Right after successfully completing a spacewalk, it looks as if the Asian giant is now offering “lessons” to interested countries seeking to train their own citizens to be astronauts.
(International Herald Tribune) Having launched consecutive successful manned space missions, China now hopes train astronauts for other nations, the head of the Chinese astronaut training program was quoted as saying on Thursday. [...]
“It was one of the center’s goals to train international astronauts in future,” Chen said.
Although China has largely gone it alone in developing its manned space program, Chen said international cooperation was an “inevitable trend in manned space flight” due to the expense and complex technology involved.
This is probably a wise move by China, who after conducting their anti-satellite test found itself with very few allies on planet Earth.
China has already cultivated deep relationships with many African nations (note: although how beneficial they are is subject to debate), and it would not be surprising to see them establish trade agreements enabling them to liftoff from launch friendly regions of the continent.
Either way this is yet another sign of China’s attempt to influence current (and future) space culture–an item that may not thrill US politicians.
Update (10/2): Inserted missing link.