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China, the EU is expanding cooperation in space

People visited the booth of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Company during the 69th International Astronautics Congress in Bremen, Germany on October 1, 2018. (Xinhua / Lian Zhen)

Chang's investigation into the e-4 China was launched earlier this month, and is expected to make the first soft landing on the far side of the moon.

During the mission, China has cooperated with four other countries, three of which came from Europe, an example of increased space cooperation between China and the European Union (EU) in recent years.


Chang's mission 'e-4' will be a key step in revealing the mysterious far side of the moon, which is still largely unknown.

The German scientific payload is the "Lunar Lander Neutron and Dosimetry" instrument, developed by Kiel University, which aims to measure radiation on the moon, especially for manned missions in the future, as well as moisture content below the landing unit, said Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, who lead the research team.

Karl Bergquist, administrator of the European Space Agency (ESA) for the Department of International Relations, called Chang's mission "scientifically and technologically" very impressive, because "no one has ever done it, this mission will advance our knowledge of the moon. "

He also called the month's mission "the first step towards further exploration."

Emphasizing the difficulty of landing on the far side due to the control of the vehicle's relay and signal, Wimmer-Schweingruber said that "the satellite already exists. We are orbiting the moon now. The satellite is working well."

Previously, China had launched the "Queqiao," relay satellite, which was tasked with transmitting signals between Chang 'e-4 and ground control.

Scientific assignments for Chang 'e-4 also include low frequency radio astronomy observations, terrain surveys and landforms, and detecting mineral compositions and superficial surface structures of the moon, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).


Wimmer-Schweingruber said he had worked with his Chinese counterparts for almost two decades, and praised China for increasing its cooperation with international partners.

Apart from Chang 'e-4, China has offered and promises many opportunities for space cooperation with the EU and beyond recently.

At the International Astronautics Congress held this October in the German city of Bremen, Zhang Kejian, deputy minister of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, emphasized China's willingness to cooperate with other countries in the space program.

Zhang, who is also the head of the CNSA, noted that Chang & # 39; e-6, the second month of China's sample mission returned, would provide 10 kg of cargo on the orbiters and landers for international partners.

China also announced in Vienna in May that all member states of the United Nations (UN) were invited to work with China to jointly utilize the Chinese Space Station (CSS) in the future.

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

CSS, expected to be launched in 2019 and operational in 2022, will be the first space station in the world developed by developing countries and open to cooperation with all UN member states.

Jan Woerner, ESA director general, told Xinhua that the ESA welcomed more cooperation with the Chinese space program, and some European astronauts are now studying Chinese in preparation.

China and the EU signed an agreement in 2015 about cooperation in the manned space program, which stipulates that the 2015 to 2017 period is the stage of technology exchange, and both parties took part in their respective astronaut training programs.

Matthias Maurer, a German ESA astronaut, told Xinhua that he had studied Chinese for more than six years.

After participating in a marine survival training program in the 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 in CSS.


China's achievements and openness in space exploration has been welcomed throughout the world and is believed to produce mutually beneficial results.

China opens its CSS to strengthen international cooperation for peaceful use of space, said Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the UN Office for Space Affairs.

"China is currently the first contributor to our activities in terms of voluntary contributions. This is quite important. This is a strong sign of China's interest in working with us, opening the possibility for the whole world to use your facilities," said Di Pippo, who hopes to see more collaborative projects in the future.

Maurer views cooperation between China and the European Union as a win-win. He said China has many advantages such as rockets, capsules, and its own space station.

Europe, on the other hand, has a lot of experience in long-term missions in space "that can be incorporated into our collaboration to make it develop more efficiently," Maurer said.

Wimmer-Schweingruber highly praised China's openness, saying "to compensate for the weakness of one country with another, that's how we work scientifically."

After collaborating on satellites that monitor earthquakes and their effects, "we now hope to collaborate more intensively on their new space station, which can offer us important flight opportunities for our astronauts, but also for the development of innovative experiments and technology," said Piero Benvenuti, commissioner of the Italian Space Agency.

Woerner said the ESA also discussed the use of Shenzhou's manned Chinese spacecraft to send European astronauts into space in the future. "Even though it's not on the agenda, it's a possibility," he said.

"We have worked with the Chinese for more than 25 years. For us Europeans, the exploration of the universe and major space science missions is the domain where we work with all space forces: the United States, Russia, China and Japan," Bergquist said.

"The important thing is to advance our knowledge, and if we can do it together, it is preferred for everyone," Bergquist added.

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