China sets to expand int'l cooperation in lunar exploration missions

(Xinhua) 08:06, June 28, 2024

BEIJING, June 27 (Xinhua) -- China is set to expand its international collaborations in upcoming lunar exploration endeavors following the successful operation of payloads from the European Space Agency (ESA), France, Italy, and Pakistan in China's Chang'e-6 mission.

The country's Chang'e-7 lunar exploration mission will carry six international scientific instruments, and Chang'e-8 will offer 200 kilograms of international payload capacity and has garnered over 30 applications, said Liu Yunfeng, deputy director of the China National Space Administration's (CNSA) international cooperation department.

The Chang'e-7 mission, scheduled for launch around 2026, is poised to survey the lunar south pole region. The Chang'e-8 probe will be launched around 2028 to carry out experiments on lunar resource utilization and, along with Chang'e-7, constitute the basic model of an international lunar research station by 2035.

The CNSA has signed cooperation documents with more than ten countries and international organizations on the International Lunar Research Station project, said Liu at a press conference on Thursday.

In the Chang'e-6 mission, China has fulfilled its commitment to allocate 10 kilograms of payload capacity on the lander and another 10 kilograms on the orbiter for international cooperation, said Hu Hao, chief designer of the Chang'e-6 mission, at the conference.

According to Liu, the international collaborative tasks in the mission have been going well. The French payload DORN worked for 32 hours, and ESA payload NILS worked for 3 hours and 50 minutes on the moon's surface.

Liu also said that the Italian laser retroreflector installed on top of the lander operated normally.

China delivered data provided by a CubeSat aboard its Chang'e-6 spacecraft to Pakistan on May 10. The cube satellite, ICUBE-Q, was developed by Pakistan's Institute of Space Technology and China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

"Despite differences in language, work culture, and developmental protocols, we have worked hand in hand to conduct an extensive array of tests over the past year and more and completed the task successfully," said Hu.

"The invaluable experience can enrich our expertise and prepare us to tackle even more sophisticated tasks in the future," Hu added.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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