by Marcela Ganea
BUCHAREST, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The successful return of China's Chang'e-5 with precious Lunar samples is a real technological and scientific success not only for China, but for the globe, Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, the first Romanian astronaut, said Saturday.
"China has a huge potential to do Lunar exploration ... it has made huge progress in very short time, it has set a high, advanced threshold for its Space programs and it is building its own space station. A country that can do that is definitely exceptional," said the astronaut, also former chairperson of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and former president of the Romanian Space Agency.
As an expert of the Moon Village Association, a Vienna-based non-governmental platform promoting international space collaboration, Prunariu called for the creation of a "level playing field for upcoming lunar activities, in order to preserve the peaceful uses of space and sustainable space exploration."
"The near future will see a multitude of lunar missions through the efforts of both space agencies and commercial stakeholders ... yet the current lack of coordination mechanisms for lunar activities is a challenge to future missions," he said.
Prunariu explained that the "Moon Village" concept is a broadly-defined conceptual framework that includes planned and potential human activities in space, with the aim to sustainably explore and use the Moon for either scientific, commercial or culture purposes.
China has a huge potential to work with other countries and agencies in space activities, he said, noting that in 2013 China launched the spatial information corridor, an initiative under the Belt and Road framework for peaceful exploration of outer space with developing countries.
This year, during his attendances at the 3rd China Space Conference and the China International Commercial Space Online Symposium, he noticed that speakers of foreign space agencies and equipment producers expressed willingness to cooperate with China, Prunariu said.
Prunariu, now 68 year-old, performed an eight-day space mission aboard Soyuz 40 space aircraft and the Salyut-6 orbital space station in 1981, together with a Russian counterpart and two station team members.
He is the 103rd human to fly into outer space. Enditem