China offers to collaborate on lunar mission as deadlines loom

China offers to collaborate on lunar mission as deadlines loom

China has announced that it is opening up its key lunar mission to international cooperation. The country aims to become a major space power by 2030 and is seeking partnerships for its uncrewed Chang’e-8 mission. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) made the announcement at the 74th International Astronautical Congress in Baku, Azerbaijan. China welcomes countries and international organizations to participate in “mission-level” projects, which would involve launching and operating spacecraft, conducting spacecraft-to-spacecraft interactions, and jointly exploring the moon’s surface. Interested parties must submit a letter of intent to CNSA by December 31, with final selection of proposals taking place in September 2024.

The Chang’e-8 mission is part of China’s plan to establish a permanent habitat on the south pole of the moon. It will follow the Chang’e-7 mission in 2026, which aims to search for lunar resources in the same region. These two missions will lay the groundwork for the construction of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) led by Beijing in the 2030s. China has already deployed an uncrewed probe to the moon on the Chang’e-5 mission in 2020 and plans to send the Chang’e-6 probe to the far side of the moon in the first half of 2024 to retrieve soil samples. The ultimate goal is to land astronauts on the moon by 2030.

China’s timeline for building an outpost on the moon’s south pole aligns with NASA’s Artemis program. NASA aims to put U.S. astronauts back on the lunar surface in December 2025, with plans for crewed missions in 2027 and 2029 as well. However, NASA is prohibited by U.S. law from collaborating with China. As of now, 29 countries, including India and Germany, have signed the Artemis Accords, a pact aimed at establishing norms of behavior in space and on the lunar surface. China and Russia are not signatories of the agreement.

For its lunar station program, China has secured participation from Russia and Venezuela. The country is actively seeking international partnerships to achieve its space ambitions and is inviting countries and organizations to join its Chang’e-8 mission. This move demonstrates China’s commitment to international cooperation in space exploration and its desire to become a major player in the field.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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