China-Russia Sign MoU To Set Up a Lunar Research Station
March 9, 2021 (EIRNS) — Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin and Director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) Zhang Keijan this week signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on behalf of their governments on cooperation in creating an international lunar research station, Roscosmos and CNSA announced today, TASS reported.
The International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) is described as a comprehensive scientific experiment base, built on the lunar surface or in the lunar orbit, that can carry out multi-disciplinary and multi-objective scientific research activities including exploration and utilization, lunar-based observation, basic scientific experiment and technical verification, and long-term autonomous operation, Space News reported today.
China and Russia have previously signed agreements for cooperation on China’s multi-spacecraft Chang’e-7 and Russia’s Luna 27 missions and a joint data center for lunar and deep space exploration. Chang’e-7 is scheduled for around 2023-24, and Russia’s Luna 27 mission, to be preceded by Luna 25 and Luna 26 missions, is scheduled for this decade.
According to a statement by the China National Space Administration, the two sides will uphold the principle of joining consultation, construction, and sharing, to push forward cooperation concerning the building of the international research station on the Moon, the statement read. The project will also “ be open to nations that are interested in the project as well as partners of the international community.”
The international lunar scientific and research station will be a comprehensive base for long-term, autonomous experiments, providing a platform that is tasked to enable exploration and use of the Moon, and a slew of basic scientific experiments and technology verification projects either on the lunar surface or in the lunar orbit, according to the CNSA. Previously, China and Russia have signed agreements on cooperation on two planned missions, the “Chang’e-7” mission to investigate the lunar pole and a “Moon Resources-1” mission.
According to Space News, the early stage of the ILRS would consist of a number of discrete spacecraft, in contrast to a more complex, integrated program such as the International Space Station. Reportedly, China will soon begin construction of a Chinese Space Station. This will be an important ingredient in China’s planned deep space human spaceflight. In May 2020, China tested a new generation spacecraft and is reportedly developing two separate super-heavy-lift launchers for space infrastructure and crewed missions.