Mon, 08 Mar 2021

MOSCOW, Russia - Russia has announced that it will sign a memorandum with China to build a lunar space station.

The space station is expected to initially be a robotic base located at the lunar south pole. A more developed station is to include limited stays by crews in the 2030s, and long-term crewed mission beginning in 2036.

Initial plans, announced on February 11, call for Chinese and Russian cooperation in building the base, along with assistance from unnamed countries.

"Roscosmos has completed domestic proceedings to harmonize the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of People's Republic of China on cooperation to create the International Lunar Research Station," the Russian space agency told SpaceNews.

Officials note that the shift by China and Russia to partner in space exploration indicates Russia's moving beyond its support for the International Space Station.

This cooperation also reflects a general shift in alliances since the start of the Ukrainian conflict, noted Bleddyn Bowen, a lecturer in international relations at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

"This MoU fits the larger trend, which is Russia moving into a closer orbit with China," Bowen said, as quoted by SpaceNews, recalling that other agreements between Russia and China have included their working together in material science, data sharing, purchase agreements and lunar exploration.

More Beijing News

Access More

Sign up for Beijing News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!