Recent reports indicate that Russia and China have engaged in a “detailed dialogue” about how to begin the construction of a base on the moon.
According to The Washington Examiner, this information came from the Kremlin’s space agency chief and it has the potential to cause the biggest disruption between the United States and Russia in decades.
“Before the end of May, I plan to hold detailed dialogue with our Chinese colleagues on our cooperation in this direction,” Roscosmos chief executive Dmitry Rogozin told state media.
The expansion program between Moscow and Beijing highlights what appears to be the coalescing of power between two of the world’s most powerful countries and possibly against the United States.
The Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts have worked side-by-side on projects on the International Space Station since the years shortly following the Cold War. However, the cosmic symbol of international peace could be aging, particularly considering the war between Ukraine and Russia that could cause further disruption between nations with space programs.
“We should not hustle now declaring our stance and will carry on with our work within the timeframe set by the government, which is until 2024,” Rogozin told state-run TASS. “A decision regarding the ISS future will depend to a great extent on the developing situation both in Russia and around it.”
The U.S. and European astronauts who only arrived at the space station this week arrived as a pair of Russian cosmonauts conducted a spacewalk to begin the use of a robotic arm furnished by the European Space Agency. The walk that lasted just under eight hours was an opportunity to show a Soviet-era “Victory Banner” that first flew in Berlin at the end of the Second World War.
“Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev voiced an idea several days ago to spread the Victory Banner in the open space and wrote about it to the Roscosmos press office,” Roscosmos spokesman Dmitry Strugovets said Friday. “His initiative was supported at all levels. No one remained indifferent.”
“There is no need to look for any hidden signs or symbols in our uniform,” Artemyev said at the time, in a statement given to the space agency. “A color is simply a color. It is not in any way connected to Ukraine. Otherwise, we would have to recognize its rights to the yellow sun in the blue sky. These days, even though we are in space, we are together with our president and our people.”
American officials hope to create a deal to have “mixed crews” of Russian and American astronauts together working on U.S.-launched and Russian-launched flights to the space station in an apparent effort to “ensure there would be at least one American and one Russian on the station should a vehicle be out of service for an extended period,” according to a recent Space News report.
“We’re talking to our Russian colleagues on a regular basis on this,” NASA ISS program manager Joel Montalbano told reporters this week. “They’ve been supportive of the crew swap, and so we’re expecting a positive response from the Russian government.”