NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized China for lacking transparency and willingness to cooperate with the US. Beijing has pushed for closer ties with Russia to displace US' global leadership in space.
"We want cooperation that has not been forthcoming from the Chinese government (but) it takes two to tango," Nelson told reporters. "We simply haven't had any transparency from the Chinese."
Nelson's said after China launched its space station in 2021, one of the boosters careened back toward Earth. He said Chinese space officials shared no tracking data of where the booster was projected to land.
"When they put up their space station they did not reserve enough fuel to control where it came down and thank the Good Lord it came down in the Indian Ocean. (But) it could have come down in Europe, it could have come down in Saudi Arabia. It could have come down in Greece," he said.
Nelson added there's a lack of transparency regarding Chinese activity in space. He noted NASA is restricted from working with the Chinese government or any China-affiliated organizations unless approved by Congress.
There's been hostility and shadiness between both countries in space. NASA banned China from being a member of the International Space Station (ISS) program.
Nelson then pivoted to Russia and said NASA had "the Good Housekeeping seal of approval from the White House" to extend a space partnership with Russia "despite the horrors that we are seeing with our eyes daily on television of what's happening in Ukraine." The good news, he said:
"I see that professional relationship with astronauts and cosmonauts and the ground teams in the two respective mission controls, I see that continuing."
Meanwhile, a new Defense Intelligence Agency report indicated that China and Russia are aligning forces and plan to "undercut the US and allied global leadership in the space domain."
So China ignores NASA, and Moscow and Beijing move closer together in an emerging space race against the West. It's a sign the world's old economic order is fracturing as a new bipolar world appears from the ashes.