SPACE.COM – HANNEKE WEITERING
NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos have announced a new partnership for human exploration of the moon and deep space. Both agencies signed a joint statement on cooperation today (Sept. 27) at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.
The decision to partner with Russia on human missions to the moon and beyond came about as NASA continues to flesh out ideas for its “deep-space gateway” concept, a mission architecture designed to send astronauts into cislunar space — or lunar orbit — by the 2020s. Traveling to and from cislunar space will help NASA and its partners gain the knowledge and experience necessary to venture beyond the moon and into deep space.
A crewed mission to the moon and ultimately deep space would likely involve NASA’s gigantic new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion space capsule. “This plan challenges our current capabilities in human spaceflight and will benefit from engagement by multiple countries and U.S. industry,” NASA officials said in a statement.