Egypt Joins China-led International Lunar Research Station Initiative

According to a report by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt have recently solidified their partnership in space exploration and the peaceful use of outer space, with a notable focus on the China-led International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) programme.

The agreement was formalised between CNSA’s director, Zhang Kejian, and the CEO of the Egyptian Space Agency, Dr Sherif Sedky, at an event in Beijing on December 6, 2023.

Egypt’s participation marks a significant milestone as the first Arab nation to join this lunar exploration initiative and the second African country following South Africa’s earlier inclusion in September. The ILRS, under China’s leadership, aims to establish a permanent lunar base by the 2030s, preceded by preliminary missions in the 2020s. This initiative, often seen as a potential rival to NASA’s Artemis Programme, underscores a shared vision for lunar exploration.

As the cooperation agreement outlines, both parties are enthusiastic about collaborating on various fronts such as lunar and deep space exploration, spacecraft development and launch, aerospace infrastructure, satellite data utilisation, the BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation, space science, and astronomical observation. Thus, the partnership extends to joint research efforts, including international lunar scientific research missions, space systems and subsystems development, space equipment manufacturing, ground segments and applications, educational training and capacity building.

This collaboration adds to the successful bilateral agreements between these nations, fostering significant advancements in Egypt’s space endeavours.