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Russians in Space
February 2, 2007 12:00

Russian spacecraft manufacturer Energia has come out with several ideas for Russian space programme for the period up to 2050, said Energia’s president in his report during recently opened 31st Academic Readings on Space Exploration. Mentioned suggestions for the Russian space programme consist of four stages. During first stage an effective transportation system has to be developed, second stage provides exploration of near-Earth space and as for the third and fourth stages – they are Moon and Mars exploration programmes respectively.

Starting with discussing effective transportation system, Energia’s president said that it would be developed via modernization of “Soyuz” space ships and rocket carrier vehicles, as well as building new heavy lift launch vehicle “Angara”. Modernization of “Soyuz” rocket carrier vehicles allows increasing its weight-lifting capability from 7 to 15 tons as soon as in 2012. Renovation of manned “Soyuz” space craft is scheduled for 2010, and the same year will see building of advanced reusable transportation system “Parom”.


Head of Russian spacecraft manufacturer also thinks that operating life of the International space station can be extended after 2020 – the year the ISS’s stop is scheduled for. The International space station can play a crucial role in the second stage of Russian space programme – exploration of near-Earth space. Space experts pin great hopes on the project of manned automatic spacecraft “Oka”, which allows moving certain industrial production and performing a series of scientific experiments in space.

The same stage of Russian space programme comprises the issue of Earth’s protection from asteroid attacks. This issue is becoming more and more burning since expert calculations predict asteroid Apophis (reaching 700 m in diameter) passing by our home planet in 2029 and possibly colliding with the Earth in 2036.

Russian space agency schedules first Russian manned flight to Earth’s natural satellite for 2015, which is the third stage of Russian advanced programme. Energia’s experts’ estimations show five steps of Moon exploration: first exploration stage will be performed by robots, second step involves manned Moon orbiters, then cosmonauts will step on Moon’s surface during third step, space transport infrastructure will be built during fourth step, and the last, but not the least, step of Moon exploration will be Moon’s industrial development. Experts specify following aims of Moon exploration: mining operations, moving hazardous industries there, performing astrophysical research from Earth’s satellite’s surface and developing energy systems based on local resources.


If Russian government approves the programme, modernized “Souyz” spacecraft would fly around the satellite with the help of “DM” transfer orbit stages in 2012. Manned flight to the Moon is scheduled for 2015, and in 2020 transport infrastructure can possibly be built on the basis of reusable manned “Clipper” spacecrafts. Also in 2020 lunar orbiting station can start functioning on a constant basis. Moon’s industrial development can start in 2030. In his speech Energia’s president emphasized that taking decisions allows no delay since resources of our civilizations are coming to an end.

Russian manned expedition to Earth’s neighbor Mars will be ready to start in 2030, after necessary exploration by automatic stations finishes. If the rate of space industry development remains the same, 2050 may see Mars’s colonization – just as Bradbury has dreamt. Human landing on the Red planet pursues several aims, one of which is revealing mysterious origin of Solar system’s planets. Another, strategic, goal of said expedition is creating a reserve living ground for the mankind in case of possible natural disasters on our home planet.

    Science News

Kizilova Anna

Tags: space Russian science    

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