Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin and Director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) Zhang Keijan signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on behalf of their governments on cooperation in creating an international lunar research station, Roscosmos and CNSA announced on Tuesday.
“The state corporation Roscosmos and CNSA … will contribute to cooperation in creating an international lunar research station with an open access for all interested countries and international partners, with the aim of strengthening scientific research interaction, promoting research and using outer space for peaceful purposes in the interests of the entire humankind,” the Russian space agency said in a statement.
The signing ceremony was held via a video conference.
“China and Russia use joint experience and scientific technologies to create a roadmap for building an international research station on the Moon,” CNSA said in a statement posted on the WeChat social media.
As follows from the statement, the countries’ cooperation in this sphere stipulates the study of the lunar surface and the implementation of joint projects in the orbit of the Earth’s natural satellite.
In November 2017, Roscosmos and CNSA signed a space cooperation program for 2018-2022. It comprises six sections: the study of the Moon and deep space, space science and related technologies, satellites and their use, the components base and materials, cooperation in the data of Earth’s remote sensing and other issues. Working sub-groups were set up to implement projects under this program.
In July 2020, Roscosmos Chief Rogozin announced that he had discussed cooperation in outer space with his Chinese partners, including the lunar research base. He mentioned an agreement reached between the parties to start taking steps towards each other on defining the contours and the significance of the lunar research base.
The Roscosmos chief said at a roundtable discussion in the Federation Council in December 2020 that in June the Chinese side had proposed involving Europe in cooperation in the Moon’s exploration. Roscosmos Deputy Head for International Cooperation Sergei Savelyev told TASS in early February that the Russian space agency was in talks with Chinese partners to discuss possible scientific tasks for the lunar base and was working on the project’s technical implementation.