Tom Feeney’s excellent Chinese adventure


Prior to yesterday’s House Science Committee hearing, Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) spoke at a Space Transportation Association breakfast about his recent trip to China, including a rare visit to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the Chinese manned spaceflight center that is typically off limits to Western visitors. (He noted in his talk that while he and two fellow Congressmen were allowed to visit the center, a US Embassy staffer who planned to accompany them was forced to stay at a hotel.) A few notes from his talk:

  • He said that, as previously reported, there is some interest among Chinese officials about developing a common docking adapter that would allow Shenzhou spacecraft to dock with ISS or US spacecraft to dock with a future Chinese space station. However, he added that his Chinese hosts said this was a “decision for a higher pay grade”, and noted there would be concerns here about technology transfer.
  • There is “enormous” pride in China for their manned space program, which is played up by the Chinese government in order to keep the Chinese public happy. The number one worry of the Chinese government, Feeney claimed, is that “there’s going to be some sort of massive uprising or rebellion within China itself.”
  • That pride, though, dissipates whenever the Chinese space program is compared with US efforts. “At that point they get very humble, I think partly because they do not want to be a threat and partly because they do not want to overly excite expectations that they cannot live up to.”
  • In a similar vein, he did not see a race developing between the US and China. “I think it’s a mistake to look at China as an extension of the Cold War. This is not the Soviet Union… They have not been an aggressive country since Genghis Khan was running things.” Still, he thinks there would be a competitive reaction in the US if China ramped up its lunar exploration program, for example. “I think some members would be motivated by that, let’s put it that way, but I think more likely the motivation would come from the people of the United States.”
  • Listening to the talk, I noticed that the congressman was sometimes a little off with his facts. Comparing the Chinese facilities with what’s at the Kennedy Space Center, he called KSC’s Vehicle Assembly Building “a 60-year-old huge warehouse”, about 20 years older than its actual age. Elsewhere he described the US and Russian manned space programs as having histories of “30 and 40 years, respectively”. His pronunciation of Chinese names was also different from what I have commonly heard elsewhere, but then, he’s been to China and I haven’t.

8 comments to Tom Feeney’s excellent Chinese adventure

  • Mike Puckett

    “They have not been an aggressive country since Genghis Khan was running things.”

    Lets see….Conquest of Tibet…..Indian border incursion….Invasion of Vietnam in 78……Yep, they aren’t the least bit agressive!

  • Mark R. Whittington

    And I suppose the Korean War really is the “forgotten war” according to Feeney

  • Well, if they invaded Vietnam, they’re really the belligerent horde!

  • Mike Puckett

    At least in regards with Vietnam, at least they had the balls to do something we would not do and invade instead of being limited to air strikes with regards to the north.

    Even if they did it for the wrong reason because the Vietnamese pro-Soviets were hasseling their Maoist Cambodian client in the person of Pol Pot.

    Fortunately for the Vietnamese, they were battle hardened at the time and the Chinese military of the late 70’s were a pushover post-cultural revolution purged shell of its former paper tiger self.

  • Z

    Excpet for the fact that they are spending a huge percentage of their GDP on defense build up and modernization and have massive intelegence opperations in this country to aquire technology…sure, they aren’t the next Soviet Unio, right…

    Way to buy into chicom propaganda hook line and sinker.

  • The Chicoms got their ballistics from Loreal Corp’s Benjamin Schwartz under the Clinton debacle. Now that the Bush debacle is upon us, we find that Clinton and Hillary have become part of the George Bush Family.

    Now, I find that really cozy. How about you?

  • CSS4

    “The Chicoms got their ballistics from Loreal Corp’s Benjamin Schwartz under the Clinton debacle.”

    Which ballistics would those be?

  • And let’s not forget that China turned on itself killing anywhere between 25 and 70 million during the “great leap forward” – one of the worst mass killings in human history. Tom Feeney’s ignorance is appalling.