The China National Space Administration announced on January 3 that its spacecraft, Chang’e 4, successfully achieved a soft landing on the far side of the moon and sent back the first close-up image. The news caught the attention of those in Russia. A Russian expert revealed that China successfully completed the mission with the help of Russia.
The Russian state television reported on January 4 that, for the Chang’e 4 lunar probe to land and complete a number of its tasks of long duration, its power system and battery were the key. The detector relied on a radioisotope battery to provide power, but China cannot manufacture such a battery. Russia provided the heat source battery for Chang’e 4. Alexey Likhachev, director general of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM), said, “At that time, the Chinese partners asked us to provide radioisotope thermoelectric generator batteries within the shortest time. This time it was used on Chang’e 4. In fact, the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities is also using these products.”
In addition, Russian state television reported that, as early as the 1990s, the United States and the Soviet Union had already developed plans for the detector to land on the far side of the moon. The landing point almost coincided with the location of the Chinese Chang’e 4. China’s first generation of lunar exploration programs was also developed with the help of Russian experts.
The Russian Pravda website published a review article which said that this moon landing has great political significance for Beijing. It is now clear that the space race between big powers is not about to start, but is already white-hot. Beijing’s landing of the lunar probe will further intensify the space race. Even India is planning to send three astronauts into space in 2022. Moscow, which has been training astronauts for Beijing and providing space technology, is reluctantly watching Beijing surpass it.
However, after China’s moon landing plan became known to the outside world, the Russian space community also announced an ambitious moon landing plan. Evgeny Mikrin, general designer of the manned programs for Russia, said in a speech in November 2018 that the Russian astronauts will land on the moon for the first time after 2030, and the mission will last for 14 days.
Source: Radio Free Asia, January 8, 2019