BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN - MARCH 28: In this handout provided by NASA, The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is seen as it launches to the International Space Station with Expedition 43 NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, Russian Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko, and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) onboard Saturday, March 28, 2015, Kazakh time (March 27 Eastern time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. As the one-year crew, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-18M in March 2016. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

CBS Local — With constant chatter about U.S. officials working with the Russians, the two governments have come out to announce a groundbreaking partnership, but it’s probably not what you think. The two global powers are teaming up to construct a new base circling the moon.
According to a joint statement signed by both countries at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Australia, Russian officials have agreed to join a NASA-led project that will build a new space station in orbit around the moon.
“While the deep space gateway is still in concept formulation, NASA is pleased to see growing international interest,” NASA’s acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said. “Statements such as this one signed with Roscosmos show the gateway concept as an enabler to the kind of exploration architecture that is affordable and sustainable.”
According to reports, NASA and its partners plan to start construction of the new orbital habitat in the early 2020s. …