TAIPEI (TheStreet) -- China has asked before that the West let it join the exploration of outer space. It might as well have reported sightings of three-eyed green men riding on saucers.
Now it suddenly has a shot at working with foreign countries and their aerospace contractors.
Last month China made a robotic soft launch to the moon, took a few snaps and left. Technically, that's enough to become the world's third country to reach the symbolic sphere that orbits earth. This month the head of China's space industry, Xu Dazhe, politely asked again via his country's state media about working more deeply with other countries in outer space. He meant the West.
Because of its peaceful and successful space missions since 1999, China may finally get replies to its calls for cooperation, despite lingering worries about aerospace technology theft and use of space to spy.
Translation into business terms: aerospace contracts.
China wants to visit outer space mainly to say it has visited outer space, which is good for rallying nationalism at home, just as other big countries have. It shows no signs of budgetary constraints or domestic disagreement about whether space program is worth it. And China wants to work with other countries to learn from them. Other countries might even learn from China now, making for more of a cooperation among equals more than before. China has shown it can reach the moon without foreign help on a path toward its own space station into orbit within 10 years. (It's barred from the International Space Station.)