eldavojohn writes "2009 has been an interesting year for NASA — from a new strategy to even closer ties with an old enemy. So it's perhaps no surprise that NASA has publicly stated that they are ready to team up with China. NASA Chief Charles Bolden said, 'I am perfectly willing, if that's the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a partner in any space endeavor. I think they're a very capable nation. They have demonstrated their capability to do something that only two other nations that have done — that is, to put humans in space. And I think that is an achievement you cannot ignore. They are a nation that is trying to really lead. If we could cooperate we would probably be better off than if we would not.' While the budget of the China National Space Administration is a fraction of NASA's, partnering with them has been considered since 2008. In possibly related news, rumors are circulating of the Obama administration cutting NASA's budget by ten percent for fiscal year 2011 despite the success of Monday's Atlantis launch. Considering the Augustine panel's recommendations, such a cut could halt US human space flight for a decade."