China has vast ambitions but needs Russians to turn them into reality
China and Russia are discussing joint cooperation in outer-space exploration, including missions to the Moon and even Mars , according to a statement by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on Wednesday.
“Yesterday, we (Rogozin and Vice-Premier of China’s State Council Wang Yang) worked for three and a half hours, discussing cooperation in the nuclear sphere and cooperation in the issues of interaction between our space agencies where there are such large projects as the deliveries of rocket engines, and cooperation in navigation systems,” the Russian vice-premier said.
He made his remarks during a talk with the heads of Russian regions and Chinese provinces and the managers of companies from both countries. The expo is an annual industrial exhibition held since 2014 within the framework of the Harbin Trade Fair.
“We’re developing an understanding for the rocket and space industry for possible interaction in such profound and technologically complex projects as the future exploration of the Moon, Mars and piloted cosmonautics,” he said.
Rogozin added that both countries have the potential to implement such impressive projects as trust exists both at the political level and at the level of specialists solving these issues.
Rogozin’s statement’s come less than a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing. During that meeting the two sides inked a pact setting out the legal framework for protecting their rights to sensitive space technologies in joint projects like launch vehicles and rocket engines.
China’s lunar program needs Russia
Rogozin said on July 6 that China might buy rocket engines for its space program from Russia, adding that China was interested “in a number of services and products, which will be very important for the development of the Chinese space program, in particular, for its lunar program.” He said that China’s lunar program is practically impossible without “certain supplies of equipment from Russia.”
Russia’s Ambassador to China, Andrey Denisov, said the two sides have been discussing the prospects of cooperation with space stations and making long-distance space flights. He added that “this cooperation is of purely peaceful, civilian nature and will finally benefit the entire humankind rather than only the participating states.”
China, for its part, has already ramped-up its pace program, conducting 19 successful space flights last year, with 20 planned for 2016. It also plans to launch to launch its Tiangong 2 space laboratory and a manned spacecraft Shenzhou 11, among other military and commercial orbital missions.
Earlier this month, according to state-run Xinhua news agency, China shipped the Tiangong 2 to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, where it will be launched into space in mid-September. The module was transported by rail from Beijing.
The Tiangong 1 was launched in 2011 and hosted two crews of taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) in 2012 and 2013. China releases less information about its space activities than other nations, while plans for Tiangong 1 remain unclear.