Russia's Space Plans Include Spacecraft to Moon, Jupiter, Mars, Venus by 2030
March 16, 2012 2:48 PM
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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.
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3/19/2012 9:04:55 AM
Helium 3 could be pretty important one day. It's believed there is a lot of it on the moon.
3/20/2012 10:57:15 PM
It won't be worth going after, until and unless we have commercial fusion reactors that can use it.
With modestly lower space transportation costs (and starting with low Earth orbit, cost of access is the real bottleneck to everything), it may be profitable to pursue platinum-group metals there, however...
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