Chinese Involvement in ISS Poses Significant Challenges

Could U.S. astronauts catch ride with China?
The Huntsville Times

Using the Chinese as a near-term solution for space station problems might not be possible, said Elliot Pulham, chief executive officer of the space advocacy group The Space Foundation, but America should begin to seek out China as a partner in space projects like lunar bases.

“There are serious challenges for China support of space station resupply,” said Pulham, who worked on the station program for Boeing in Huntsville in the early 1990s. “I wouldn’t let those challenges dissuade us from having conversations with the Chinese about space partnership.”

Pulham said trade laws that barred some transfer of technology to China would have to be amended to allow it to modify its Shenzhou to dock with the station, and China’s production of the spacecraft would have to be improved.

“They are practically custom building each Shenzhou spacecraft,” said Pulham, who met with Chinese space officials last week. “They are making generational improvements and modifications to each one. It’s not like they have an assembly line over there that punches out so many of these a month.”

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