The US and Russia will work together on a NASA-led project to build the first lunar space station.
It is part of a long-term project to send humans to Mars.
The US space agency said earlier this year that it was exploring a programme called the Deep Space Gateway, a multi-stage project to push further into the solar system.
NASA said the project envisages building a crew-tended spaceport in lunar orbit that would serve as a “gateway to deep space and the lunar surface”.
Russian space agency Roscosmos announced a cooperation agreement had been signed at an astronautical congress in Adelaide.
“The partners intend to develop international technical standards which will be used later, in particular to create a space station in lunar orbit,” the Russian agency said in a statement.
The Russians and Americans would cooperate to build the systems needed to organise scientific missions in lunar orbit and to the surface of the Moon, it said.
“Roscosmos and NASA have already agreed on standards for a docking unit of the future station. Taking into account the country’s extensive experience in developing docking units, the station’s future elements will be created using Russian designs,” it added.
The main works are expected to begin in the mid-2020s.
Space exploration is one of the few areas where international cooperation between Russia and the US has not been affected by political tensions.
The $100bn ISS, which has been orbiting Earth at about 17,000 miles (28,000km) per hour since 1998, is the world’s largest space project.
Source: SKY News