China, Thailand to cooperate in lunar exploration missions

Xinhua | April 6, 2024

China and Thailand will cooperate on the exploration and peaceful use of outer space as well as on the International Lunar Research Station, according to two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed Friday in Beijing.

China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand signed the two MoUs.

China's Chang'e-7 lunar exploration mission, to be launched around 2026, will have onboard a Thailand-developed global space weather monitoring device, which is designed to observe cosmic radiation and space weather from the lunar perspective. It will be the first time that a scientific instrument from Thailand has entered deep space from Earth orbit.

China's Chang'e-8 mission, to be launched around 2028, provides a payload capacity of 200 kg for international cooperation, and multiple applications from Thailand for lunar surface operation robots and scientific payloads are currently under selection.

China is implementing the fourth phase of its lunar exploration program with the main target of building up the basic model of the International Lunar Research Station, according to Guan Feng, director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center of CNSA.

The fourth phase includes the Chang'e-4, Chang'e-6, Chang'e-7 and Chang'e-8 missions.

China and Thailand will strengthen cooperation in the fields of space exploration, space application and space capacity building, by implementing joint space projects, scientific exchange programs and personnel training programs, exchanging data and information, among other forms of collaboration, according to the MoUs.

Both sides will carry out related research and draft a plan on the demonstration, engineering implementation, operation and application of the International Lunar Research Station.

Other countries, international organizations, research institutes, universities, industrial entities and scientists are also welcome to join the International Lunar Research Station program, and benefit from joint space exploration, according to the MoUs.

"In terms of global cooperation, China has signed cooperation agreements with more than 10 countries and international organizations. More countries and international organizations are welcome to participate in discussion, construction and sharing, to jointly build the scientific research facilities on the lunar surface for humanity," Guan said.