The governments of Russia and China signed an agreement on Wednesday (17) for cooperation for research bases on the Moon. According to SpaceNews, the memorandum signed by the two countries suggests that Russia will sign a contract to help China with the missions. International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).
The staff of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said that the official signature has not yet been set, but that it should coincide with one of the next international space events, the Global Space Exploration Conference, which will take place in June in St. Petersburg. Russia also reported that the ISS was becoming unusable in recent years and said it would lend all of its space travel experience to the project.
ILRS ‘plans are ambitious. China intends to establish a long-term robotic presence on the satellite in 2030 and a long-term mission with humans also between the years 2036 and 2045.
The partnership between the two agencies is not a surprise, as Russia has decided to stay out of the Artemis Agreements, a set of principles between countries that wish to participate in the NASA-led Artemis exploration program. The Russian movement together with China can have a major impact on the geopolitical landscape of space research.
NASA’s role as a global leader in space exploration has increasingly diminished. In addition to China’s partnership with Russia, the European Space Agency is also eyeing ILRS to see if it wants to join the program, reports SpaceNews. The decision would significantly decrease the participation of the American agency.