Thursday, March 15, 2012

Russia to finally send man to the Moon

Russia will send a team of cosmonauts to the Moon, 60 years after Neil Armstrong’s Apollo mission effectively ended the US-Soviet space race.

A spacecraft will “conduct a demonstrative manned circumlunar test flight with the subsequent landing of cosmonauts on [the Moon’s] surface and their return to Earth” by 2030, according to a leaked strategy document from Russia’s space agency, Roskosmos.

Moscow has periodically announced ambitious plans for space exploration in recent years, but this is the first time a firm deadline has been set for a manned lunar mission.

Russia won the first round of the space race when it launched the first man to orbit the Earth, Yuri Gagarin, in 1961. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Jr, however, fulfilled John F Kennedy’s promise to reach the Moon by the end of the decade, landing there on July 20, 1969, with Nasa’s Apollo 11. The Soviet Union subsequently cancelled its lunar programmes.

Plans to send cosmonauts to the Moon could help revive Russia’s space programme after a troubled period. Read More