China and Russia On Track to Set Up Moon Base by 2036

In the next decade, an international coalition plans to build a lunar research station to transfrom humanity’s exploration and observation of the Moon.

The planning phase is already underway, and it is going well. Construction is slated for 2026 through 2035, and crews could start operating from the base by 2036. The station will feature a lunar orbiter, a large, multi-level, habitat to enable surface-based activities, and play host to several lunar rovers.

If this sounds a lot like the NASA Lunar Gateway program, think again. The station, called the International Lunar Research Station, is a rival to the U.S. space agency’s plans to put humans permanently on the surface of the Moon within a similar time frame. Instead, the ILRS is the brainchild of China and Russia — two of the U.S.’ greatest rivals on Earth.

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