Saturday, April 14, 2018

Super-Heavy Rocket and Lunar Space Station: Putin Lays Out Priorities of Russia’s Space Program on Cosmonautics Day

Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting the Cosmos pavilion at the all-Russian Center of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh) in Moscow on April 12, 2018. Photo Credit: kremlin.ru

Russian President Vladimir Putin made remarks regarding essential elements of the nation’s space program on Thursday, April 12, when the whole country celebrated the Cosmonautics Day.

Cosmonautics Day in Russia celebrates the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight to space. For Russian officials, this day is always a great occasion to recall the achievements of the country’s space program and to outline its future goals.

This year, Putin visited the Cosmos pavilion at the all-Russian Center of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh) in Moscow, where he made remarks about Russia’s future space exploration plans. First of all, he declared when first tests of a new super-heavy rocket will be carried out.

"The super-heavy rocket, the first trial is planned in 10 years," Putin said.

The tests are planned to be conducted at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East. However, he added that in order to perform these trials, a special infrastructure is needed there, including a dedicated launch compound.

“One more launch pad needs to be created at the Vostochny Space Launch Center,” the Russian president acknowledged.

Moreover, Putin noted that works on the rocket and the necessary launch site should be carried out simultaneously.

“When we discussed all these issues, we agreed that one project should be synchronized with the other, so that we can have the launch pads and rockets simultaneously. Otherwise it makes no sense,” Putin said.

Answering the questions from cosmonauts, including Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space, Putin also promised to push ahead with the lunar program. He noted that the first step of a long term project to send a manned mission to the Moon by 2030 is creating a space station in the lunar orbit. He was referring to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, formerly known as the Deep Space Gateway - an international cislunar space station.

"A Moon orbiter will come first. Then modules on the Moon itself will emerge. At least that is what the plans are. I hope they will come true,” Putin revealed.

The Russian president added that the super-heavy rocket will play a major role in Russia’s lunar program as well as the next-generation spacecraft known as “Federation”. RKK Energia, the spacecraft’s manufacturer, plans to complete the construction of the first vessel by 2021.

In addition to remarks regarding the super-heavy rocket and lunar program, Putin also told the crowd that Russia has no intention of withdrawing from international cooperation in space. The statement came when tensions between Moscow and the West are still rising and the are worries that they could jeopardize international space projects, like the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway.

"We are not going to upset anything or to quit these programs. We are determined to complete them. We have partners in the exploration of Mars and the Moon - the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Union," Putin said.

1 comment:

  1. One thing is missing in this ambitious plans. Re-usability. Without that whole economic will fail. Regardless how big the rocket is and how much can lift, SpaceX smallest rocket could lift the same of even more using single rocket multiple times.
    What count this days is price in $$/ per kg to LEO. I would really like to see Soyuz rocket landing after completing the mission. That should be the plan.

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