Advanced solar electric propulsion will be needed for deep space exploration. Shown here is a 13-kilowatt Hall thruster being tested at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. It uses 10 times less propellant than standard chemical rockets. NASA has chosen Aerojet Rocketdyne to design and develop solar electric propulsion technologies needed for both deep space exploration and commercial space missions. The goal of the project is to boost space transport fuel efficiency by 10 times over current chemical propulsion technology and double thrust capability, potentially giving researchers the chance to view more of deep space than ever before.
Americans have been thrilled by our Apollo successes. For 47 years, we have been the only nation to put a person on another celestial body, and we have been resting on that glory all that time. But that is about to change. The Chinese have an ambitious, progressive plan for landers, humans, and finally a colony on the moon. Multiple private companies, from the United States, India, and elsewhere, have lunar plans.
NASA is teaming up with the Russian space agency Roscosmos to build a moon base and further space exploration, according to an announcement made on Wednesday. The statement from NASA mentions that it is collaborating with Roscosmos as it continues to work on the "deep space gateway" concept, referring to an idea in which a manned spacecraft in orbit around the moon would be used as a launching point for missions both to the lunar surface and to points in space farther away. That cislunar spacecraft is projected to kick off in the 2020s. "Building a strategic capability for advancing and sustaining human space exploration in the vicinity of the moon will require the best from NASA, interested international partners, and U.S. industry," the American space agency said. Working internationally "reflects the common vision for human exploration that NASA and Roscosmos share.
Russia has signed a memorandum of understanding with China in order to cooperate with the latter in the field of moon and deep-space exploration. In a recent statement, Russian space agency Roscosmos State Corporation announced the agreement, which came shortly after the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrived in China for a state visit Friday, June 8, and his counterpart Xi Jinping. Dmitry Rogozin, the new director-general of the Russian space agency and the country's former deputy prime minister, struck the cooperation deal with Chinese National Space Administration, aka CNSA, administrator Zhang Kedzhan. The agencies didn't reveal specific details relating to the agreement, but the latest move is the third instance of Roscosmos' gradual shift toward CNSA in last few months. Back in March, the two countries agreed to establish a joint data center for deep-space projects, while in 2017, the agencies agreed on a bilateral cooperation program focusing on space debris monitoring and research into the moon and deep space, among other things, for a period of four years.