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article imageRussia plans man on Moon and Mars landing by 2030

By Anne Sewell     Mar 13, 2012 in Science
Russia's space agency is planning to send probes to visit Mars, Jupiter and Venus and also to put a man on the Moon, all by 2030.
RT reports that the country's space industry official blueprint - Space Development Strategies up to 2030 - was submitted to the government by the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) last week. The report is apparently a fascinating read.
The yet untested Angara rocket will become the chief means of launching Russian spacecraft by 2020, and will replace the current Soyuz and Proton used by the Russian space agency since the mid-1960's.
This new rocket will be headed by a new piloted spaceship carrying six astronauts, instead of the current three. No concrete project for such a spaceship currently exists.
Apparently the launches will be from the new Vostochny cosmodrome in eastern Russia, which will decrease dependence on the outdated Balkonur facility, located outside of the country's borders in Kazakhstan which currently has to be rented.
Russia began construction on the $20 billion space facility last year, and this is scheduled for completion by 2018.
By 2030, Russia will be able to send sophisticated robots to collect Moon samples, will be able to establish a series of moon bases and possibly to launch a space station in orbit around the Moon.
The program will then be finalized with a manned moon landing, which will be a dry run for similar exploration of other planets in the Solar System. Probes are planned to be sent to Jupiter and Venus.
NASA artist s conception of a human mission to Mars (1989 painting by Les Bossinas of NASA Lewis Res...
NASA artist's conception of a human mission to Mars (1989 painting by Les Bossinas of NASA Lewis Research Center).
Original uploader was Geoffrey.landis at en.wikipedia
According to the plan, in 18 years the technology will be available to make a Mars flight possible. After that date Roscosmos and NASA are considering a joint venture to send cosmonauts to Mars and establish a network of bases on the surface.
Previously the chief of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin had estimated that the program would cost $5-7 billion per year. The plan presupposes attracting private investors to supplement the costs and would be supervised by a new Russian government body - the Space Council.
In spite of these rather grandiose plans, last year was a historically bad one for the Russian space program with five Russian missions ending in failure through botched launches and one while in space.
The much-touted Fobos-Grunt Mars probe barely reached the Earth’s orbit when its navigation systems failed. After drifting aimlessly for weeks, it crashed down into the ocean. This was the seventeenth time that the Soviet Union or Russia had attempted a probe launch towards Mars. None have reached their destination.
Meanwhile, with all these plans going ahead for Russia, NASA has announced that it is scrapping two major Mars missions that were scheduled for 2016 and 2018. One of these missions was to study the atmosphere and the other to bring back rock samples.
Seems the Russians might just get ahead in the space race.
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