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16 May, 2024 07:38

Space chief outlines Russia-China ‘expansion’ plans

Moscow and Beijing may launch a joint lunar base after 2036, Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov says
Space chief outlines Russia-China ‘expansion’ plans

Moscow expects to ramp up the exploration of the Moon together with China including a permanent base sometime after 2036, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos Yury Borisov has said.

He discussed plans for a joint lunar mission in Beijing, while visiting alongside other senior Russian officials accompanying President Vladimir Putin on his state visit to China.

The projected deadline depends on a key component for a persistent presence on the Earth satellite – energy. Russia is developing a small-sized nuclear reactor that can work in low gravity, which Borosiv expects to be ready for deployment in a decade.

“Let’s finish it first, test it on Earth,” he told journalists. “The plan is for lunar expansion to commence after around 2036.”

The reactor is required to provide a stable power source for the future outpost. Moon rovers normally use solar panels to generate electricity and are forced to enter hibernation mode during the lengthy lunar nights, which last about two weeks.

In previous interviews, Borosov said the plan is to use robots to assemble the reactor on the Moon. He stated that Russia already has almost all the technology required for the project.

Putin’s visit to China is his first foreign trip after he was inaugurated for his fifth term as the president of Russia earlier this month. Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a similar visit to Moscow in March 2023 following his own election victory.