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Space Agency Requests $6 Bln for Lunar Program

Roscosmos wants 230 billion rubles to revive its plan to put Russian astronauts on the moon by 2030.

Published: August 27, 2014 (Issue # 1826)



  • The Saturn V rocket, built by NASA in the 1960s to land astronauts on the Moon as part of the Apollo program, could lift 130 tons to orbit.
    Photo: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Forty-five years after the Soviet Union lost the race to the Moon, Russias Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, wants to revive its plan to put Russian boots on the lunar surface a mission for which it says it needs almost 230 billion rubles ($6.3 billion) through 2025, Interfax reported Aug. 22.

Russias current national space agenda envisions cosmonauts walking on the lunar surface by 2030, but the intention is more symbolic than genuine, as it allocates no money to realizing the idea.

Now, the agency plans to spend 152 billion rubles ($4.2 billion) on the construction of launch facilities for a new super-heavy rocket at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, currently under construction in the Far East, Interfax said, citing a leaked Roscosmos strategy document currently being considered by the government. The rocket is slated to launch sometime after 2025.

An additional 60 billion ($1.6 billion) will go to begin developing and testing components for the rocket, which will be capable of delivering a spacecraft weighing 80 tons to low Earth orbit. The rocket would have an upper stage the part of the rocket that pushes the ship to the Moon capable of delivering a 20 ton spaceship into lunar orbit.

The last rocket to lift such a tonnage was the Saturn V rocket, built by NASA in the 1960s to land astronauts on the Moon as part of the Apollo program. Still the most powerful rocket ever built, the Saturn V could lift 130 tons to orbit.

This will be Russias third go at building a large, heavy-lifting rocket. In the 1960s, the Soviets developed the massive N-1 rocket to rival the Saturn V in the race to the Moon. But after exploding four consecutive times, the N-1 project was canceled. Another Soviet heavy rocket was developed in the late 1980s, the Energia booster, but the project was dropped after the collapse of communism for lack of funds.

The long dearth of funding took its toll on the space sector. To remedy this, Roscosmos wants to spend 14 billion rubles ($387.6 million) refurbishing industrial centers that have decayed since the fall of the Soviet Union to ensure that Russia has the manufacturing capability to construct a heavy rocket once it has been developed.

Russia is tilting not only at landing on the Moon but staying there. The strategy document also proposes spending 2 billion rubles ($55 million) to develop a technical proposal for a manned lunar base by 2022, with the preliminary design being completed no later than 2024, Interfax said.

The Soviet Unions old rival NASA is currently building a brand-new heavy rocket to send men on missions to asteroids and Mars. The project, known as SLS, was initially estimated to cost $15 billion, but critics have said the actual cost will be much higher.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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