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Both Chinese and Americans ‘Have a Cooperative Attitude’ in Space

Jan. 21, 2019 (EIRNS)—China’s Science & Technology Daily carries an article today on space cooperation with the United States. It goes back to the Chang’e-2 mission in 2010, when, after orbiting the Moon, the spacecraft journeyed into deep space and encountered the asteroid Tutatis. The article says that when China announced the planned visit to the asteroid, the U.S. shut down access to the relevant orbital data it had been collecting. The U.S. is the only nation that “mastered” the orbits of small bodies.

Science & Technology Daily then includes comments on cooperation from aerospace engineer Yang Yuguang, who is a frequent commentator for CGTN TV and plays an active role in the International Astronautical Federation. Yang says that regarding the lunar missions, “both sides have shown a cooperative attitude.” In early communications, he says,

“the U.S. provided the orbital data from its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to the Chinese side and promised to capture, and make public, images and parameters of the landing.”

Yang continued, the United States has requested that China extend the life of the relay satellite it is using for the current lunar far side mission from three years to five years.

“It is not difficult for the United States to build a relay satellite,” he observes. “Why doesn’t the U.S. build a relay satellite?” Yang Yuguang believes the United States wants to “save money.”

“If the United States develops a relay satellite by itself, plus launching and operating it, it will cost at least hundreds of millions of dollars. NASA is now in a tight budget situation, and it is obviously more cost-effective to seek cooperation with China.”

The U.S. proposal that China’s relay satellite operation be extended, would mean that it plans to implement a far side landing within five years, the article concludes. “Regardless of whether this cooperation can be carried out in the end, China aerospace will open its heart to the world.”

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