Russia is heading to the moon. Roscosmos, Russia's state space corporation, is aiming to send cosmonauts to the lunar surface by 2030s.
On Thursday, May 23, Dmitry Rogozin spoke to students at the Moscow University about future plans, including a manned mission to the moon.
Ars Technica was able to obtain the copy of the slide deck used during the presentation.
Russia's Lunar Ambitions
The plan includes developing a new "Super Heavy" booster that can carry up to 103 metric tons of cargo to the low-orbit and 27 metric tons to the lunar pole orbit. A "Federation" spacecraft should also be completed by 2022, with a maiden flight set to launch to the International Space Station by 2023.
A crewed flight to the lunar orbit is scheduled to take place in 2029 along with testing of a lunar lander and an inflatable lunar base module. Cosmonauts will officially take their first step on the surface of the moon in 2030.
Rogozin, however, stated that the timeline could still change. The space corporation wants to arrive on the lunar surface as soon as possible.
For comparison, NASA's Artemis Program is already currently underway. The U.S. space agency recently announced that the private space tech firm Maxar has been awarded the contract to build the lunar Gateway platform. The Gateway will orbit the moon and serve as a jumping-off point for astronauts who want to explore Earth's natural satellite.
NASA is also fast-tracking plans to send American astronauts to the lunar surface under the directive of the White House. Based on current plans, the United States is set to send a crewed mission to the moon as soon as 2024 — over 50 years since the last manned lunar landing mission.
Ars Technica, however, noted that unlike the United States, Russia does not see the potential for industrial utilization of the celestial body. Instead, Rogozin stated that the role of a lunar station should be as a defense against comets and asteroids.
The construction of a Russian lunar base is set to begin in 2034.
The New Space Race
The next decade will be an exciting time with both Russia and the United States aiming to send humans to the moon. China, too, has previously expressed plans to launch a manned mission to the lunar surface in the near future.