Executive Intelligence Review


Russia May Shift Its Cooperation in Manned Space from the U.S. to China

July 4, 2018 (EIRNS)—Later this week, in what would be a dramatic and potentially life-changing shift in international space cooperation, Sputnik reports today that a delegation from the China National Space Administration will hold talks with Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos. The topic on the agenda, according to a space industry source, will be creating a jointly-run space station.

This would be a project, if it were to emerge, that would reshuffle historic manned space relationships. Russia’s only manned space cooperation has been with the U.S. (until 2003, the only other manned space power), in the 1970s Apollo-Soyuz program, the 1990s Shuttle/Mir missions, and the current operation of the International Space Station.

The article reports that the Chinese government is interested in Russia’s experience with long-duration space missions, and the construction of large-scale space projects. The Sputnik source also said that China lacks access to key technology, and would partner with Russia in exchange for Russian “know-how.” It is a good match, in that the Chinese program has the resources and long-term plans, and Russia has the expertise and experience.

At this point, even though the Russians have talked about it, China is the only country or organization that is actually going to build an Earth-orbiting station, with the first segment set to launch next year. It would appear that the framework of the Chinese station would be the platform for cooperation.

Although the Russian space program has had some important input into the Chinese manned program in the recent past, as was reported in an article in Popular Mechanics, Russia is “considering” shifting its human spaceflight cooperation “away from the U.S. toward China.” It appears they are close to making a decision on doing so.