Russian space agency chief to approach China for lunar missions next month: Reports
Just days after Europe suspended cooperation with Russia on all lunar missions, Moscow has now turned to China in search of a partner. According to the Russian press house CASS, the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, will present the lunar proposal to China before the end of May this year. “Before the end of May, I plan to hold an in-depth dialogue with our Chinese colleagues on our cooperation in this direction,” he said. CASS.
Notably, this potential partnership will be in line with Roscosmos’ agreement with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) which was concluded between the two agencies in 2017. This agreement was for a space cooperation program planned from 2018 to 2022. , the two agencies had agreed on topics such as the study of the Moon and deep space, space research and related technologies, satellites and their use, the base and component materials, the interaction on terrestrial remote sensing data and other issues.
Apart from the 2017 deal, Rogozin had also signed a memorandum of understanding with CNSA chief Zhang Kejian to build an international lunar station around the Moon. The recent development follows Rogozin’s declaration to side with China if Western countries refuse to lift sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine.
Europe suspends lunar programs with Russia
Earlier this month, the European Space Agency (ESA) suspended three lunar missions – Luna 25, 26 and 27 – it had planned with Russia. In an official statement, the agency said it was “redirecting” its space programs due to Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The first lunar mission, a joint mission by Russia and Europe, was to be launched in July 2022 using a Russian rocket. As this is no longer viable, ESA said it has secured a second launch opportunity aboard a commercial NASA-led Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission.
In the aftermath of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, ESA has already suspended the Mars mission which was also originally scheduled to launch in September this year. As other countries cut ties with Russia, President Vladimir Putin has turned to friendly countries like Belarus. He had said in the past that Roscosmos would perform manned spaceflight and send Belarusian astronauts into space.