Press Release

NASA Administrator to Grad Students: China Trip Is ‘First Step’

By SpaceRef Editor
September 25, 2006
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NASA Administrator to Grad Students: China Trip Is ‘First Step’

On his second full day in China, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin spoke to some of the country’s brightest future researchers during a speech to graduate students at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was accompanied by astronaut Shannon Lucid.

Griffin talked to the students about the evolution of the U.S. space program from one born of competition to one built on cooperation. “The International Space Station set a pattern for cooperative programs to follow,” he said. “I believe someday China will be part of that.”

Image above: NASA Administrator Michael Griffin (right) with U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt, Jr., before his talk with graduate students from the Chinese Academy of Science. Click to Enlarge Credit: NASA.

Lucid, who performed extensive scientific research on the space shuttle and on Mir, noted that the students in attendance might someday be given an opportunity to design experiments for China’s own human space flight program. With that in mind, she offered three tips for designing research programs in space. She told them to remember that what can be accomplished in a short flight, like a space shuttle mission, is different than what can be accomplished on a long duration flight on a space station. She reminded them to make sure they understood their environment, designing experiments not only for microgravity conditions but ones that also took into account increased radiation and other factors. Finally, she encouraged students to utilize astronaut crew members to enhance the outcome of their experiments.

Also Monday, Griffin and his delegation met with China’s Minister of Science and Technology, Xu Guanhua, and toured the National Satellite Meterological Center. Griffin told a gathering of news media later in the day that he enjoyed learning about the more “geeky” aspects of the Chinese space program.

SpaceRef staff editor.