Dongfan “Greg” Chung, who once worked for Boeing as an engineer, was arrested today by the U.S. Justice Department. Chung allegedly passed to China trade secrets regarding the space shuttle.

Chung is 72 and a naturalized U.S. citizen. The charges include economic espionage involving sensitive trade secrets regarding the shuttle, the C-17 military transport and the Delta IV rocket. Chung is accused of taking the materials for the benefit of the People’s Republic of China, according to the Justice department.

The Chinese Shenzhou carried a Chinese astronaut into orbit on October 15, 2003. China has plans to launch an eight-ton space laboratory into orbit in 2010 and an additional lab into orbit in 2012. A space station and moon mission is planned by 2024. 

China in 2000 revealed a delta winged spaceplane with engines under development. Much smaller than the U.S. space shuttle, it would carry a crew of two. 

Justice department news release 08-106 can be found here regarding this action.