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China, the EU on the path to the expansion of cooperation in outer space


People visit the booth of the Aerospace Scientific and Technological Corporation of China during the 69th International Astronautic Congress in Bremen (Germany) on October 1, 2018. (Xinhua / Lian Zhen)

China's Changing Lunar probe was launched earlier this month, and is expected to make the first smooth landing on the far side of the Moon.

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


The Chang & # 39; e-4 mission will be a key step to reveal the mysterious far side of the moon, most of which remains unknown.

The scientific burden of Germany is an instrument of "Lunar Lander Neutron and Dosimetry", developed by the University of Kiel, which aims to measure radiation on the moon, mainly for future manned missions, # 39; water under the landing unit, said Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, who heads the research team.

Karl Bergquist, the director of the European Space Agency of the Department of International Relations, called the Chang & # 39; e-4 mission scientifically and technologically "very impressive" because "nobody has ever done it, this mission will advance our knowledge of the moon. "

He also called on the lunar mission "the first step towards future faraway explorations".

Emphasizing the difficulties of landing the band farthest from the control of the spacecraft and signal relief, Wimmer-Schweingruber said that "the satellite is already underway. Now we are setting the Moon. It has worked well ".

Previously, China has already launched a relay satellite "Queqiao", responsible for transmitting signals between Chang & # 39; e-4 and ground control.

The scientific tasks for Chang & # 39; e-4 also include low-frequency radio astronomical observations, studying terrain and terrestrial forms, as well as the detection of mineral composition and the structure of the shallow lunar surface, according to the National Space Administration of China (CNSA).


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

In addition to Chang & # 39; e-4, China has offered and has promised multiple opportunities for space cooperation with the EU and beyond in recent years.

In the International Astronautic Congress held this October in the German city of Bremen, the deputy minister of the Ministry of Information Technology and Industry of China, Zhang Kejian, emphasized China's willingness to cooperate with other countries within the program spatial

Zhang, who is also the head of the CNSA, noted that Chang & # 39; e-6, the second mission of China, the lunar return mission, will provide 10 kg of loads in the orbiter and the # 39; landing for international partners.

China also announced in Vienna this May that all the member states of the United Nations (UN) are welcome to cooperate with China to jointly use their future Space Station of China (CSS).

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

The CSS, scheduled for 2019 and operational by 2022, will be the first space station in the world developed by a developing country and open to cooperation with all the member states of the UN.

Jan Woerner, CEO of ESA, told Xinhua that ESA welcomes further cooperation with the Chinese space program, and several European astronauts are learning Chinese in preparation.

China and the EU signed an agreement in 2015 on cooperation in a manned space program that states that the period between 2015 and 2017 is the stage of technological exchanges and the two parties participate in the programs of " # Astronaut training.

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

After having participated in an ocean survival training program in the waters off the coast of Yantai, in the east of the Chinese province of Shandong, organized by the Chinese Astronaut Center on 2017, Maurer hopes to work with astronauts from China and other CSS countries.


The achievements and openness of China to explorations of outer space have welcomed the world over and are believed to produce winning results.

The opening of the CSS of China will strengthen international cooperation for the peaceful use of outer space, said Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the UN Office for matters of outer space.

"China is the first contributor to our activities in terms of voluntary contributions, this is very important, it is a sign of the strong interest of China in collaborating with us, opening the whole world the possibility of using your own facilities, "said Di Pippo, who hoped to see more cooperation projects in the future.

Maurer saw the cooperation between China and the EU as the winner. He said China has many advantages, such as its own rockets, capsules and a space station.

Europe, on the other hand, has extensive experience in space long-term missions that can be carried out in our cooperation to make it more efficient, "said Maurer.

Wimmer-Schweingruber spoke a lot about the opening of China, saying "to compensate for the weakness of a country with the strength of another, this is how we work scientifically."

After collaborating on earthquake-controlling satellites and their effects, "we are now looking forward to collaborating more intensively in its new space station, which could offer us important flight opportunities for our astronauts, but also for the development of innovative experiments and technologies, "said Piero Benvenuti, curator of the Italian Space Agency.

Woerner said that ESA is also debating the use of the Chinese manned spacecraft Shenzhou to send future shipments to European astronauts. "Although it is not in the agenda, it is a possibility," he said.

"We have worked with the Chinese side for more than 25 years. For us Europeans, the exploration of the universe and the great missions of space science are domains in which we collaborate with all the powers Spaces: United States, Russia, China and Japan, "said Bergquist.

"What is important is to advance our knowledge, and if we can do it together, it is preferable for everyone," adds Bergquist.

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