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Wed, Mar 14, 2012

Despite Recent Setbacks, Russia Sets Sights On The Moon, Mars

Reportedly Plans A Manned Lunar Mission By 2030

Roscosomos will send cosmonauts to the moon by 2030, according to a plan presented to the government earlier this month. While the mission statement does not reveal any financial details, it does outline plans for a manned lunar mission and the establishment of research stations on Mars in cooperation with other nations. The plan also mentions outside sources of funding which will not negatively impact the country's budget.

The French news service AFP cites a report appearing in the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant which indicates that Russia also plans to purchase rocket technology from foreign countries in an effort to catch up with NASA over the next eight years. It forecasts the development of a shuttle-like spacecraft which could transport cosmonauts to Mars and back, and says it should be able to conduct a lunar orbital flight by 2030, "with the subsequent landing of cosmonauts on its surface and their return to Earth."

Space industry observers note that the beleaguered Russian space program is suffering a "brain drain" due to lack of funding and an inefficient state-run subcontractor network which are causing it to fall further behind NASA. The plan does say that Roscosmos will place the "highest priority" on modernization and technological development.



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