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Russia, China Sign Space Exploration Agreement

Published: May 20, 2014 (Issue # 1810)



  • Russia puts its faith in China as a partner for space exploration.
    Photo: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

With a summit meeting between the Russian and Chinese presidents due to begin Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin has followed last week's rhetorical bombshell that Russia was not interested in extending operation of the International Space Station, or ISS, beyond 2020 by trumpeting a future of increased cooperation with the emerging Chinese National Space Agency.

Meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yang, in Beijing on Monday, Rogozin announced on Twitter that he had signed "a protocol on establishing a control group for the implementation of eight strategic projects." In a later Facebook post, he said "cooperation in space and in the market for space navigation" were among the projects.

Rogozin and Wang agreed to hold a meeting between the heads of their respective agencies "in the near future," so that Beijing and Moscow could sow the seeds of a potential space partnership.

Federal Space Agency chief Oleg Ostapanko wants to allow "Chinese colleagues participate in some of the most interesting projects that can replace the ISS," Rogozin said, adding that they would also discuss "projects such as cooperation in the field of rocket engine development," and cooperation in the growing market of space applications services which primarily applies to the development of the Chinese Beidou satellite navigation system and Russia's Glonass navigation system, both rivals to the U.S.' GPS.

However, analysts doubted Russia's ability to be a reliable and fruitful partner to China beyond 2020, as Russian capabilities in space have drastically withered in the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Russian space program lacks clear direction or goals.

Bleak Prospects

"The purpose of any cooperation between states in space is to minimize the costs of complex projects and the development of science and technology," Pavel Luzin, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Science's Institute for World Economy and International Relations told the St. Petersburg Times Monday.

By this measure, Luzin sees little point in a Russia-China space partnership. China needs Russia only for "technologies they have not yet developed," and Russia lacks both a long-term vision for its space program and an industry capable of supporting it.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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