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Space Agency Requests $6 Bln for Lunar Program

Roscosmos wants 230 billion rubles to revive its plan to put Russian astronauts on the moon by 2030.

Published: August 27, 2014 (Issue # 1826)



  • The Saturn V rocket, built by NASA in the 1960s to land astronauts on the Moon as part of the Apollo program, could lift 130 tons to orbit.
    Photo: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Forty-five years after the Soviet Union lost the race to the Moon, Russia’s Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, wants to revive its plan to put Russian boots on the lunar surface — a mission for which it says it needs almost 230 billion rubles ($6.3 billion) through 2025, Interfax reported Aug. 22.

Russia’s current national space agenda envisions cosmonauts walking on the lunar surface by 2030, but the intention is more symbolic than genuine, as it allocates no money to realizing the idea.

Now, the agency plans to spend 152 billion rubles ($4.2 billion) on the construction of launch facilities for a new super-heavy rocket at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, currently under construction in the Far East, Interfax said, citing a leaked Roscosmos strategy document currently being considered by the government. The rocket is slated to launch sometime after 2025.

An additional 60 billion ($1.6 billion) will go to begin developing and testing components for the rocket, which will be capable of delivering a spacecraft weighing 80 tons to low Earth orbit. The rocket would have an upper stage – the part of the rocket that pushes the ship to the Moon – capable of delivering a 20 ton spaceship into lunar orbit.

The last rocket to lift such a tonnage was the Saturn V rocket, built by NASA in the 1960s to land astronauts on the Moon as part of the Apollo program. Still the most powerful rocket ever built, the Saturn V could lift 130 tons to orbit.

This will be Russia’s third go at building a large, heavy-lifting rocket. In the 1960s, the Soviets developed the massive N-1 rocket to rival the Saturn V in the race to the Moon. But after exploding four consecutive times, the N-1 project was canceled. Another Soviet heavy rocket was developed in the late 1980s, the Energia booster, but the project was dropped after the collapse of communism for lack of funds.

The long dearth of funding took its toll on the space sector. To remedy this, Roscosmos wants to spend 14 billion rubles ($387.6 million) refurbishing industrial centers that have decayed since the fall of the Soviet Union to ensure that Russia has the manufacturing capability to construct a heavy rocket once it has been developed.

Russia is tilting not only at landing on the Moon but staying there. The strategy document also proposes spending 2 billion rubles ($55 million) to develop a technical proposal for a manned lunar base by 2022, with the preliminary design being completed no later than 2024, Interfax said.

The Soviet Union’s old rival NASA is currently building a brand-new heavy rocket to send men on missions to asteroids and Mars. The project, known as SLS, was initially estimated to cost $15 billion, but critics have said the actual cost will be much higher.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during today’s FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Today’s event will discuss the BBC Two documentary “Victorian Farm Christmas.”



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



To have your event included in All About Town, email tot@sptimes.ru



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