April 30, 2012
Russia Announces Manned Moon Mission By 2030
The space agency said that it will start off resuming its lunar activities by 2015 by using an unmanned space ship.Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin voiced back in January that the agency desired to set up a manned moon research base with European and U.S. partners.
Popovkin said that there were plans to either set up a moon base, or to launch an orbital station around the moon.
He also said that Russia is currently developing a "prospective manned transportation system" to be sent to the moon.
The country is planning to send two unmanned moon missions by 2020, which includes the Luna-Glob and Luna-Resurs spacecraft.
The launch time frames for the missions may not be set in stone because the two spacecraft are using the same technologies as Russia's failed mission to the Martian moon Phobos.
The Phobos-Grunt mission launched in November last year, but it met its end after its engines failed to put it on course for Mars. The mission was designed to bring back rock and soil samples from Phobos, however, the mission made an early reentry to Earth's atmosphere back in January after its engine failure.
As part of the moon mission plans, Russia plans to build super-heavy rockets by 2020 that will be capable of carrying 20 tons of payload.
Roscosmos also said that it plans to build a lunar orbital station after 2030, as a stop-over platform for the manned missions.
The space agency said that 2030 would be a breakthrough year for Russia's space technologies, according to its website.
"By 2030, the measures must be undertaken to deploy and maintain orbital groups to serve the needs of the (Russian) social-economic sphere, science, defense, national security, and to create progressive technologies of servicing, fueling and repairing the space vehicles in the near-Earth space," Roscosmos said on its website.
The Russian agency said it would begin full-scale preparations for manned expeditions to Mars and unmanned missions to asteroids after 2030.