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Russia to give up Moon, Mars missions without support from Europe

January 14, 14:42 UTC+3
"The launches will be implemented only with the participation of the European Space Agency in the project," says the note to the Moon-29/Moon-Grunt and Bumerang projects
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© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Russia will give up soil probes on the Moon and the Phobos as the Mars satellite under the 2025 federal space program, if it finds no support for these projects from the European space corporation, according to a draft federal space program released on Thursday.

The program draft was prepared by Russia’s space corporation (Roscosmos) for submission to the Russian government for approval.

"The launches will be implemented only with the participation of the European Space Agency in the project," says the note to the Moon-29/Moon-Grunt and Bumerang projects.

The Bumerang/Expedition-M project is the repetition of the Phobos-Grunt (Phobos-Soil) project that ended in a failure in 2011. The project aims to establish an interplanetary station to survey Mars and its satellites and deliver Phobos soil samples to the Earth. The spacecraft can be launched in 2024, if the European Space Agency cooperates with Roscosmos in this project.

The Moon-Grunt (Moon-Soil) project envisages using a special device to collect and place soil samples from the Moon’s southern pole into a thermostatic chamber and deliver them to the Earth. Given the ESA’s participation, the launch of this space vehicle is scheduled for 2024. Also, the document introduces new numeration of Russian lunar missions expected for implementation until 2025.

Infographics Russia’s Moon exploration program Russia’s Moon exploration program

Russia is developing a new generation Advanced Crew Transportation System. Its first flight to the Moon is planned for 2028. Infographics by TASS

Specifically, the Moon-Grunt project was enumerated as No. 28, which has now been assigned to the back-up project Moon-Resource Landing Vehicle: two landing stations will be sent at once to the Earth’s satellite in 2021: Moon-27 and its back-up vehicle Moon-28. Previously, the back-up vehicle had no number of its own.

There are plans for 2019 to launch a spacecraft as part of the project Moon-Globe (Moon-25) and for 2020 to launch a space vehicle under the project Moon-Resource Landing Vehicle (Moon-26).

The previous draft of the federal space program prepared by Roscosmos in April 2015 envisaged plans to launch the Moon-26 vehicle in 2021 and the Moon-27 spacecraft and the back-up vehicle at the beginning and at the end of 2022.

Russian orbital constellation to include 70 satellites instead of 95 by 2025

According to the draft federal space program for 2016-2025 the number of satellites in the Russian orbital constellation in 2025 will reach 70 instead of previously planned 95 spacecraft.

According to the document that is being prepared for the government’s approval, in 2025 the number of satellites in the Russian orbital constellation will reach not 95, as it had been planned with the budget of 2 trillion roubles, but 70 spacecraft given the new financing.

The number of launches of spacecraft under the new federal space program for 2016-2025, in view of the budget cuts, will decrease from 185 to 150.

According to previous reports, the financing of the federal space program until 2025 would amount to some 1.4 trillion rubles ($18.27 billion), and the draft program presented last spring provided for budget financing worth 2 trillion roubles ($26.11 billion).

According to the document, instead of the planned 47, the new draft envisages 38 launches of Earth remote sensing (ERS) satellites, and by 2025 the orbital constellation will comprise 25 ERS spacecraft instead of the planned 20. The new federal space program draft excludes the launches of the meteorological satellites Electro-M, Meteor-MP, Obzor-O (system for high resolution observation of Russian territory) and Lider (space complex for all-weather monitoring of man-made and natural disasters).

As for the fundamental space research, according to the federal space program draft, the number of satellite launches to this end will be cut from 20 to 15, and the orbital constellation will decrease from 10 to 4 satellites. The launches of one Intergeliozond (space complex for heliophysics research of the Sun) and four Rezonans satellites (complex for studying the interaction of electromagnetic waves and particles in the Earth's magnetosphere) are excluded from the new program.

Roscosmos also intends to cut spending on servicing the International Space Station (ISS) in 2016-2015 by almost 30 billion rubles.

On Monday, the Izvestia daily reported, citing the final federal space program draft, submitted by Roscosmos to ministries, that over the next decade Russia will allocate 252.1 billion roubles ($3.43 billion) for flight control, servicing the Russian segment of ISS and implementing a program of scientific experiments. Earlier FSP draft submitted in April last year envisaged spending 281.4 billion rubles ($3.82 billion) on the space program. The final draft was cut by almost a quarter to 1.521 trillion rubles ($21 billion) for the next 10 years.

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