Russia’s Roscosmos state corporation said it will set up an International Lunar Research Station along with China.
Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), and Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of Roscosmos, signed an MoU pertaining to the creation of the station on Tuesday. The project will be “open to all interested countries and international partners,” the countries’ space agencies said in a statement.
ILRS is described as a comprehensive scientific experiment base built on the lunar surface or on the lunar orbit that can carry out multi-disciplinary and multi-objective scientific research activities including exploration and utilization, lunar-based observation, basic scientific experiment and technical verification, and long-term autonomous operation.
Human presence on the moon will follow the robotic phase of the project. It will be designed to support a variety of research experiments “with the possibility of long-term unmanned operation with the prospect of a human presence on the moon,” a Roscosmos statement said.
In January, Russia withdrew from NASA’s Gateway program, a rival lunar space station to be built by a coalition of other countries in the next decade.