Credit: CMSA

Credit: CMSA

The European Space Agency (ESA) has agreed to work with the China Manned Space Agency on human spaceflight activities. ESA is also investigating partnering with Russia on two robotic Moon landing missions.

In a December 11 meeting in Beijing, Wang Zhaoyao, Director of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) and Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director of ESA, signed an agreement to work together in the human spaceflight arena.

According to the CMSA, Dordain said “he is willing to continue to promote China into participating in the multilateral cooperation on the International Space Station.”

ESA will further deepen the bilateral cooperation and exchanges in the field of manned spaceflight based on the cooperation agreement, according to CMSA.

Cooperation areas

Under the ESA/CMSA agreement, three potential cooperation areas are included:

n  implementation of joint scientific experiments and studies in different fields by utilizing in-orbit infrastructures(such as the International Space Station and the Chinese Space Station) and ground facilities, including space life and physical sciences, microgravity research, space biology and medicine, and technology research;

n  astronaut selection, training, medical operations and astronaut flights;

n  space infrastructure cooperation in human exploration of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and beyond.

Next steps

Both parties will jointly organize meetings and workshops; identify research programs, exchange information and data, and conduct concrete cooperation on the exchanges of personnel and facilities.

In addition, a Human Spaceflight Consultation Committee will be established to assess the status of the cooperation, examine proposals for conducting specific cooperative activities and make recommendations for implementation.

Credit: Roscosmos

Credit: Roscosmos

Russia’s lunar agenda

On December 2, member states of ESA approved, and provided the needed funds, for ESA to study robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon.

Being eyed is for ESA to engage with the Russian Federal Space Agency – Roscosmos — on the Luna-Resource Lander (Luna 27) and also a Lunar Sample Return, on tap to travel to the Moon in 2019 and early 2020s, respectively.

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