Russia and China are racing to beat NASA back to the Moon - VIDEO | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

28 September, Tuesday

Russia and China are racing to beat NASA back to the Moon - VIDEO

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One thing they all have in common is that this time around, the goal is to build the necessary infrastructure that will allow for a long-term human presence.
 
However, amid all the excitement of this approaching moment in history are concerns about the lack of an international framework that will ensure our efforts are for the sake of “for all humankind.”
 
Whereas NASA is seeking partners for its Artemis Program through bilateral agreements, Russia and China are pursuing an agreement of their own. They call it the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), and they too are looking for partners in this endeavor.
 
The detailed plan for the ILRS was made public with the release of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) Guide for Partnership, a document prepared by the China National Space Agency (CNSA) on June 16.
 
As the first volume in what is clearly an evolving mission architecture, the Guide lays out the purpose and intent of the Sino-Russian agreement and establishes a roadmap and a timeline for the ILRS’ development.
 
According to the Guide, the ILRS represents a merger of Russia and China’s plans for lunar exploration, something that has been in the works for many years.
 
In 2019, the two countries signed bilateral agreements to establish a common data center for lunar and deep-space exploration.
They also agreed to cooperate with their respective Chang’e 7 and Luna 26, both of which will explore the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken Basin in 2024.
As is stated in the Preface to the Guide:
 
“Considering the fruitful experience from the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation in the areas of space technology, space science and space application, China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the State Space Corporation “Roscosmos” (ROSCOSMOS) jointly initiated the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) based on their [respective] existing lunar exploration plan.
“The most efficient and productive investigation, exploration and use of the Moon can be achieved only in a broad international partnership with an attraction of other countries, international organizations and international partners. CNSA and Roscosmos jointly invite all interesting international partners to cooperate and contribute more for the peaceful exploration and use of Moon in the interests of all humankind, adhering to the principles of equality, openness and integrity.”
In this respect, the Guide constitutes the official reply of China and Russia to the Artemis Accords, the series of bilateral agreements designed to establish common principles for lunar exploration.
 
The Accords are grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the historic charter that established that “the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind.”
 
To date, twelve countries have signed the Accords:
 
1. the United States
2. the United Kingdom
3. Canada
4. Australia
5. New Zealand
6. Italy
7. Japan
8. Luxembourg
9. South Korea
10. Ukraine
11. the United Arab Emirates
12. Brazil
 
However, when the Accords were first announced in May of 2020, Roscosmos director-general Dmitry Rogozin stated they were “US-centric” and strayed too far from the framework for the ISS. As such, Russia would not participate.
 
The following October, during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Rogozin went on to say:
 
“The most important thing here would be to base this program on the principles of international cooperation that we’ve all used. If we could get back to considering making these principles as the foundation of the program, then Roscosmos could also consider its participation.”
On March 3rd, 2021, Russian and China made it clear they intended to follow when they announced that they would be partnering to create an ILRS, which they described as “a comprehensive scientific experiment base with the capability of long-term autonomous operation, built on the lunar surface and/or on the lunar orbit.” With the release of the Guide, Russia and China have made the details of their plan public for the first time.
 
Similar to the Artemis Program, the ILRS calls for the creation of multiple facilities to enable long-term missions to the lunar surface. For Artemis, one of the most vital components is the Lunar Gateway, an orbital habitat that will provide a dock for the Orion spacecraft.
 
The next is the Human Landing System (HLS), a reusable lunar lander that will carry astronauts to and from the surface. Last, there is the Artemis Base Camp that will support the long-term exploration of the surface.

 

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