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The US And Russia Sign Agreement To Build A New Space Station Around The Moon

Work could start on the lunar station as early as the 2020s.

28/09/2017 16:49 SAST | Updated 28/09/2017 16:50 SAST

NASA has signed an agreement with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos to partner in building a brand-new space station around the Moon.

There are no design plans or budgets as yet, however Roscosmos have said that work could start on the lunar station in the 2020s.

NASA

The agreement to build a space station together is part of NASA’s wider Deep Space Gateway project.

This was a plan put together by NASA that would see the building of a lunar space station, not only as a testing site for further deep space exploration but then also as a staging ground for spacecraft looking to extend beyond the realms of Earth’s orbit.

Speaking about the historic agreement, Robert Lightfoot, NASA’s acting administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington said: “While the deep space gateway is still in concept formulation, NASA is pleased to see growing international interest in moving into cislunar space as the next step for advancing human space exploration,”

NASA

NASA will initially start with a number of manned and unmanned missions to the Moon.

Using the lessons they’ve learned from the International Space Station, the next step would be to lay concrete plans around building a new lunar space station.

Part of this enormous task will be making sure that everything is universally standardised.

Thanks to Russia’s continued track record of sending crew to the ISS, it has already been agreed that a universal docking system will be agreed upon using Russia’s designs.

It’s believed that the major components that make up the new station will be lifted into orbit using Russia’s Proton-M heavy lift vehicle and NASA’s own newly developed SLS rocket.

Sergei Savostyanov via Getty Images
A Proton-M rocket carrying ExoMars 2016 spacecraft blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

NASA has said on numerous occasions that it wants to send humans to Mars by 2030 and this space station will almost certainly be a major step in that direction.

Initially NASA had said that it would send an astronaut to an asteroid as part of its roadmap to the red planet, however it looks as though the Moon will now replace that mission as one of the key staging grounds.

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