Russia plans to return to the Moon in the near future. Image Credit: NASA/Dennis M. Davidson
Russia has big plans for its space program in the coming years and the Moon is its next target.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin recently spoke in detail about the country's plans to build a permanent base of operations on the lunar surface within the next two decades as part of what some see as an extension of the space race.
"The moon is not an intermediate point in the race, it is a separate, even a self-contained goal," he said. "It would hardly be rational to make some ten or twenty flights to the moon, and then wind it all up and fly to the Mars or some asteroids."
The next step will be a series of robotic missions including the Luna-25 rover in 2016 followed by the Luna-26 orbiter. A second rover is also planned after that to explore the Moon's south pole region.
Russia's most ambitious plans however center around the development of a new rocket that will be capable of carrying a manned spacecraft to the Moon. If this succeeds then the construction of a permanent base could go ahead by 2030.
"This process has the beginning, but has no end," said Rogozin. "We are going to come to the Moon forever."
Source: The Register | Comments (65)