Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium
China's Shenzhou-7 (pronounced "shun-joe") manned space
vehicle carrying three cosmonauts, China's third manned-space
mission, will launch between September 25-30. Beijing also
hints at a manned lunar mission - which NASA Administrator Michael
Griffin speculates could plant a Chinese flag on the Moon as early
as 2017. By contrast, on October 10, NASA's Atlantis
Shuttle will service the Hubble telescope on one of its last
high-profile missions before the Shuttle program retires in 2010,
leaving the U.S. without a replacement spacecraft until 2015.
In the interim, the United States will be dependent on Russian
heavy-lift rockets and Soyuz spacecraft to reach the
International Space Station. The median age for engineers in
the U.S. space program is well over 50 (with 26% eligible to retire
in 2008). The average age for Shenzhou program
engineers is 36, and only 33 for China's "Chang E"
(pronounced "tchang-uh") lunar program. In 10-20 years, China
will have an immense pool of aerospace engineers with more
experience than their U.S. counterparts.
Recently, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reportedly
censored the NASA chief's testimony to Congress on China's space
ambitions. Will America lose its space primacy? Does
anyone care? Does it matter? Join us for an
uncomfortable examination of these and other aspects of China's
More About the Speakers
Senior Asia Analyst,
Space Policy Institute,
Elliott School for International Affairs,
The George Washington University
China Program Manager,
Defense Group Inc.
John J. Tkacik, Jr.
Senior Research Fellow