Planetary pact: China and Russia to launch lunar space station

Russia and China unveiled plans for a joint lunar space station, as Moscow seeks to recapture the glory of its space pioneering days of Soviet times, and Beijing gears up its own extraterrestrial ambitions.

Though Moscow was once at the forefront of space travel — it sent the first man into space — its cosmic ambitions have dimmed thanks to poor financing and endemic corruption.

It has been eclipsed by China and the United States, which have both clocked major wins in space exploration and research in recent years.

The Russian space agency Roscomos said it had signed an agreement with China’s National Space Administration to develop a “complex of experimental research facilities created on the surface and in the orbit of the Moon.”

China, for its part, said the project was “open to all interested countries and international partners” in what experts said would be its biggest international space cooperation project to date.

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