- China and Russia to build a lunar space station
China and Russia agreed to jointly build a lunar space station that will be “open to all countries,” the China National Space Administration said in a statement on Tuesday.
The leaders of the respective space agencies of the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of their national governments.
“China and Russia will use their accumulated experience in space science, research and development, as well as in the use of space equipment and space technology to jointly develop a roadmap for the construction of an international lunar scientific research station (ILRS)”, assured the space agency of China.
A statement from the Russian space agency Roscosmos said the two organizations plan to “promote cooperation in creating an open access ILRS for all interested countries and international partners, with the aim of strengthening research cooperation and promoting exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes in the interest of all mankind. ‘
The lunar space station will be “a complex of facilities for experiments and research” created on the surface and / or in orbit of the Moon, according to the Roscosmos statement. The facilities will be designed for a variety of multidisciplinary investigations, including “test technologies with the possibility of long-term unmanned operations with the prospect of human presence on the Moon.”
China and Russia will work on a roadmap on how to design, develop and operate the station, and plan “its presentation to the global space community,” Roscosmos said.
The two countries also signed agreements to jointly create a data center for moon and deep space exploration. They plan to cooperate in the future on China’s Chang’e-7 and Russia’s Luna 27 missions, which aim to study the lunar south pole.
Russia was a founding partner of the International Space Station (ISS) along with the United States and other contributing nations and space agencies. The orbiting science lab celebrated its 20th anniversary of continuous human occupation in November of last year. To date, the ISS remains humanity’s only permanently inhabited and operational space station. However, unlike Russia, China does not participate in ISS initiatives, due in part to US federal law that prohibits cooperation with Beijing on space projects.
Russia traces its space program back to the Soviet Union, which in 1957 became the first country to launch a satellite, Sputnik 1, out of Earth’s gravitational control.
In the midst of a Cold War space race with the United States, the Soviets in 1960 sent the first living creatures into orbit and vice versa, including the space dogs, Belka and Strelka. Then, in 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin defeated the Americans in the human conquest of space.
Incredible images of Mars sent by Chinese missionHowever, in recent years, Russia has struggled to replicate the initial success of its space program, experiencing a series of setbacks including launch failures amid a backdrop of funding cuts and alleged corruption.
China was late to the space race: It didn’t send its first satellite into orbit until 1970, by which time the United States had already put an astronaut on the Moon, but it has quickly caught up.
Driven by billions of dollars in government investment, China accelerated its space program over the past decade, putting space labs and satellites into orbit.
In 2019, China became the first country to send an unmanned rover to the other side of the Moon. In July 2020, China launched its first unmanned mission to Mars: the Tianwen-1 probe, which entered the orbit of the red planet in February this year. The next step will be the landing of a rover on the surface, which is expected to arrive in May or June.
And in December 2020, China’s Chang’e unmanned mission brought lunar samples to Earth, making it the third country to successfully collect rocks from the natural satellite.
There are also plans to send astronauts to the Moon in the 2030s. If successful, China would become the second country after the United States to land a citizen on the Moon.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.