Credit: CNSA

Russia’s Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration will develop a list of “topical mutually beneficial projects” that will be included in a new Cooperation Program for 2023-2027. This work will be a continuation of the program of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the field of space for 2018-2022.

“Currently, the most ambitious project of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the field of space is the creation of the International Scientific Lunar Station, which provides for the construction of a complex of experimental research facilities for a wide range of scientific work on the surface and orbit around the Moon by 2035. A feature of this project is the openness for participation of other international partners in it,” stated Roscosmos in a posted statement.

Credit: via Roscosmos

In this regard, work is underway to create an appropriate regulatory framework. In March this year, an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding was signed on cooperation in the creation of an International Scientific Lunar Station.

Agreement topics

A draft of a legally binding Russian-Chinese intergovernmental agreement on this topic is being worked out, the signing of which is scheduled for 2022.

It is assumed that the agreement will include:

  • Flight system between the Earth and the Moon;
  • An auxiliary system for a long period of operation on the lunar surface;
  • A system for moving along the lunar surface and performing operations;
  • Automatic means with scientific equipment complexes;
  • Ground support and application software systems, etc.

Possible areas of cooperation are seen as:

  • Strategy development and coordination related to the exploration and use of the Moon, identification of areas of cooperation and planning, including the development of next steps in relation to the exploration and use of the Moon;
  • Joint substantiation of scientific and engineering tasks within the framework of the creation of an International Scientific Lunar Station ( MNLS);
  • Joint development of legal documents regulating relations;
  • Study of existing standards that can be used to create MLNS;
  • Joint conceptual and preliminary design, modeling and validation of MLNS and its components;
  • Joint scientific and technical research, development and creation of space vehicles, including assembly, integration and testing of MLNS components;
  • Cooperation in the launch of MLNS components, joint operation, management, including support for ground stations and other activities;
  • Exchange of scientific and technical data, joint scientific research and space experiments, which are carried out in accordance with the legislation of the Parties in the field of export control.

Russia’s Luna-26 to be placed in a circumlunar polar orbit for remote sensing of the Moon’s surface.
Credit: NPO Lavochkin






Interdepartmental agreements

Roscosmos and the Chinese National Space Administration have already begun implementing interdepartmental agreements on cooperation/coordination of the Russian mission Luna-Resource-1 (OA) orbital spacecraft and the Chinese mission to explore the polar region of the Moon “Chang’e-7”, as well as on cooperation on the creation of a joint data center for lunar and deep space exploration, signed on September 17, 2019.

Wu Yanhua, deputy administrator with the CNSA, recently stated that a go-ahead has been given to proceed on the fourth phase of China’s lunar missions:  Chang’e-6, 7 and 8.

China plans to launch the Chang’e-7 probe to the lunar south pole first, followed by Chang’e-6 for a sampling and return mission from the lunar south pole.

Chang’e-8 is being cited as the last piece of the fourth phase, tied to constructing a primary form of the International Lunar Research Station.

Artist’s view of China/Russia International Lunar Research Station to be completed by 2035. Credit: CNSA/Roscosmos

Go to this Roscosmos Media video on the International Scientific Lunar Station (MNLS) at:

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