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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Russia Mulls Offering US Upgraded Space Vehicle for Lunar Orbit Station Supplies

Russian Progress cargo spacecraft approaching ISS. Credit: Roscosmos

Russia is planning to offer the United States to deliver supplies to the future international lunar orbital station with the use of the modernized Progress-L cargo spacecraft, a Russian space industry source has told Sputnik.

It was reported earlier that NASA, together with other countries, plans to build a manned LOP-G station (Lunar Orbital Platform — Gateway) in lunar orbit in the 2020s.

"It is planned to create a modernized Progress-L cargo spacecraft on the basis of the Progress space freighter flying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Russia intends to offer this spacecraft to the United States to deliver cargo to the international lunar orbital station", the source said.

According to a source, if these plans are approved, the launches of the Progress-L spacecraft will be carried out in 2026 and 2027 on Russia's Angara-A5 launch vehicles.

The current version of the Progress spacecraft is used for supplies delivery to the ISS. According to Roscosmos, the vehicle can carry about 2.5 tonnes of cargo. A Russian space industry source has not specified, however, the features of the upgraded Progress-L vehicle.

According to NASA, the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will be placed on a highly elliptical orbit that will bring it within 930 miles of the lunar surface and as far away as 43,500 miles.

In spring 2018, it was reported that the United States had offered Russia to manufacture only one module for the Gateway station — the airlock designed for space crews. In this case, the module itself was supposed to be manufactured according to US standards and to be designed for US spacesuits.

However, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin has noted that Russia could participate in the project only on an equal footing. The discontent with Russia's role in the space project has reportedly prompted Roscosmos to consider the creation of its own station.

In September 2018, Rogozin announced the plans to build Russia's own lunar station. According to Roscosmos, the assembling of the Russia's Moon orbital platform could start in 2025 with the launch of the base module.

Credit: sputniknews.com

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