Most people agree that space is the next frontier for earth’s superpowers. Both China and India have launched vessels into space in the past decade and seem keen to catch up with the US.
Meanwhile, Russia is pumping more and more money into its program just to keep up. The Europeans are cooperating with the US in every way and try to make the ISS a success.
The question as to what should be thought of China’s intentions in space was put before Republican John Culberson as he was sitting on a discussion panel during the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop held in Huntsville.
Mr. Culberson chairs the subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that writes NASA's budget, so when he talks about space, people tend to listen.
His answer as to any possible US-Chinese cooperation in space was rather negative, unfortunately.
Mr. Culberson said: "I think it's fine to partner with the Europeans. They've been with us and do very very good work. Unfortunately, the Chinese government has proven to be one of the most aggressive in the world at, frankly, stealing intellectual property. We all need to understand with our eyes wide open that the Chinese space program is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the People's Liberation Army."
Certainly, the alleged stealing of intellectual property is a serious matter which Mr. Culberson said the Chinese did "at every opportunity they get."
In fact, the Chinese are so keen on getting their hands on US intellectual property or design of space material that NASA needs to "get every purchase of computer technology or telecommunications technology approved … to be sure that it doesn't include chips or hardware built in China."
Another NASA specialist, North Alabama Representative Mo Brooks (Republican, Huntsville) agreed fully whilst adding: "I put Russia in the same ballpark. It is certainly a geopolitical foe."
Asked with whom the US could do any future space cooperation, Mr. Brooks said: "Japan, India, Australia, Europe. We need to interact with them as much as we possibly can."