While NASA administrator Mike Griffin’s trip to China has not resulted in any great breakthroughs in Sino-American space cooperation (with pre-trip expectations kept accordingly low), at least one member of Congress isn’t happy Griffin went to China in the first place. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued a statement criticizing NASA and the Bush Administration for agreeing to the trip in the first place. “It is unfathomable this Administration has decided to engage China on space policy or any other technological endeavor,” he says in the statement. “China’s commitment to build-up its military to threaten the United States and world peace is clear.”
Rohrabacher also refers to a report published in Defense News this week that China reportedly fired lasers at US reconnaissance satellites as they passed over Chinese territory, perhaps as a test to see what would be required to temporarily blind the spacecraft. “This latest revelation of the Chinese firing ground-based lasers to blind our reconnaissance satellites while high level officials from NASA are participating in an alleged exploratory visit is the highest level of contradiction.” Rohrabacher, as many know, has long been critical of the Chinese government in general, and any interaction with the Chinese in space or other high-tech fields.