NASA gets knock on door from China despite ban!

Written by PTI | Beijing | Updated: Jan 12 2014, 02:32am hrs
Buoyed by the successful landing of a rover on the Moon, China has sought global cooperation for space exploration, especially with the US which prohibits direct collaboration between NASA and Chinese space agencies.

Xu Dazhe, the new chief of China's space industry who is in Washington to attend the International Space Exploration Forum, said: "We are willing to cooperate with all the countries in the world, including the United States and developing countries."

His presence at the Forum, organised by the US State Department, is regarded as significant as American law prohibits contacts between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Chinese space agencies because of security concerns.

Cooperation between Chinese agencies and NASA has been hit by the exclusionary law passed by US Congress in 2011.

It prohibits NASA from using funds to host Chinese visitors at its facilities, citing security concerns, and prohibits the US agency from working bilaterally with Chinese nationals affiliated with a Chinese government entity.

Xu, a space scientist by training, was promoted less than three weeks ago to head the China National Space Administration. He earlier led the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

While speaking at the event in Washington, Xu praised the US for its advanced space technology and said China has cooperated with NASA before but it came to a halt after the law was passed.

He said the US invitation to China to take part in the International Space Exploration Forum, and his participation, have sent a positive signal.

Xu said his attendance shortly after taking the new job was meant to send a signal to his counterparts worldwide that China is willing to strengthen its cooperation with other nations, state-run China Daily reported.

Recently, China has worked with Russia and the European Union on space exploration, and the EU participated in the observation of China's moon landing.

Last month, Chinese space craft Change-3 successfully landed a rover on the Moon to explore its surface.

China has also launched satellites for other countries, including Pakistan and Bolivia.

Besides China, India, which has launched its Mars mission, were in the spotlight at the Forum in Washington.