Saudi Arabia will contribute to China’s Chang’e-4 mission to the far side of the Moon.
That’s the word from the SpaceWatch Middle East news site.
As part of a recent six week-long tour of Asian countries, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia has struck a deal between his Kingdom and China.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) for Saudi Arabia sets in motion collaboration and participation in the Chinese-led Chang’e-4 Moon mission, scheduled to be launched in 2018.
The Chang’e-4 mission will consist of a Moon lander and rover, and will touch down on the far side the Moon, potentially near the Aitken Basin. That mission will also use a communications relay satellite to be placed at the Earth-Moon L2 position, a Lagrange Points between the Earth and Moon.
Chang’e-4 is also the first Chinese space mission that uses private investments from individuals and organizations in order to accelerate the development and completion of the mission, as well as establishing ties between the Chinese government and the private sector.
SpaceWatch Middle East adds that, “at the time of reporting it is not known whether KACST is one of these private investors in Chang’e-4, or whether Saudi involvement will be technical and scientific in nature.”
The Chang’e-4 agreement between Saudi Arabia and China, SpaceWatch Middle East reports, “also broadens the number of major space powers seeking to cooperate with Middle East countries in space. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Israel, and Turkey are cooperating in one form or another with the space agencies and satellite companies from China, Europe, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.