Maybe all is finally forgiven in the ongoing battle to constantly turn the narrative back to the Russian election meddling, as the former Soviet Union and the United States attempt to work together to build a manned space station which orbits the moon.
Part of this long-term project to send humans to Mars, the NASA-led program will see the two countries working together to create a crewed spaceport in lunar orbit. The proposed crew-tended spaceport will orbit the moon and serve as a “gateway to deep space and the lunar surface.”
Russian and the US have agreed to put their heads together to make the new mission possible. The US space agency said earlier this year that it was exploring a program called the Deep Space Gateway, a multi-stage project to push further into the solar system.
While George W. Bush wanted to see humans on the moon again by 2020, Barack Obama scrapped that plan and focused his intention on plans to visit Mars, including a mission to test the necessary technology by capturing a boulder from the surface of an asteroid and bringing it into lunar orbit. Now with the Donald Trump at the helm, asteroid missions are no longer a top priority. The Trump administration wants to see a spaceport orbiting the moon, crewed visits to the lunar surface are once again on the menu.
Plans to return to the moon have waxed and waned depending on the US administration. NASA, however, has even bigger plans. The organization has ambitious intentions to send humans to orbit Mars by the 2030s, and subsequent plans to colonize the red planet.
On Wednesday the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that a cooperation agreement had been signed at an astronautical congress in Adelaide.“The partners intend to develop international technical standards which will be used later, in particular to create a space station in lunar orbit,” the Russian agency said in a statement. The Russians and Americans would cooperate to build the systems needed to organise scientific missions in lunar orbit and to the surface of the moon, the agency added. “Roscosmos and Nasa have already agreed on standards for a docking unit of the future station. Taking into account the country’s extensive experience in developing docking units, the station’s future elements will be created using Russian designs.” –The Guardian
“To avoid future problems over technical cooperation, part of the standards should be unified – for a possibility for various countries to work on their craft and dock to the international lunar station,” Igor Komarov, Roscosmos’ general director was quoted as saying in the statement.
Russia and the United States also discussed using Moscow’s Proton-M and Angara rockets to help create the infrastructure of the lunar spaceport, the statement said, adding that the main works were scheduled to begin in the mid-2020s.