Russia and China are joining forces to build a base on the MOON to rival NASA’s Lunar Gateway
- The two powers signed a memorandum officially launching the project today
- The program will be open to cooperation from other nations, Roscosmos said
- A timeline for the project and the exact nature of the base have not been set
- Russia withdrew from the Gateway Project in January, calling it too ‘US-centric’
Russia and China are joining forces to establish a research base on the moon that will rival NASA’s Lunar Gateway, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency has announced.
Authorities from Moscow and Beijing have today signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the project, which will be open to other countries to join.
In the meantime, Russia and China will be drawing up a roadmap and timeline for the project before moving to design and ultimately realise the station.
Russia and China are joining forces to establish a research base on the moon that will rival NASA’s Lunar Gateway, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency has announced
‘An international lunar science station is a complex of experimental and research facilities created on the surface and/or in orbit of the moon,’ the memorandum read.
The base, it continued, would be ‘designed to conduct multidisciplinary and multipurpose research work.’
The memorandum was signed during a meeting held over video conference by Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin and Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration.
Russia and China have announced their intention to promote international cooperation on the project — offering equal access to any other country that wishes to take part.
Both nations have sought to deepen their relations in recent years — especially following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from the Ukraine in 2014, which strained the Russian Federation’s diplomatic ties with the West.
The news of the plan for the lunar research station comes on the same day that China has reaffirmed its mutual commitment to working with France in the field of space exploration.
The memorandum was signed during a meeting held over video conference by Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin (left) and China National Space Administration head Zhang Kejian (right)
Russia previously expressed interest in collaborating on NASA’s Lunar Gateway program to build a space station in the moon’s orbit as a communications hub, laboratory and stepping stone to the lunar surface and deep space.
To that end, an informal joint statement was signed by both Roscosmos and NASA on September 27, 2017. However, Roscosmos formally announced this January that it would ultimately not be participating in the program.
Late last year, Mr Rogozin had teased this outcome — calling the program too ‘US-centric’ for Roscosmos to participate in.
THE LUNAR GATEWAY
NASA is working on a project to build the first lunar space station, codenamed the Lunar Gateway, as part of a long-term project to send humans to Mars.
The crew-tended spaceport will orbit the moon and serve as a ‘gateway to deep space and the lunar surface,’ NASA has said.
The first modules of the station could be completed as soon as 2024.
An international base for lunar exploration for humans and robots and a stopover for spacecraft is a leading contender to succeed the $100 billion International Space Station (ISS), the world’s largest space project to date.
Pictured: a diagram of the proposed Lunar Gateway space station
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