President Vladimir Putin promised that Russia will not only again strive to go to the Moon but will attempt to build a base on the Lunar surface by 2030. Speaking during Cosmonaut Day* celebrations, Putin answered in the affirmative when asked by one of the cosmonauts in attendance if Russia would go to the Moon.
“As you may know the program extends up to 2030,” said Putin. “The finishing touches are being put to the spacecraft Federatsiya and research and development is on for building a super-heavy rocket to be used for the Lunar program. So there can be no doubts we will be working actively and implementing this program.”
Federation is Russia’s next-generation reusable spacecraft. Development on the spacecraft began in 2009 as a replacement for the Soviet-era Soyuz spacecraft. The Soyuz is currently the only operational spacecraft able to ferry human beings into space. However, with the US working on three separate next-generation crew transport systems (Orion, Dragon, and Starliner), Russia will not have a monopoly on the market for long.
Although appearing confident on the likelihood Russia would again reach for the stars, Putin ended more skeptically. “A Moon orbiter will come first. The modules on the Moon itself will emerge. At least that’s what the plans are,” he said. “I hope they will come true.”
Although it could take several years to develop and build the super-heavy rocket required for an extensive Moon mission, the country’s initial Lunar ambitious are less than a year away from realisation. Russia hopes to launch its first unmanned Lunar and Mars missions by 2019.
*Cosmonaut day is celebrating on April 12 commemorating the day Yuri Gagarin became the first human being in space.
Featured image credit: World Economic Forum/Photo by Remy Steinegger