The moon race is on. Roscosmos recently revealed that building a moon colony in two decades is the Russian federal space agency's top priority.
Russia's Lunar Aspirations
Roscosmos issued a press release on Wednesday, Nov. 28, to discuss its strategy that will involve three phases, starting with a launch of an orbital station.
"The interest of mankind to the moon is associated primarily with the fact that unique regions with favorable conditions for the construction of lunar bases were discovered on the satellite," the press release read. "The implementation of the lunar program will be held in several stages until 2040."
3-Step Strategy To Establish Moon Colony
The first stage of the plan involves launching a module that will orbit around the moon. Russia might use elements from its side of the International Space Station, particularly the nodal module, the research-energy module, and the manned spacecraft. The modules are expected to be docked onboard the ISS by 2022, but it might instead be delivered to the upcoming lunar outpost.
Russia has agreed to build the Lunar-Orbital Platform-Gateway with the United States in 2016 although, earlier this year, Roscosmos hinted that they might exit from the joint program.
The second stage of the plan will, for the first time, land Russian cosmonauts to the surface of the moon. To this day, the United States is the sole country that has sent humans to the Earth's natural satellite. The Soviet Union abandoned its lunar program back in the mid-70s after four of its rockets had exploded.
The second stage will see Russia send manned flights to the moon to deliver and create the first elements of the colony. This is expected to begin by 2025 and last up to 2035.
The final stage would, of course, will be the construction of the moon colony. Roscosmos will also send manned and robotic probes to explore the moon.
This is not the first time that Russia has spoken about its lunar program. In 2017, the Russian space agency started recruiting cosmonauts for the planned missions to the moon.
Dmitry Rogozin, Roscosmos head, said that the final documents for Russia's lunar program will be completed by February.