RUSSIA is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with China to collaborate on an international lunar base, seeing the U.S snubbed again.
The countries are set to join forces to create China’s brain child, the International Lunar Research Stations (ILRS), the latest build in the space-race-saga that brings another blow to America’s aspirations.
The purpose of the ILRS is to create a long-term robotic presence on the Moon by the start of the next decade, before eventually establishing a sustained human presence.
An Order of the Government of the Russian Federation detailing the scheme was published on February 11, but the “date to sign the above mentioned MoU has not been determined yet and is currently discussed with the Chinese partners.”
The moon has not been visited by humans since December 1972, when Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan made tracks on it during an Apollo 17 mission.
Both countries will kick off the research, beginning with China’s upcoming Chang’e-6, -7, and -8 missions and Russia’s Luna 27 probe.
They plan to use the lunar 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.”
In the early 2030s, the ILRS development will theoretically provide a base for long-term robotic presence on the Moon with the potential for short crewed missions.
Plans for structuring a long-term human presence are set to anticipated to take shape between 2036-2045.
The robotic base situated at the lunar south pole will incorporate the expertise of China, Russia, and potentially other nations, who will contribute their own spacecrafts.
Russia’s state corporation for space activities, Roscosmos, said the official announcement set to coincide with the Global Space Exploration Conference in 2021, held in St. Petersburg.
“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 press office told SpaceNews.
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Source: the Sun