Space race? Russia to partner with China to build the first lunar base after rejecting US space deal
Russia threw down the gauntlet to the United States after announcing plans to collaborate with China to build the first lunar base. An Order of the Government of Russia detailing the plan was published in February of 2021.
“Roscosmos has completed domestic proceedings to harmonize the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of People’s Republic of China on cooperation to create the International Lunar Research Station,” Roscosmos, Russia’s state corporation for space activities, told SpaceNews.
Russia previously ignored a chance to team up with the U.S. after refusing to sign the Artemis Accords, an international agreement detailing guidelines for those who wish to participate in the Artemis program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s mission to the moon.
The forthcoming deal should fuel a new space race between the two countries as NASA also plans to build a lunar base as part of the Artemis program.
China and Russia’s lunar base plan
China came up with the idea for the International Lunar Research Station. The objective of the project is to create a long-term robotic presence on the moon by the next decade, before eventually establishing a sustained human presence.
China’s Chang’e-6, -7 and -8 missions, as well as Russia’s Luna 27 probe, will make up the first leg of the project. The two partner countries will then expand their operations by the early 2030s by launching long-term robotic and potentially short-crewed missions. The goal for 2036 to 2045 is to establish a long-term human presence.
The pair plans to build humanity’s first sharing platform on the lunar south pole and support scientific exploration, technical experiments and the use of lunar resources.
The official announcement of the project coincided with last year’s Global Space Exploration Conference, according to Roscosmos, which was held in the city of St. Petersburg in Russia.
The project is also open to other nations. The European Space Agency (ESA) is said to be closely monitoring the program in anticipation of joining. At the same time, the agency is committed to America’s space programs after signing a memorandum of understanding with NASA last year.
Russia rejects space deal with US
The deal with China comes after Russia refused to join eight other nations in signing the Artemis Accords during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in October of 2020.
Drafted by the U.S., the accord lays out guidelines for the peaceful exploration of outer space. The participating nations are Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.
The accord was made in preparation for NASA’s Artemis program. This mission will see the creation of a lunar base camp on the moon’s south pole and an outpost called “Gateway,” which would orbit the moon and serve as a docking station for spacecraft.
Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin rejected the accord because of Gateway. The development of the outpost, according to Rogozin, appears to eschew the existing intergovernmental agreement (IGA) established for the International Space Station (ISS). Signed by the U.S., Russia, Canada, Japan and ESA member states, the IGA laid out a cooperative framework for the peaceful use of the ISS.
“The most important thing here would be to base [the Gateway] program on the principles of international cooperation which were used in order to fly the ISS program,” Rogozin said in press conference following an IAC session.
But NASA already vowed to develop Gateway using the ISS agreement alongside the Artemis Accords. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the agency is working with each ISS partner to draw up memorandums of understanding, which will extend the ISS agreement for use on the planned outpost.
“The Gateway uses the intergovernmental agreement established for the International Space Station,” Bridenstine said after the session.
“All of the protocols that exist on the International Space Station would also exist for the Gateway, so I don’t think that that’s a challenge,” he continued.
Learn more about upcoming space missions at Space.news.
(Article by Virgilio Marin republished from Citizens.news)
UFO in the form of a black cube was filmed over Texas
A video of a strange black object that appears to be a cube was filmed this week on Tuesday at an unspecified location in Texas, USA.
According to the unnamed author of the video, he and his wife looked up at the sky as a military plane that looked like an F-111 bomber flew west to east right over their house.
They regarded this incident as very unusual, since military aircraft had previously very rarely appeared in their area.
But they were even more confused when, literally “seconds later” after the bomber’s passage, a dark object appeared in the sky.
At first it seemed to them spherical, but then they considered that it was more like a cube. It is also possible that the object has changed its shape.
In the video, a man can be heard saying, “It’s so weird. A military plane flies by, and then THIS appears, whatever it is,” to which his wife replies, “I have no idea what it is.”
It is indicated that the man sent the video he shot to the UFO site MUFON. The eyewitness also admitted that the strange object could be something mundane, such as a baby balloon, but he thinks that this “air anomaly” emits some kind of glow, which is clearly not related to the properties of balloons.
In his opinion, this “glow” may be associated with the propulsion system of the aircraft.
China has put hundreds of satellites in orbit to target U.S., as Space Force commander reveals Beijing’s horrific plan for America
The head of the U.S. Space Force, Gen. Chance Saltzman, says that China has launched numerous satellites in the past six months and currently possesses 347 orbiting crafts capable of gathering intelligence on American armed forces.
The general warned that China is the “most immediate threat” to U.S. operations in space given its development of technologies such as lasers to disrupt satellite sensors, electronic warfare jammers, and even building crafts that can potentially disrupt rival orbiting platforms.
Saltzman stated that China’s ultimate goal is to become the most dominant space-faring nation by 2045, a part of its plan for a fully modernized, world-class military, the UK’s Daily Mail noted.
“Over the last six months, China conducted 35 launches adding advanced communications and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites to their orbital architecture,” he noted in a written statement to the Senate Armed Service Subcommittee on Strategic Forces earlier this week. “Of China’s over 700 operational satellites in orbit, 347 are People’s Liberation Army ISR platforms providing optical, radar, and radio-frequency capabilities which track the Joint Force worldwide.”
Senior U.S. commanders have issued repeated warnings that China’s advancements in space technology, such as the development of reusable rockets, pose a threat to U.S. dominance in space. Chinese officials have even compared the moon and Mars to the disputed islands in the South China Sea that Beijing is trying to assert its sovereignty over, the report said.
“Both China and Russia continue to develop, field and deploy a range of weapons aimed at U.S. space capabilities,” Saltzman told the Senate panel. “The spectrum of threats to U.S. space capabilities includes cyber warfare activities, electronic attack platforms, directed energy lasers designed to blind or damage satellite sensors, ground-to-orbit missiles to destroy satellites and space-to-space orbital engagement systems that can attack U.S. satellites in space.”
He added that both Russia and China have studied how the U.S. has become reliant on its satellites to conduct warfare.
“Whether it’s our precision navigation and timing, whether it’s satellite communications, the missile warning that we rely on and the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance persistence that we have with space capabilities… they know we rely on that and so if they can blind us, if they can interfere with those capabilities, or God forbid, destroy them completely, they know that that will diminish our advantages and put the joint force at risk,” said the four-star Space Force commander.
“So I can see interfering with, I can see blinding, I can see some of those grey area kinds of attacks on our capabilities to try and put us behind the eight ball,” he noted further.
China’s rapid economic growth in recent years has allowed them to invest heavily in its space program, leading to significant advancements in its space military capabilities. As China races to the final frontier, its space program has become a point of interest for military analysts and governments around the world.
With the launch of Beijing’s first space station and the successful landing of a rover on the far side of the moon, China has demonstrated its ability to compete with other space-faring nations. However, their military activities in space have raised concerns and sparked debates about their intentions and the potential for an arms race in space.
As for the U.S., Saltzman said the Pentagon will be switching from bigger, more vulnerable geostationary satellites to constellations of smaller satellites that will be deployed in low-to-medium earth orbit.
“With regards to grappling satellites and pulling them out of orbit, much tougher to deal with when you have less than maneuverable older legacy satellites,” he told senators. “So again, shifting to a proliferated [low earth orbit] constellation where you don’t have what Gen. Hyten called a ‘big juicy target’ sitting there in a [geostationary orbit] makes that a much tougher proposition for them to execute against.”
By: JD Heyes
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