Pakistan joins China’s International Lunar Research Station program

Pakistan has joined China’s International Lunar Research Station after signing a Memorandum of Understating, the China National Space Administration announced on October 20.

CNSA administrator Zhang Kejian and Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque signed the agreement between China National Space Administration and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) on October 18 for cooperation on the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).

Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar ul Haq Kakar and Chinese Premier Li Qiang presided over the signing of a ground-breaking cooperation agreement in Beijing marking a significant step in their space exploration partnership. The collaboration would encompass a wide range of aspects concerning the engineering and operation of the lunar base program, CNSA said in the statement.

The move cements Pakistan’s position among a select group of nations contributing to China’s lunar ambitions. Russia, Venezuela, and South Africa are the other known national or space agency-level signatories.

China’s Lunar Aspirations

China’s lunar aspirations are integral to its goal of emerging as a prominent space superpower by 2030.

In recent years, China has successfully secured partnerships with countries like Russia, Venezuela, and South Africa, further strengthening its standing in the global space community.

Their ultimate target is to land Chinese astronauts on the moon before the end of this decade.

Notably, the projected timeline for constructing the lunar outpost at the moon’s south pole closely aligns with NASA’s ambitious Artemis program. This program has set its sights on returning U.S. astronauts to the lunar surface, with a tentative mission date of December 2025, pending any unforeseen delays.

China’s lunar base project is not only a testament to their technological prowess but also signifies their commitment to global space exploration efforts.

Pakistan’s inclusion in this endeavor marks a significant milestone in China’s quest to explore and utilize the moon’s resources for the betterment of humanity. As the world looks to the moon and beyond, these international partnerships promise to unlock new frontiers in space exploration.

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