Russia and China signed an intergovernmental Memorandum of Cooperation within the framework of the joint creation of the International Lunar Science Station (ILRS). Representatives of Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) signed the document on behalf of the governments.
According to SpaceNews, in accordance with the Memorandum, Russia and China will jointly deploy the station by 2030 in the region of the lunar South Pole, which means a turn from Russia’s partnership with other participants in the ISS program in an “eastward direction.” As a result, this can significantly affect the overall alignment in the field of space exploration.
The ILRS goal is a long-term human presence on the moon for the next decade in the 2030s. Roscosmos has already reported that the ISS’s operational life is coming to an end, and Russia is ready to share its own experience of space expeditions in the interests of the Russian-Chinese project.
According to the University of Leicester expert Bleddin Bowen, the memorandum reflects a broader trend in the convergence of the “orbits” of Russia and China.