The governments of Russia and China are expected to agree a deal in October which could see those countries send manned missions to the Moon for the first time. The agreement will see the countries perform joint space exploration from 2018 to 2022. The agreement will help push forward current Luna missions and could even get humans to the Moon again.
According to the Chinese news outlet, CGTN, the agreement covers five areas:
“The bilateral agreement will cover five areas including lunar and deep space exploration, developing special materials, collaboration in the area of satellite systems, Earth remote sensing, and space debris research.”
The two countries already have some proposed manned Moon missions, however, funding for the projects hasn’t been clarified and the proposed launch dates are more than a decade out, 2028 and beyond, that they could wildly change over the coming years. Russia’s most ambitious stated goal is the completion of a robotic lunar base set to launch in 2037.
The multi-year agreement is not the first space agreement between the two countries, but due to its length, it’ll allow for grander plans to be achieved. Russia’s space program has suffered from a lack of funding since the collapse of the Soviet Union, by working together with China, the US and Europe, it’ll be able to cut costs.