China to Build International Lunar Research Station By 2040

On April 25, Wu Weiren, chief designer of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program and dean of the Deep Space Exploration Laboratory, delivered a speech at an event themed Space Day of China, in which he introduced China’s construction plan for the International Lunar Research Station.

The International Lunar Research Station is a comprehensive scientific experimental facility jointly built by China and many countries, which will operate autonomously on the lunar surface and orbit for a long time, with short-term human participation, and can be expanded and maintained. In the speech, Wu said that China’s plan for International Lunar Research Station will be implemented step by step in three stages, and the country plans to build a basic model by 2028 to carry out lunar environmental exploration and resource utilization test verification.

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Next, by 2040, a mature model will be built to carry out space environment exploration and scientific experiments of the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon, and a comprehensive constellation named Magpie Bridge will be built to serve manned landing on the moon and deep space exploration such as Mars and Venus.

After that, an applied lunar research station will be built, which will be gradually upgraded from a scientific research experimental station to a practical and multifunctional lunar base.

In addition, Wu said that Chang’e-6 mission will be launched around 2024, and the moonback sampling return mission will be implemented. The Chang’e 7 mission will be launched around 2026 to carry out a detailed investigation of the environment and resources of the South Pole of the Moon. The Chang’e-8 mission will be launched around 2028 to carry out the experimental verification of lunar resource utilization and build the basic type of lunar research station.

At the event, China National Space Administration and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization signed a joint statement on the cooperation of the International Lunar Research Station.

The statement pointed out that the two sides will carry out extensive and in-depth cooperation in the demonstration, project implementation, operation, and application of the International Lunar Research Station, including but not limited to joint demonstration of scientific objectives, joint design and development of spacecraft, scientific instrument carrying, science and technology testing, data analysis, education, and training.