been pretty messy regardless of ratio.

Maybe the really REALLY short summary is, oxy rich is, in fact, more of a PITA than fuel rich, but its not as bad as could be pessimistically thought, and the performance gains seem worth it. Essentially its the typical "more advanced" design... harder to plan, harder to make, tougher material limits, yet slightly better performance. Overall, impressive. I would expect to see more oxy rich designs in the future. It might take a very long time to take over the whole industry.

Thanks for the link AC

China still playing catch-up (4, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816957)

On the one hand, it sounds reasonable to work with China now when they have a reason to work with us rather than wait until they've passed what NASA can do. On the other hand, given their history they would almost certainly learn whatever they can however they can, then cease cooperating once they've sucked away all the technology anyway. I don't see any benefit to the US in working with them.

Re:China still playing catch-up (1, Interesting)

dsvick (987919) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817109)

I agree that, given the staggering lack of support for space research in the US, they'll almost certainly pass us eventually. However I don't think it will be by very much or for very long. You can credit most, if not all, of their success to date on them taking what the US and the Soviet Union did decades ago (that's not a dig, that how most research works, you build off what others have done before you) and simply modernizing it and dong it again. And where they couldn't copy something I'm sure they had no problems with simply stealing it (that was a dig). Eventually though, they'll be at the same level we are and there wont be anything for them to take or learn from. Sure they may make some advances beyond that, but I don't think it will be much or even very fast.

Anything after that and they'll have to wait for the US to start doing something serious again.

Re:China still playing catch-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40819389)

They didn't need to steal some of it. Some of it was given to them (L-3, Loral)... If there actually was something approaching criminal that Bill Clinton did while President, allowing these technology transfers to "slip through the cracks" was one.

Re:China still playing catch-up (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821581)

rather than wait until they've passed what NASA can do.

in some ways they already passed what NASA can do. At this very moment we (USA) cannot put people in space. Of course we have systems under development.Orion though I don't know when they will ever fly it. There is still no launch vehicle everyone agrees on. Then there's Dragon....... gotta wait and see how it turns out.

Where is the summary? (1)

ugen (93902) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816975)

Oh, *that* was it? Slashdot editorial quality is in the toilet, really. I've come to accept incessant grammatical and spelling errors in summaries. But this is just lazy sloppy work. Please make a *summary* that is short, clear and explains why I should read the rest of the article.

Or, to put it in terms that even slashdot editor could understand:
tl;dr;

How is China different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817033)

Don't most countries want the same info from the US? I suppose some places have more respect for IP, etc, but I got the impression the US wasn't that friendly with Russia not too long ago, and they still managed to work together on space stuff at the time. Can anyone elaborate on why the US doesn't want to work with China at this point in time and how that's different from Russia in the past?

Re:How is China different? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817215)

Can anyone elaborate on why the US doesn't want to work with China at this point in time and how that's different from Russia in the past?

You must be young. Thats OK. Just saying. The market is much free-er now. In ye olden days high tech stuff simply did not cross the iron curtain. Occasionally you'd get a client state who couldn't seem to decide which side to ally with. But the idea of Japan or England or France or Australia or pretty much any country with no .ru military base on its soil buying a russian engine in 1970 for a commercial launch is pretty laughable for political considerations, so there were no large scale economic impacts from high level design cooperation.

Sure, .ru (or .ussr at the time, it was the kremvax era I guess), here's the plans to our F-1 engine, for national pride reasons you'll never build and fire one, and again for national pride reasons your client states will never be permitted to build or buy one, so just have fun admiring the plans you have no direct use for. And vice versa. May as well officially trade data because spies would get it anyway at immense waste of money, so its a prisoners dilemma game to agree to trade for free.

What Space Race? (2)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817137)

A Space Race is usually a race to be the first at something, like going to the moon was. Unless they plan on racing to put a human on Mars, there is no Space Race worth devoting billions to.

Re:What Space Race? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817179)

It's all part of the Space Nutter mythology. It's basically propaganda. Space Race to get to low Earth orbit! Space Race to maybe, at great cost and risk, send a handful of people back to the Moon... for what? We already have pictures and Moon rocks. Oh wait, Space Nutters fervently believe that China will colonize the Moon. Uh huh.

Re:What Space Race? (1)

jbburks (853501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817835)

Sort of like the Christopher Columbus mythology... not a lot of market or other profit reasons to sail that long, dangerous, expensive way from Portugal to the New World. Not going to be any future in it, so everyone would be better off staying home in Europe.

Re:What Space Race? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40818453)

I get so tired of this comparison. Christopher Columbus didn't propose mythical technologies to get imaginary results. Boats were how many millenia old by then? Iron age technology and trees gives you big boats. Market? Are you HIGH? What the hell ELSE do you think they were doing back then? Ever hear of pirates? Think they were going around stealing knowledge? You poor deluded child, you're so wrapped up in your space fairy tales you can't even understand history properly.

Re:What Space Race? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817309)

there is no Space Race worth devoting billions to.

Comsats and weather sats and geolocation. If things got really "rough" we'd use military force and crypto and who knows what to prevent "them" from using "our" sats and vice versa.

Those fields are so incredibly profitable that people almost forget them when thinking about non-profit space exploration, R+D, etc.

The amount of money and lives saved just by satellite based hurricane tracking must be almost incalculable, certainly extremely large. Not every nation has hurricanes, but they've all got "something" where billions annually rely on wx prediction, like harvest-time weather or sea fishing wx forecasts.

Re:What Space Race? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817409)

"Comsats and weather sats and geolocation."

Please describe what part of that is a "race". It's decades-old, known and understood technology. You might as well make a heavier-than-air flying machine race. Doesn't make much sense, does it? And even if we did, we'd end up with the same technologies. After all, there are no new chemical elements to discover, no new physical forces to discover. We'd have the same alloys, the same chemical energy sources, the same theoretical base for the engines.

Yes or no?

As for your sig, you have your own religion about space. And you're flying yourself into a metaphorical brick wall.

Darkest Days? (4, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817159)

It's worth recalling that even in the darkest days of the Cold War, the United States and its archrival at the time--the Soviet Union--embarked upon cooperative efforts in space, most famously with the joint Apollo-Soyuz docking mission in 1975

That was great and all, but 1975 hardly qualifies as the darkest days of the Cold War. The Cuban Missile Crisis was certainly darker, and was right at the start of the space race. Kennedy had set the goal of reaching the moon just a month earlier, and no one would claim there was any collaboration in space for the next decade. Lobbing humans into orbit and lobbing nukes aren't all that different, after all. There were other dark times during the 1980s, and I doubt anyone would claim that was a great time for space collaboration, either.

Re:Darkest Days? (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819039)

Lobbing humans into orbit and lobbing nukes aren't all that different, after all.

Which of course was why the US developed the capability send a man to the Moon. Smokescreen for Kennedy's real agenda.

Re:Darkest Days? (1)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819181)

Agreed. In fact 1975 was part of the detente [wikipedia.org] period, and the joint mission was by intent a manifestation of that thaw in the Cold War.

1957 may have been the scariest (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819979)

The US felt safe until 1957 protected by thousands of miles of oceans. Maybe a few subs or balloons snuck in during the world war. But the first orbiting satellite in 1957 showed there was no place on Earth out of reach. Plus something going over you every hour and a half possibly spying on you. People felt very unsafe then.

Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (0, Flamebait)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817423)

If the US is concerned about intellectual property violations from China, it is a simple matter to fine China under RICO statutes:

Just cancel out debt owed to China in proportion to the actual damages. Triple that canceled debt if there is criminality under RICO.

Then if guys like Klotz want a more open relationship and technological exchange with China, all the government policy measure involves lifting trade barriers to let our space entrepreneurs do business with Chinese companies. Again, if the Chinese act as an organized crime syndicate to violate the IP of the entrepreneurs, cancel out debt to China. Keep doing it until the debt is gone and -- if necessary -- reversed.

Oh, and this idea that it is ok to trade with countries that routinely engage in human rights abuses is essentially participating in slave trade. It should be US policy not to engage in slave trade nor to allow domestic companies to engage in slave trade.

Finally, if you REALLY want to get US innovation going, reverse the current tax situation in which the only national asset tax is the patent fee and the rest of the revenue comes from taxes on economic activity:

Tax only property net rights at their liquidation value at a rate equal to the national debt, and exempt inventor owned patents from any taxes or fees.

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818837)

Tressury notes will become worthless overnight. If the US can do it to China, who says they cannot do it to others. Being a sore loser never helps.
 
Not mention that China might very well go to war, if this happens.

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819335)

So if someone comes up and mugs you and you go after him to get your money back, you're a "sore loser".

Got it.

If China went to war with the US it would be a very short war primarily because China would have to attack US territory. Attacking things the neocon idiots think of as "American Interests", such as access to middle east oil, would only spur innovation in the US and get us to stop the equivalent of a national heroin addiction.

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40819511)

What China does is considered a fair fight, in the league of nations. US used to do it a lot and still does a lot of bullying.
 
China doesnt care about US territory, only about resources. It would gladly take foreign resources if it could (and some believe it can). And if there is one thing that really pisses of China, is affecting its economic interests. If you nullfy Treasurly bond, I would expect China to go on a full on war.
 
And you have no clue about how Treasure bonds becoming worthless would affect the US, do you?

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820103)

When the government fines someone for criminal behavior and imposes a lien against their tax returns, it doesn't cause people to abandon the US dollar.

Get real.

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (0)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820121)

By routinely violating US intellectual property China is initiating economic warfare. Why do you think it is advisable for the US to just bend over and take it? Because China's military is so much more powerful than the US's?

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820495)

Yeah right. We have do something, so might as well stab ourselves. Treasury notes are only as good as the borrower's promise to pay back. If the borrower changes the terms later, even if just for china. They become worthless instantly.

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820863)

No they don't. There are all sorts of implicit terms. For example, China has the reasonable expectation that the US won't inflate its currency like Mugabe was President. An implicit term that the US can expect from China is that it will not engage in economic crimes against the US at a level that dwarfs the US debt held by China.

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820877)

poppycock. First off, there is no league of nations. Long gone. It is the United Nations.
Secondly, China is constantly dumping on foreign markets and constantly being found guilty of such. Likewise, it is know that they are manipulating their money which goes against the 2000 accords, as well as against IMF and WTO. Then they jumped from 90 trade barriers to over 400.

Fair? Not even close. Here, go look [worldbank.org] for yourself. [worldbank.org]

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821721)

I was just referring to the hypothetical league. I was saying that as much as nations fights go, this is a fair one.
 
So china is being found guilty and is being punished for it. So as long as this keeps happening, everything is fine right? And didnt the US do the same when it was a rising power? Which again goes to prove that it is a pretty fair fight when it comes to the league of nations.

Re:Fine China Under RICO for IP Violations (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40819675)

Tressury notes will become worthless overnight. If the US can do it to China, who says they cannot do it to others. Being a sore loser never helps.

Not mention that China might very well go to war, if this happens.

At some point China might be a match to the US militarily, but that point certainly is not now. China could make life in the US very uncomfortable for a while, they could put up a good fight, and then China would be completely crushed by the US. The only option they would have to win is to use nukes, but then they get taken off the surface of the planet with nukes too. Not much of a win.

Anyway, China doesn't need to start any wars. Just ceasing to buy more US treasure notes would be quite an issue for the US, as would stopping sending goods to the US, though that would also wreck the Chinese economy. As you say, the US treasury would also lose a huge amount of trust from investors everywhere.

Matter of Perspective (0)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817537)

Sometimes I wish I were a neutral observer far removed from the earth simply waiting to record the results of this most fascinating human societal experiment. Which system will prove the most successful, the one that is willing to suffer short term losses for long term gain or the one that focuses solely on providing the greatest reward in the shortest amount of time? Fascinating indeed!!

What Are The Implications? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817597)

with profound implications for America's own interests in space

What are the implications? That China will advance beyond the U.S. in space? That China will do something else first? That China will look superior in some way?

There's one simple way to resolve any such concerns. The U.S. simply has to engage their space program rather than mothball it.

Confucius say; nation that sit on ass get left with egg on face.

Lack of cooperation is fine, like competitors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40818011)

It seems to me that the current state of cooperation with China is adequate. It's comparable to cooperation one sees between competing companies in whichever commercial engineering realm. As such, the US is incubating innovative home-based endeavours that will beat competitors hands-down (at least as long as the US leads in innovation of course).

Will China Go Nuclear IN SPACE!!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40818243)

I wonder if China is willing to go all out and use Nuclear Rockets in Space. If they are willing to take the risks and the International Heat. They could leap frog the rest of the world. A nuclear rocket makes the manned trip to mars and back not only possible but doable with today's tech. It also brings the price of a moon base down a hell lot. I would guess better then 150% to that of International Space Station per kilogram. A throttlable nuclear rocket could make several supply runs from LEO to the moon and still have plenty of power left over to enter a decaying orbit around the sun.

This would probably be so crushing to the West that they too would be forced to revisit their nuclear powered rocket designs. It would be in a word a game changer. Of course one reactor explosion would put an instant end to the nuclear rocket race. The big unknown for me is disposal how are we going to get rid of the rockets once we're done with them. Should we just park them around the sun in a lower orbit. Sounds good for a couple hundred rockets but you start putting thousands there it could hamper our ability to reach Venus. Of course maybe the right choice is just to park'em for now and when there enough use one rocket to collect them and send them to burn up in the sun. Of course Jupiter wouldn't know the difference if we feed it a couple thousand rockets or not.

Breather Reactors in the Rockets could make the list a hell of a lot longer, yes they would need more propellent but that would be cheap to send vs sending an other rocket. Of course it's probably better to retire the rockets early rather then risk potential problems as the rockets age.

Cooperate with your current associates first (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40818943)

If the US really is in a cooperative mood, how about not backing out of the ISS program in 2016 or 2020? It hasn't even been completed yet and they already planning how to deorbit it.

Re:Cooperate with your current associates first (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820725)

No, we are not planning that. Do not be foolish. The issue is that we have 2 ppl out of 6 up there, and we are covering 2/3 of the costs. Likewise, we actually covered much of the initial build-out (again, something like 2/3 of it). That is just plain foolish. So, what is going on, is that we are trying to get the partners to start paying their fair share. That is only fair.

But there is little doubt that we will continue the ISS probably until 2025. Or we will turn it over to our allies.

It shouuld be. It's our technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40819113)

OK, it's not *all* our technology, but they got a leg-up. Read up on the Cox report [wikipedia.org] . While controversial in some aspects, it did result in two Federal prosecutions for technology related to ICBMs which are a dual purpose technology. Some sources (yes, [citation needed]) say that the Chinese ballistic missile program wasn't doing very well until they got our technology.

The two defense contractors got "the largest fines ever". 10s of $millions, which is a slap on the wrist. I'm not sure what the Chinese actually got.

Area 51 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40820207)

Everyone already knows that we have space alien technology gleaned from the crash in Roswell. China, pfffft lolz.

The issue is that China's interest are hidden (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#40820671)

China has kept their interest and intentions hidden. As such, it is difficult to know what is going on. While I prefer to have peace with them, it is obvious that the communist party is in a cold war with the west.

As it is, I would rather continue working with our current allies on the ISS and getting into space with private space. Our allies want to go to the moon with USA. I say that it makes sense. However, we need to have them picking up more of the tab for what is going on. It is stupid that we have paid 10's of billions to Russia and EU EACH to do work that we could have and more importantly, should have done cheaper.
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