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Oct 14 2014

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Russia commits to the Moon by the end of next decade

Two articles for the price of one!

This article explores Russia’s plan for lunar exploration and ultimately manned missions by the late 2020’s. They’re looking at establishing infrastructure at the South Pole to take advantage of the ice there.

Before the manned missions, there will be several unmanned missions, including Luna-25, Luna-26, and Luna-27.

Luna probe

A few of my thoughts:

  • With the Chinese considering a manned lunar mission by mid or late 2020’s, this could become a 2nd space race to the Moon. Right now, I’d rate Russia in first (’cause they’ve at least committed to it), China as second (’cause they’re considering it) and the US last (only because it’s difficult to predict when a private enterprise will reach the Moon, or if NASA will be turned back onto it). Questions:
    1. Are the Russians committed to the Moon primarily because the Chinese are making noise about it?
    2. Are the Russians committed to the Moon primarily because they cede Mars to the US?
  • In line with Question #2 above, nobody but NASA and SpaceX are talking about manned missions to Mars. That means that the planet is ours for the taking. However, is it wise to skip the Moon entirely, especially considering that China’s space program is part of their military? Are we literally ceding the high ground to our rivals by skipping the Moon?
  • If one Luna probe costs billions of rubles, I don’t see the Russians having the resources to get a manned mission to the Moon, particularly as crude oil prices futures are tanking because of the huge supply that the US is pumping into the market. I believe if anyone with a US flag on their sleeve had the drive to do so, they could easily reach the Moon before the Russians. I’m less sure about saying the same thing as the Chinese.
  • Right now China is actively at work on the critical technology required to conduct a manned landing on the Moon, perhaps by the mid-2020’s or later, and scoping out what it would accomplish.

    That means that they are actively trying to steal it from US industry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/10/14/russia-commits-to-the-moon-by-the-end-of-next-decade/

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