Russia plans to launch first flight to the Moon in 2011-2012
Russia plans to conduct it's first manned lunar mission in 2011 or 2012. The trip will take men aound the moon, but not actually land. The flight will use a modernised version of Russias venerable Soyuz spacecraft which has been used sice 1967.
Nikolai Sevastyanov, president of the Energia, told the 5th Airspace Congress in Moscow, "the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation plans to explore the Moon in three stages: a Soyuz spacecraft flight to the Moon, the construction of a permanent base on the Moon (from 2010 to 2025), and the industrial exploration of space around the Earth's satellite".
The modernised Soyuz is due to be ready in 2010.
“Energia has started the development of a modernized Soyuz spacecraft,” Sevastyanov said.
“New digital technologies will be used during the development and operation of the new spacecraft. Besides, the new space vehicle will be able to conduct flights not only to the International Space Station, but also to the Moon.”
It will be launched from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and also from the European Space Agencies Kourou launch centre in French Guiana.
Sources: RIA Novosti, MosNews