Kazakhstan Joins China-led Lunar Research Station, Explores Spaceport Cooperation

Credit: DSEL

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to on July 3, Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of cooperation with on the International Research Station (ILRS). This move, part of a broader set of agreements encompassing 30 documents, marks Kazakhstan’s strategic step towards enhancing space exploration capabilities in collaboration with China.

According to a joint statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the agreement aims to promote peaceful space exploration and facilitate exchanges between aerospace agencies and enterprises of both nations. Notably, the memorandum includes provisions for exploring potential commercial use of each other’s space launch facilities.

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China, through its ambitious ILRS initiative, plans to establish a permanent lunar base by the 2030s, utilizing advanced technology and a super heavy-lift launcher. This initiative aims to propel lunar exploration and facilitate the utilization of lunar resources, culminating in manned lunar missions before 2030.

“This cooperation underscores Kazakhstan’s commitment to diversify its space endeavors and strengthen its position in the global space industry,” noted Bleddyn Bowen, an associate professor specializing in space policy at the University of Leicester.

Xi Jinping, addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization+ Summit in Astana, reiterated China’s openness to international collaboration in space exploration, inviting countries to participate in the construction of the ILRS and utilize China’s Beidou navigation system.

The ILRS project, led by China, operates independently alongside ‘s Program, with both initiatives vying for international partnerships to advance lunar exploration. Kazakhstan’s participation marks the country as the 12th to join the ILRS, following recent agreements with Serbia, Nicaragua, and Thailand.

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