China’s lunar base makes headway with NASA after Russia deal

China will begin work on the next phase of its lunar program this year to establish a research base on the moon, its space agency announced, a project in collaboration with Russia that will rival NASA’s own efforts to secure an orbital facility erect.

Phase 4 of China’s program will conduct a scientific survey of the moon’s south pole to set up a research base there, state media reported.

Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration, told CGTN they hope to survey the area and build some facilities within a decade.

Launch of a Chinese space shuttle
China’s Manned Space Agency’s Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft aboard the Long March-2F rocket launches with three Chinese astronauts on board at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center June 17, 2021 in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China. China will work with Russia to develop its space program.

“And in about 10 years after the first phase, we aim to build a comparatively diversified science station with the involvement of different countries, organizations, including the participation of the private sector,” Wu said.

After the news broke, Russia confirmed it would be collaborating with China on several projects related to lunar exploration and other explorations.

Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov told Russian state news agency Tass: “The Russian side is ready to work with Chinese friends and will make constant efforts to contribute more to promote joint space exploration projects.”

Russia and China signed a space cooperation program for 2018-2022 in November 2017. They had previously committed to building a lunar base together by 2035.

Tass reported that the deal covers lunar and space exploration, space exploration, and satellites and their uses.

The joint project between Beijing and Moscow will aim to compete with NASA’s Lunar Gateway. According to NASA, the Lunary Gateway will be an outpost that will orbit the moon and provide “support for a long-term human return” to the celestial body’s surface.

Further exploration of space is a stated goal of several nations around the world, with NASA vying to take a leading role.

Earlier this year, NASA announced that Elon Musk’s SpaceX company would have competition to land a commercially operated human spacecraft on the lunar surface as part of the broader Artemis mission.

The goal of the Artemis missions is to land the next group of astronauts on the moon within the next 50 years, before others.

SpaceX was first selected by NASA as a manned lunar landing partner in April 2021. The company’s lander is known as the Starship and is not scheduled to travel to the lunar surface until 2025 at the earliest.

As part of the Artemis mission, the first person of color and the first woman will set foot on the lunar surface.

news week has asked the CNSA for comment. China’s lunar base makes headway with NASA after Russia deal

Rick Schindler

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