According to Roscosmos chief, Vladimir Popovkin, that leaves only two options: “setup a base on the Moon, or launch a station to orbit around it. We don’t want the man to just step on the Moon,” Popovkin stated in an interview with Russian radio station Vesti FM.
Nature - At the Global Space Exploration Conference 2012, Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said that Russia will pursue extensive, long-lived operations at the Moon’s surface. JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency, issued a clear pronouncement about targeting the Moon. “We are looking at the Moon as our next target for human exploration,” said Yuichi Yamaura, an associate executive director at JAXA.
Japan has previously talked about a $2 billion robotic lunar base in 2020.
Russian researchers have planned on starting a 12-year-long moon exploration programme (2025-2036), which will have several stages with first being a placement of an orbital station on a near-moon orbit, and the last – construction of a permanent base on the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite.
Lunar orbital station can be built within two years of 2025 and 2026. The facility can shelter a crew of four cosmonauts. Later on a first-stage base will be built at the Moon’s surface, which is aimed at hosting two-week-long manned missions to the satellite.
A second-stage lunar base is scheduled to appear in 2035-2036 – this facility will help start using lunar resources and prepare for industrial use of natural treasures of Earth’s natural satellite.
Lunar bases can be a beachhead for the industrialization of space
If Bigelow aerospace gets their inflatable space stations going and Spacex gets the Falcon heavy operating reliably then it would be trivial to launch a lunar orbital base and lunar surface base each with one launch each.
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