China and Russia shake hands in outer space

08:26, December 25, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Cooperation needed for success of mission to put vehicle on moon

Mutual trust is crucial to the success of five upcoming joint space programs between China and Russia, experts said.

First on the list is a study of the moon, Alexander Rodin, chief representative in China for the Russian Federal Space Agency, said yesterday in Beijing.

"Currently the space administrations and relevant enterprises of the two countries are discussing ways to install scientific facilities onto each other's spacecraft," said Rodin.

The projects fall under the 2010-2012 China-Russia Space Cooperation Outline.

Once the Chang'e 1 spacecraft finishes its mission in the moon's orbit, China is preparing to conduct the second phase of its lunar exploration program, which is to land a vehicle on the moon.

Russia also has similar plans to send a vehicle to the moon, according to Rodin.

With China's rapid development in space technology in the last 10 to 15 years, Russia has taken on China as a partner rather than a competitor, according to Rodin.

"Actually, there is no field where we need to compete with each other in space," Rodin said.

Despite Rodin's friendly gesture, at least one analyst is disgruntled with Russia's actions.

"China has been cheated by Russia," said Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military expert, referring to the postponement of a joint mission to Mars.

According to an agreement signed between the two countries in 2007, Russia was to launch a rocket carrying China's Mars probe YH-1 into orbit in October 2009.

However, the launch was postponed by Russia for two years as it said it needed to further perfect the functions of its carrier rocket, Rodin explained.

Russia indeed lacks money, according to Guo Xiaobing, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, but it has technology and skills.

"China needs to consider every important aspect of the cooperation for a win-win situation," said Guo.

Other plans for cooperation include a communication system for members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a remote monitoring system of the Earth and a positioning system that shares signals between the two countries.

Confidentiality can be a concern in such cooperative space programs, according to Gong Jinyu, deputy secretary-general of Chinese Society of Astronautics.

"However, we should not stop cooperation because of the risk of leaking information," said Gong. "If we want to develop our power in space, we need to cooperate with other countries."

Guo agreed with this and noted that mutual trust is the answer to solving such problems.

An agreement on informing each other of ballistic missile and carrier rocket launches was signed during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to China this October, which "is a good example of the increase of strategic mutual trust between the two countries," Guo said.

Two social communities, the Chinese Society of Astronautics and Russia's K. E. Tsiolkovsky Astronautics Institution, signed an agreement this December aiming to promote space exchanges at the academic level.

"The cooperation between such organizations is very important to the development of China and Russia's space cause," said Rodin, who promoted the cooperation and attended the signing ceremony on Dec 12.

"This kind of exchange is crucial for enhancing mutual trust and understanding between the two countries," said Gong.

Source: China Daily
  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
  • Top 10 International Stories 2009
  • Top 10 Political Figures in spotlight 2009
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • President of Chinese mainland's ARATS visits Nantou County in China's Taiwan
  • Strong Wind and Dust hit North China
  • Kobe, LeBron lead NBA All-Star voting
  • Scouts parade to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem
  • Merry Christmas, Santa Claus is in town!
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion