Roscosmos (Russian space agency) anticipates further discussions with China. Discussions include building on an agreement to explore lunar at a conference in June. The announcement of the agreement made way in February 2021. The February agreement announces the intention between Russia and China in order to develop an International Lunar Research Station. The agreement is in form of a memorandum of understanding. The station may set up at the south pole of the moon. There is no additional information on its facility or structure.
Sergey Krikalev (executive director for human spaceflight at Roscosmos) said, “An agreement is ongoing with China which focuses to explore the moon with the application of an automatic station. The contract details are under progress currently, however, the agreement is in operation.” During a press conference, the above statement explains the upcoming Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The conference in mid-June between China and Russia could lead to additional agreements. Sergey responds to a question with, “Few agreements are a result of plans while the rest are a result of the ongoing discussions. There are plans on some discussions however, the same will make way on the sidelines of the forum.”
Dmitry Rogozin (Head of Roscosmos) is dismissive to participate in NASA’s lunar-led Gateway project. Previous statements by him are a sign of a 2-tracking approach to the lunar explore project:
- The United States along with Canada, Europe, and Japan leading the mission
- On the other hand, China and Russia lead another project
From the above, a new space race is in speculation which is similar to the one in the 1960s race to the moon by the USA and the former Soviet Union. There is a steep competition which is complex. However, Russia is ready to compete and cooperate with the United States. In a press conference, a question for Sergey Krikalev mentions if Russia is going to cooperate with China on the country’s upcoming space station mission.
Sergey Krikalev said, “There is very close cooperation with ESA, NASA, and the Japanese space agency. A series of experiments are conducted with International Space Station and the results from the experiments are interesting. With the development of China’s space station, cooperation with China for the project is under consideration. For us, all options are in front of us which are under evaluation.” China aims to launch the final module of the space station this month.
Krikalev represents Roscosmos, host of the GLEX 2021 conference, primarily intends to brief the screening of the event. A new wave of Covid 19 is hit few parts of the globe including Europe. IAF moves ahead with an in-person event by June 2020. IAF stands for International Astronautical Federation.