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NASA chief says U.S. will beat China in race to the moon

发布者: 天蓝蓝 | 发布时间: 2022-12-12 13:44| 查看数: 1369| 评论数: 4|帖子模式

INTERVIEWNASA chief says U.S. will beat China in race to the moon

Bill Nelson decries Beijing's lack of transparency, praises Japan as a partner

When asked if the U.S. will reach the moon before China, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, "I think we will." (Photo by Ryosuke Hanafusa)RYOSUKE HANAFUSA, Nikkei staff writerDecember 11, 2022 03:21 JST
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WASHINGTON -- As the race between the U.S. and China to reach the moon intensifies, the head of NASA expects U.S. astronauts to land before their Chinese counterparts in 2025 or 2026.

"There are very, very few nations that do not want to be partners with us. China is one. China has always been very secretive," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in an interview with Nikkei, referring to Beijing's stance on developing its own project to send people to the moon. "I think we're in a race with China."

Nelson said he was disappointed at the opaqueness of the Chinese space program, citing an incident last year when most of the world was left guessing where debris from a rocket launch would land.

"The second one we didn't know if it was going to hit Europe or Saudi Arabia. Fortunately, it ended up in the Indian Ocean and China would not let us or anyone know about the trajectory," he said. "We disagree with that position."

"We think that the civilian space program ought to be open and transparent. And that we ought... to help each other out if there's some emergency. China just has not been willing to be open about their space program."

The U.S. is planning a crewed moon probe for the first time since the 1970s. In mid-November, NASA launched its next-generation moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), with an uncrewed Orion capsule, which is expected to return to Earth on Sunday.

While this test was conducted without anyone on board, NASA has picked Space X to develop a vehicle that will allow astronauts to land on the moon in 2025 or later. The program, dubbed Artemis, aims to have astronauts explore Mars, using the moon as a base.

When asked if the U.S. and its partners will beat China to moon, Nelson said, "I think we will." China is aiming to have astronauts reach the moon by 2030.

"I think that's also important because those who returned to the moon first with humans, that will be a significant achievement. And I think China would like to do that," he said.

"If our program is successful, and our commercial lander is successful, I think we will be able to get there... somewhere in 2025, maybe 2026."

NASA's Space Launch System rocket with the Orion capsule takes off on the unmanned Artemis I mission to the moon at Cape Canaveral, U.S., on Nov. 16.   © Reuters

Because the Artemis program requires state-of-the-art technology and carries a hefty price tag -- each rocket launch costs some $4 billion -- it is crucial for the U.S. collaborate with other nations.

"Japan is one of our strongest and most valued partners. And this relationship is a priority for the Biden administration and the Japanese government," Nelson said.

The U.S. and Japan have been negotiating a framework that would allow the countries to cooperate on variety of space projects, including research and sending probes to space. Collaboration is expected to accelerate once the sides agree to the framework.

"We're hoping the signing [of the framework agreement] can be in February when I'm there," he said, mentioning an upcoming Japan trip.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Toyota Motor are working to develop a moon rover that astronauts can drive.

"I'm going to visit that plant that is going to produce this rover so I'll know a lot more once I visit," Nelson said.

The Artemis program includes a plan to build the Gateway space station, which will orbit the moon. There is already an agreement that a Japanese astronaut will be stationed there.

Nelson praised Japanese technology and the role the country has played in supplying equipment for the station, such as life support systems.

He said a Japanese astronaut will land on the moon "once we get to a point of working [the habitable rover] out," without giving a time frame.

As for relations with Russia in space, "the war in Ukraine changed everything on the ground. It's certainly solidified Europe against Russia. But it's not going to change the cooperation on the International Space Station," Nelson said.

Russian Soyuz rockets have carried American astronauts to the International Space Station, but Moscow has been signaling a possibility of withdrawing from the space station.

"That cooperation continues. It is very professional," Nelson said.


点评 回复 天蓝蓝 发表于 2022-12-12 13:45:02
点评 回复 天蓝蓝 发表于 2022-12-12 13:46:11
NASA's Bill Nelson declares that China has become 'good at stealing'
NASA's Bill Nelson declares that China has become 'good at stealing'

[size=1.1875]And they've done an 'impressive' job of it with rocket technology.

Brad Bergan
Created: May 17, 2022 12:52 PM EST
Updated: May 17, 2022 07:59 PM EST


NASA Head Bill Nelson (left), and China's Shenzhou 12 rocket, mid-launch (right).[url=https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_070927-N-3642E-156_Sen._Bill_Nelson,_D-Fla.,_questions_Adm._Gary_Roughead,_commander_of_U.S._Fleet_Forces_Command,_after_his_testimony_before_the_Committee_on_Armed_Services_during_his_confirmation_hearing_for_appointme.jpg]1
, [url=https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fileaunch_of_Shenzhou_12.jpg]2[/url]

If you can't beat them, steal their game.
This seems to be what NASA Administrator Bill Nelson thinks about China's space program, since he broke the ice during a low-key House Appropriations Committee hearing by telling the world how he really feels about the growing competition in space ventures between the U.S. and China.


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"Yes, they are pretty good at stealing," declared Nelson according to an initial tweet quoting him from Space Policy Reporter Marcia Smith. But to Nelson, the solution should emphasize higher cybersecurity measures in the private sector, rather than greater innovation from NASA.
"We need to take cybersecurity very seriously in govt (sic) and private sector," continued the tweet that quoted Nelson, from Smith.
NASA's Bill Nelson says China's space program is unoriginal
While the hearing was in session, Alabama's representative Robert Aderholt asked Nelson how the space agency could "secure American research and development," since the "jarring similarities" between China's and the United States' rocket vehicle designs were hard to ignore.
Nelson seemed to laugh at this, and when asked why, he said Rep. Aderholt articulated the situation far more "delicately" and "eloquently" than Nelson thought he could, in light of his suspicions.
Get more updates on this story and more with The Blueprint, our daily newsletter: Sign up here for free.
That's when Nelson attributed the ostensible similarities between both nations' rocket technology to "stealing". But this isn't the first time Nelson has expressed his perception of the international situation in light of the new space race player.


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To him, Nelson has been "shouting this message to the rooftops (sic) not only with regard to the government but private sector as well," adding that "the private sector is finally getting the message."
As the conversation progressed, Nelson said NASA had already said that the U.S. and China were in a hot "space race" that is functionally much like the last one — between the now-defunct USSR and the United States.
A new Artemis I launch date?
Notably, Nelson also stressed that NASA's long-delayed Artemis lunar mission would lift off sometime around August of this year. This is understandably big if true, since the agency has already declared it wouldn't put an official launch date on the forthcoming program until it had completed the "wet dress rehearsal," which is still on for this summer.
One shouldn't read too much into Nelson's declarations under pressure — especially regarding the Artemis timeline, since the launch of Artemis I was delayed once more in April. This announcement came in the wake of new plans to roll the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket back into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) "due to upgrades required at an off-site supplier of gaseous nitrogen used for the test," read a statement from NASA.

But whether NASA gets its schedule together after Starship's advanced design had agency officials "sh**ting the bed", China's space program is making great strides. For example, China made a perfectly successful launch of its Long March 6 on March 30, 2022, lifting two satellites into orbit. It even has a rapidly growing space station, called Tiangong-1. But with a continuing trend of mild indifference to potentially catastrophic rocket falls leaving trails of debris strewn across the world, NASA will probably continue to keep its lead, at least in public relations.
This was developing news about the NASA Chief's understanding of the emerging space race with China and was regularly updated as new information became available.

点评 回复 天蓝蓝 发表于 2022-12-12 13:47:25
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点评 回复 天蓝蓝 发表于 2022-12-12 13:48:27
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