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December 26th, 2013
12:14 PM ET

Don't discount China's space prowess

Earlier this week on News Stream, I had the pleasure to talk with former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao.

I was particularly riveted by his comments on China's space program.

China's first moon rover is still exploring the lunar surface, capping off a big year for China's space program.

Many pundits have pointed out that China is now doing what the United States already accomplished some 50 years ago. So how truly impressive are China's space achievements?

"I heard that argument a lot and frankly I think it's short-sighted," Chiao tells me.

"Sure we went back to the moon over 45 years ago, but the fact is we can't do it today."

Chiao goes on to say: "China's tech sophistication is very impressive to me. I've been over to see their space center and their space hardware. What they're lacking is operational experience."

"But they'll get there."

Click on to hear more of Chiao's thoughts on China's space program, and why he's calling for NASA to cooperate with the new space giant.