China and Thailand Will Collaborate on International Lunar Research Station

On April 5th, the China National Space Administration and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of Thailand jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding on exploring and peacefully using outer space cooperation, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on international lunar research station cooperation.

The official statement indicates that China and Thailand will establish a joint committee and working group to strengthen cooperation in areas such as space exploration, space applications, and space capacity building. This will be achieved through planning and implementing joint space projects, scientific exchange programs, personnel training plans, data information exchange, organizing thematic workshops and scientific seminars.

Both sides will focus on the demonstration, engineering implementation, operation and application of the international lunar research station. They will organize expert teams to conduct research from three aspects: science, engineering, and international cooperation to form a cooperation plan. At the same time, other countries, international organizations, research institutes, universities, industrial entities and scientists are welcome to join the International Lunar Research Station program and benefit from joint free exploration activities.

It is worth mentioning that China and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding on space cooperation in 2018 to jointly build projects such as the Lancang-Mekong Space Information Exchange Cooperation Center project and the construction of the Lancang-Mekong Remote Sensing Data Center. Last year, Thailand’s space weather monitoring instrument was selected for payload onboard Chang’e-7 mission. In the future, China and Thailand will cooperate in conducting lunar exploration missions.

The International Lunar Research Station is led by China and has signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the construction of the International Lunar Research Station with Russia in 2021. Subsequently, countries and institutions such as the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Belarus have joined. China has currently signed cooperation agreements with more than 10 countries and international organizations.

Guan Feng, director of the lunar exploration and space engineering center of the National Space Administration, introduced that China is currently implementing the fourth phase mission of lunar exploration project with the main goal to build a basic type of International Lunar Research Station. The fourth phase mission includes four missions: Chang’e-4, Chang’e-6 , Chang’e-7 and Chang’e-8. Among them, Chang’e-4 achieved the world’s first soft landing on the far side of the moon for reconnaissance in 2019; On March 20 this year we successfully launched Queqiao II relay satellite to set up a new “bridge” between Earth and Moon to provide communication support for Phase IV lunar exploration projects as well as future domestic and foreign lunar exploration tasks. In the first half of this year will also implement Chang’e-6 task to sample return from moon’s far side; The planned launch time for Chang’e-7 is around 2026 mainly aimed at searching for water ice at Moon’s south pole; The planned launch time for Change’8 is around 2028 which aims to construct a basic type research station on Moon together with various tasks under Phase IV lunar exploration project including conducting experiments on verification system related to moon resources etc.. Follow-up tasks related to International Lunar Research Station are still being further evaluated.

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