Friday , January 22 2021

China, the EU on the road to expanded cooperation in outer space

People visit the fair in China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation during the 69th International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany on October 1, 2018. (Xinhua / Lian Zhen)

China's Chang-e-4 lunar probe was launched earlier this month and is expected to make the first ever soft landing on the landing page.

During the mission, China has collaborated with four other countries, three of which are from Europe, reflecting the increasing space cooperation between China and the EU (EU) in recent years.


The Chang-4 mission will be an important step in revealing the mysterious far side of the moon, most of which are unknown.

Germany's scientific payload is an instrument "Lunar Lander Neutron and Dosimetry", developed by Kiel University, whose purpose is to measure radiation on the moon, mainly for future manned missions there, including the water content of the landing unit, said Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, who leads the research team.

Karl Bergquist, European Space Agency (ESA) Administrator of the International Relations Department, called Chang & e-4 mission scientifically and technologically "very impressive" because "no one has ever done so, this mission will therefore promote our knowledge of the moon . "

He also called the moon's mission "the first step toward future explorations further afield".

Wimmer-Schweingruber said that "the satellite is already in place, we are on the moon right now, it has worked well." Stress on landing problems on the other hand due to spacecraft control and signal relays.

In the past, China has already launched a "Queqiao" relay satellite, whose mission is to transmit signals between Chang-e-4 and ground control.

Scientific tasks for Chang & e; e-4 also include low frequency radio astronomical observation, land surveying and landforming, as well as mineral composition discovery and shallow belly surface structures according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).


Wimmer-Schweingruber said he has been working with his Chinese colleagues for almost two decades and praised China for its increased cooperation with international partners.

Except for Chang & # 39; e-4, China has offered and promised more opportunities for space co-operation with the EU and later than recently.

At the International Astronaut Congress held in October in the German city of Bremen, Zhang Kejian, Deputy Minister of Industry and Information Technology in China, stressed China's willingness to cooperate with other countries in the space program.

Zhang, who is also the head of the CNSA, noted that Chang-e-6, China's second sample return month mission, will provide 10kg payload on orbits and land for international partners.

China also announced in May May that all UN member states (UN) are welcome to cooperate with China to jointly exploit its future China Space Station (CSS).

"CSS belongs not only to China but also to the world," said Shi Zhongjun, China's Ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna.

The CSS, which is expected to be launched in 2019 and operational by 2022, will be the world's first space station developed by a developing country and open to cooperation with all UN member states.

Jan Woerner, Director General of ESA, told Xinhua that ESA welcomes more cooperation with China's space program, and several European astronauts are now learning Chinese in preparation.

In 2015, China and the EU signed an agreement on cooperation in a staffed space program, which states that the period from 2015 to 2017 was the stage of technological exchanges, and the two parties participated in each other's astronaut training.

Matthias Maurer, an ESA astronaut of German nationality, told Xinhua that he had studied Chinese for over six years.

After participating in a survival training program in waters off the coast of Yantai in eastern China's Shandong province, organized by the Astronaut Center of China in 2017, Maurer hopes to work with astronauts from China and other countries at CSS.


China's performance and openness in the exploration of outer space has been welcomed worldwide and is believed to produce win-win results.

China's opening of the CSS will strengthen international co-operation on peaceful exploitation of outer space, says Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the United Nations Space Agency.

"China is currently the first contributor to our voluntary contribution activities. It is very important. It is a sign of China's strong interest in working with us and opening up the opportunity for the whole world to leverage your facilities," said Di Pippo, who hoped to see more collaborative projects in the future.

Maurer saw the cooperation between China and the EU as a win-win. He said China has many benefits like its own rockets, capsules and a space station.

Europe, on the other hand, has ample experience with long-term missions in space "that can be brought into our cooperation to make it more effective," Maurer said.

Wimmer-Schweingruber spoke a lot about China's openness and said "to compensate for the weakness of a country with the strength of another, how we work scientifically."

Having collaborated on satellites that monitor earthquakes and their effects, we now hope to work more intensively on their new space station, which could give us important aviation opportunities for our astronauts, but also for the development of experiments and innovative technologies, "Piero Benvenuti said. , Commissioner for the Italian space organization.

Woerner said the ESA is also discussing, using the Chinese manned spacecraft Shenzhou, sending European astronauts to space in the future. "Even if it's not on the agenda, it's an option," he said.

"We have been working with the Chinese side for over 25 years. For us Europeans, exploration of the universe as well as large space science missions are domains where we work with all space powers: the United States, Russia, China and Japan," said bergquist

"What's important is promoting our knowledge, and if we can do it together, it's better for everyone," added Bergquist.

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