Russian space agency, NASA agree to co-build lunar-orbit space station

Russia and the United States have agreed on Wednesday to cooperate on building a station on the lunar orbit.

Artist impression released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on September 22, 2017 shows a lunar base made with 3D printing

Russia's Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States said Wednesday that they have agreed to cooperate on building a station on the lunar orbit.

In a joint statement, signed in Adelaide, Australia, the two agencies declared their intention to cooperate on organizing scientific missions on the lunar orbit and on the moon surface, including building the Deep Space Gateway station.

A Roscosmos statement said the two sides have already reached "an understanding" on the standards of the docking module of the future station.

"Taking into account the serious domestic experience in the development of docking stations, the future elements of the station will be created on the basis of Russian inventions," it said.

The two space agencies also discussed the possibility of using both Russian and US carrier rockets to create the infrastructure of the lunar station and for its supplies.

The main work of building the space station will begin in the middle of 2020s, the statement said.

"The reached agreements open new prospects for international cooperation and expand the opportunities for using the capabilities of the Russian space industry," Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov was cited as saying.

The two agencies, as well as other International Space Station (ISS) partners, see the gateway as a strategic component of the human space exploration architecture that warrants additional study, NASA said in a separate statement.

"Statements such as this one signed with Roscosmos show the gateway concept as an enabler to the kind of exploration architecture that is affordable and sustainable," it quoted Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, as saying.  

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