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Monday, April 20, 2009

White House Science Advisor Suggests US Astronauts on Chinese Shenzhou Spacecraft

White House Science Advisor John Holdren recently suggested that NASA astronauts may be ferried to space aboard Chinese-made Shenzhou capsules in addition to the Russian-made Soyuz representing a significant departure from the past US national policy as recently related in an interview with ScienceInsider and reported upon by Jeff Foust.

In addressing the suggested 5-year gap between space shuttle launches and the development of a new human-rated booster such as Ares-1, Holdren said: "I don't see any way we can do it before 2015, and if things go as they often do, it might be a little later than 2015. And what we'll have to do in that interim period is rely on our international partners, which means the Russians. It might also be the Chinese, depending on how our relationship develops."

ScienceInsider: "Do you have confidence in China's ability to launch our astronauts?"

Holdren: "I think it's possible in principle to develop the required degree of confidence in the Chinese. I put it out there only as speculation, but I don't think it should be ruled out."

1 comment:

Ty said...

NASA has had a hard enough time accepting Russia as a space partner, Chinese I don't think they'll go that far. But it could be helpful to build a space partner with Chinese to keep them from making mistakes and creating space junk.