China expert Gregory Kulacki comments on the current state of affairs between the U.S. and China as it pertains to cooperation in outer space

This summer, the Battelle Center for Science, Engineering, and Public Policy and the Chinese Society of Astronautics brought together students from around the world to put on the Sino-American Cultural Exchange Workshop on Space Exploration. The Beijing Institute of Technology hosted the workshop, where students heard from both Chinese and U.S. space industry experts and learned about how each country addresses issues such as project management, risk assessment, and team-building.

Dr. Gregory Kulacki, China Project Manager from the Union of Concerned Scientists, was one such expert. He gave a talk on space exploration, geopolitics, and global governance. Dr. Kulacki has spent his career fostering cross-cultural dialogue between China and the U.S. regarding nuclear arms control and space security.

This fall, the Battelle Center hosted Gregory for a few days to come speak to our students interested in working in the space industry, and while he was here we interviewed him on the current state of affairs between China and the United States as it pertains to cooperation in outer space. Check out the interview below.
Welcome to Ohio State! Thank you so much for coming and sharing your expertise with us. Let’s start with a brief introduction to yourself and your work.

Can you summarize the current state of affairs between China and the United States as it pertains to cooperation in outer space?

Given that complex and challenging environment and the ways in which a shift to commercialization is changing the space industry, how do you understand the role of actors in the private sector, in academia, and in NGOs as it pertains to U.S.-China relations and cooperation in outer space?

Shifting topics a little bit, we hear a lot in U.S. media about the Belt and Road Initiative in China. What role do you see that playing in China’s ambitions in space, and how does that affect their other activities throughout the sciences?

What do you make of China’s ambitions in space? How do you understand them?

You’ve spent your career working at the interface of science and policy in China. What advice do you have for organizations seeking to navigate a system that’s so different from our own?

I recall reading in a publication of yours about a Chinese satellite that was suspected of coming into collision with the International Space Station. There was this controversy that maybe shouldn’t have been because of that language issue.

If you had to sum up where we’re at right now, what do you think we need to do moving forward?