Will Russia's Lunar Landing Plans be Scuttled?
The economic sanctions Russia has been facing from Western countries is impacting the country in numerous ways. The sanctions now threaten to scuttle the ongoing plans for a manned lunar landing.
According to Yuri Koptev, head of the scientific-technical Council of Roscosmos, Russia's moon landing plans, as well as other current and planned space programs, will face budget cuts as a result of austerity measures the government has adopted in a effort to stem the impact of the sanctions. The current plans for a manned lunar landing currently call for a minimum of 2.4 trillion rubles ($34 Billion USD) until 2025.
Last April, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said that Roscosmos would continue implementing space exploration projects despite the economic difficulties. And that plans to put Russian cosmonauts on the surface of the moon would continue.
But the sanctions are having an impact and the lunar landing program may be at risk. As Koptev later said,
We don't rule out that further space budget cuts would continue in the upcoming years.
Even though Russia's space strategy charted by Roscosmos until 2030 regards the moon missions as a step toward a manned flight to Mars, extended budget cuts would be felt throughout the Russian space program, putting any lunar landing plans in doubt.