In a sign of the growing competition between world powers in Earth’s orbit, France has begun its first military exercises in space to test its ability to defend its satellites, while Russia and China have unveiled plans for a joint lunar space station as Moscow seeks to recapture the glory of its space pioneering days of Soviet times, and Beijing gears up its own extraterrestrial ambitions. Al Jazeera quotes the Russian space agency Roscomos as saying in a statement that it signed an agreement with China’s National Space Administration to develop a “complex of experimental research facilities created on the surface and/or in the orbit of the Moon”. CNSA, for its part, said the project was “open to all interested countries and international partners” in what experts said would be China’s biggest international space cooperation project to date.