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Roscosmos is also looking to replace its current Soyuz and Proton rockets with a new rocket called Angara by 2020

Russia has laid out some lofty space-related goals in a strategy document issued by Russia's Federal Space Agency, known as Roscosmos.

By 2030, Russia plans to send cosmonauts to the moon as well as unmanned spacecraft to Jupiter, Mars and Venus. Also, Roscosmos is looking to replace its current Soyuz and Proton rockets with a new rocket called Angara by 2020.

Roscosmos' moon-related efforts not only include a manned lunar landing by 2030, but also the development of a space station in orbit around the moon. The idea behind this plan is to replace the International Space Station, which is only expected to stick around until 2020.

In addition to a trip to the moon, Roscosmos wants to send unmanned robotic probes to Jupiter, Mars and Venus by 2030.

Instead of using the Soyuz and Proton launch vehicles that Russia has used to carry loads since the 1960's, it wants to use the Angara rocket to complete such missions by 2020. Angara will be a six-seat spaceship that will launch from a new spaceport called Vostochny in eastern Russia.

Russia's ambitious space goals are a bit surprising considering the troubles the country has had lately. Last year alone, Russia had a Rockot launch vehicle fail to place a satellite in order correctly, a Proton rocket send a communications satellite to the wrong orbit, an unmanned Progress 44 supply ship crash on its way to the ISS, and a Soyuz 2 rocket crashed after launch in December.

Earlier this year, the Mars probe Phobos-Grunt finally made its way back to Earth after getting stuck in Earth's orbit two months previous.

Russia isn't the only one trying to get its space affairs in order. The U.S. is currently working on sending its own spacecraft to the ISS after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet last year. Since the retirement, the U.S. has been stuck having to depend on Russia to get to the ISS, which has proved to be a costly investment. American space transport company SpaceX was expected to be the first commercial company in history to dock at the ISS in February, but the flight was delayed for further improvements to its Dragon spacecraft.

In addition, the U.S. hopes to send astronauts to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars by 2030.

Source: MSNBC

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By Avatar28 on 3/16/2012 4:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like it would be rather inefficient to replace a station in low earth orbit with one in a low lunar orbit. It would require a significant increase in delta-v to get there and a lot more fuel. Think about how large the Saturn-V rockets had to be to get to the moon compared to the ones that just needed to get into earth orbit.

Honestly, if you're going to go to all the trouble of getting to lunar orbit for a station you might as well build on the surface. At least you could make use of local building materials and build underground for protection from micro-meteorites and solar flares and you wouldn't have to bring as much with you.

By JediJeb on 3/16/2012 5:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
It might be a good idea in the future to build on the Moon as you mentioned, but currently we have no portable smelting units or boring machines that we can send up there to do that. If we had a small orbital station there to use as a base camp or maybe something like the Bigelow inflatable units we could deploy on the surface that might help.

Come to think of it, since you wouldn't want to expend the fuel landing and launching large craft on and off the surface, maybe starting with an orbital Lunar station would be best. Then you could use smaller transport shuttles to ferry supplies and personnel to and from the surface.

By wordsworm on 3/17/2012 12:34:19 AM , Rating: 2
From the moon you could use solar energy to launch craft. If we're ever able to make use of Helium 3 deposits on it, the real race will be on. Could be that SpaceX will be the guys to beat the rest... hard to say.

By PrinceGaz on 3/17/2012 12:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
The Saturn V rockets were large primarily because of the amount of fuel needed to launch a fairly large payload in one go into Earth-orbit. Going from Earth orbit to the Moon is fairly trivial in comparison, as is landing and taking-off from the Moon (~1/6 gravity and no atmospheric drag).

Once we've finished building the first Earth-based space-elevator, it won't really matter whether the space-station is in orbit around Earth or the Moon in terms of launch costs.

By JediJeb on 3/19/2012 1:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if a space elevator on the moon would be something to try. It could be made with a heavier tether I think and without the atmospheric drag it might be an easier place to test out the technology.

By BillyBatson on 3/17/2012 6:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
Another plus that comes to mind for having a lunar orbiting station is because of the increasing"space junk" and orbiting satellites around earth. It could be much safer for sensitive equipment, spacewalks, etc around the fairy trash free moon. Also if they plan on building a base of some sort on the moon it might be cheaper to keep the station close to it or at least offer faster response to any emergency on the moon?

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