Despite all the fear over China offering cheap products and manufacturing, a recent meeting between SpaceX and China Great Wall Industrial Corp. revealed that the American company can launch a payload into orbit cheaper. A shift in US-Chinese space policy in 1999 has all but stopped the trade between the US and China in space products, but an unnamed Chinese official commented that even if the Long March launch vehicle could carry a US satellite, they couldn’t do it cheaper than SpaceX’s quoted prices for the Falcon 9.
Unfortunately, US-Chinese relations have cooled even further with current focus on budget deficits. The latest US 2011 fiscal compromise package forbids NASA and the White House cooperating with China, even public funds being used to host Chinese visitors to any NASA facility.
Source: Aviation Week