CHINA And Russia To Sign A Deal To Build First Moonbase in a huge snub to America
China and Russia are reported to be about to sign an historic deal that will see them build the International Lunar Research Stations (ILRS), a moonbase, that theoretically by the early 2030s should be able to provide a base for a long-term robotic presence on the Moon, with the possibility of short-crewed missions.
An Order of the Government of the Russian Federation was published on February 11, with the details of the proposed scheme, but the “date to sign the above mentioned MoU has not been determined yet and is currently discussed with the Chinese partners”.
This first moonbase will allegedly be located at the lunar South Pole, utilising the expertise of the Russians and Chinese, and has the potential for other nations to get involved, who would contribute their own spacecraft, with both nations having upcoming exploratory missions, Russia’s Luna 27 probe, and China’s Chang’e-6, -7, and -8 missions are due soon.
The objective is to construct the base to aid the “construction and operation of human’s first sharing platform in the lunar south pole, supporting long-term, large-scale scientific exploration, technical experiments and development and utilisation of lunar resources”.
Roscosmos, Russia’s state corporation for space activities, said the official announcement was set to coincide with the Global Space Exploration Conference in 2021, which is being held in St. Petersburg.
Their press office told SpaceNews, “Roscosmos has completed domestic proceedings to harmonize the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation to create the International Lunar Research Station”.
Speaking to the Global Times, a former researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology, Pand Zhihao, commented that. “Russia’s expertise, including liquid oxygen kerosene engine technology as well as a complete, world-beating system for astronaut training, will all no doubt accelerate the program’s advancement”.
If rumours of The European Space Agency’s interest in joining the project are true then that would be another segregation blow for the United States, with NASA and Rocosmos both vying for the top spot as the international leader of space programmes.
NASA spearheaded the Artemis Accords scheme, which proposed a global legal framework for mining on the moon, which the Russians had compared to ‘colonialism’, leading Sergey Saveliev, the deputy general director for Roscosmos to remark, “There have already been examples in history when one country decided to start seizing territories in its interest, everyone remembers what came of it”.
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