Curtis discusses Chinese space program on Hong Kong radio station
Dr. Anthony Curtis (Mass Communications) took part in a live broadcast discussion of the Chinese space program Nov. 28, 2005, on Hong Kong radio station RTHK.
Other guests on the 8:30 a.m. "Backchat" show were Peter Wong, Hong Kong delegate to the National People's Congress (NPC) speaking from Beijing; Dr. Zhang Baohui of the Department of Politics and Sociology, Lingnan University, Hong Kong; Australian space journalist Morris Jones; and Scott Lee, research director for Synovate, a global market research firm.
The discussion topic coordinated by program hosts Hugh Chiverton and Terry Nealon was "Should the space program continue?" Most of the speakers said that it should.
Dr. Curtis said China is using manned flights and space exploration to build its prestige as a technological heavyweight. High-visibility space flights are boosting the nation's prestige at home and abroad.
Dr. Curtis pointed out that, beyond China's borders, the nation needs to project a high-tech image to operate successfully in a positive business environment.
"Space feats are good for business," he said. "The luster of the manned flights will shine, not only on China's commercial satellite launch business, but on all of China's technology businesses."
He pointed out there is a regional Moon race underway involving India, Japan and China. All three have plans to explore beyond Earth starting with the Moon. China will send a spacecraft to orbit the Moon at the end of 2006. Japan has two Moon probes in the works for launch in 2006 - 07. And India plans to send a probe to the Moon in 2007-2008.
"It shouldn't be overlooked that Japan has just landed a probe on an asteroid and is about to bring dust home," Dr. Curtis said. "That's a global first."
The RTHK broadcast panel considered whether nations should explore space independently.
"The best solution would be global cooperation on space stations and travel to the Moon and other planets," Dr. Curtis said. "These are very expensive and very complex operations, so they could happen sooner through cooperation. However, the U.S. has been slow to welcome the emerging participation by China. It's not clear yet just how welcoming other nations will be to China."
Dr. Curtis is interviewed frequently by global media when important news occurs in space. His website is www.spacetoday.org.