Russia, China plan moon exploration

September 11, 2006
Photo courtesy of NASA.

(AP) -- Russia will cooperate closely with China on moon exploration, and the two nations could sign space cooperation agreements by the year's end, the Russian space chief said Monday.

Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov said that Chinese experts had shown a strong interest in Russia's lunar experience.

"Russia is ready for close cooperation with China in the field," Perminov said in remarks posted on his agency's Web site. "This is a serious and quite promising field of cooperation. In the past the Russian-Chinese cooperation have been mostly limited to the sales of Russian equipment, but now we are considering the development and implementation of joint projects."

The Soviet Union sent numerous unmanned missions that explored the moon, including two rovers that studied the moon's surface in 1970-73. However, it lost the moon race to the United States, abandoning its manned lunar program after a series of booster rocket explosions.

Perminov said that the two nations had formalized their plans for the moon research in a specific action plan approved in June 2005 and followed up on that with several expert meetings. The latest meeting of Russian and Chinese space officials took place last week.

"Joint lunar research is our priority," Anatoly Perminov said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. He didn't elaborate on specific plans for the moon research, but said that new agreements on space cooperation could be signed during Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's visit to Beijing in the fall.

Perminov also said that China could join Russia's project of sending a probe to Mars' moon, Phobos, to take soil samples and deliver them back to Earth. The mission is set for 2009.

Russia sold China the technology that formed the basis of its manned space program, which launched its first astronaut in 2003 and two others in 2005. The next Chinese manned space flight is due next year. Officials say they also want to send up a space station and land a robot probe on the Moon by 2010.

As part of a U.S. effort to return to the moon, NASA plans the first test flight of its Orion spacecraft in 2014, with a manned mission by late 2019 or 2020.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: China launches new type of carrier rocket: state media

Related Stories

China launches new type of carrier rocket: state media

September 19, 2015

China on Sunday launched a new, smaller type of rocket from its "Long March" family which will be primarily used for carrying satellites aloft, state media reported, as the country races ahead with an ambitious space programme.

The Planet Saturn

August 3, 2015

The farthest planet from the Sun that be observed with the naked eye, the existence of Saturn has been known for thousands of years. And much like all celestial bodies that can be observed with the aid of instruments – ...

Recommended for you

What are white holes?

October 9, 2015

Black holes are created when stars die catastrophically in a supernova. So what in the universe is a white hole?

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.