Published April 28, 2012 | 6:03 pm
Saturday, April 28, 2012 – 13:03Saanj News
According to the Russian space strategy published on the Roscosmos website, Moscow has set several way-points for its space exploration activities — 2015, 2020, 2030 and the period after 2030.
Roscosmos will resume lunar exploration by 2015 using an unmanned space ship. Russia is also planning to send a manned mission to the moon by 2030, the space agency said.
In January, Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin voiced plans to set up manned moon research bases with European and US partners, saying there were plans to either set up a moon base or to launch an orbital station.
To that end, Russia is currently developing a “prospective manned transportation system” to be sent to the moon, he said.
Russia is also planning to send two unmanned moon missions by 2020, Luna-Glob (Lunar Sphere) and Luna-Resurs in 2015.
The launch timeframe, however, may be reviewed because the two spacecraft are being built with the same technologies as Russia's failed mission to Mars moon Phobos, which proved vulnerable to cosmic radiation.
The Phobos-Grunt mission, launched in November last year, was designed to bring back rock and soil samples from Martian moon Phobos. However, it got stuck in an Earth orbit after its engines failed to put it on course for the Red Planet. The spacecraft fell to the earth in January.
The moon base project has similarities to Cold War-era plans to create a permanent outpost on the moon, which has been envisioned by some Soviet and US scientists since the late 1950s.