Russian Moon Plans Cancelled
Earlier this year, the Russian Space Agency Energia said that the the first Russian unmanned lunar mission would be performed by 2025, while a manned moon landing was planned for 2029.
But those plans are now cancelled - or at least postponed for the next ten years.
The news comes on the heels of a decree signed Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin dissolving the country's Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos.
That decree follows a tumultuous year for the agency as it saw it's ten-year budget cut -- twice -- the loss of several spacecraft, and a corruption probe into the misuse of over 92 billion rubles ($1.8 billion USD).
But that doesn't mean Russia is giving up on space.
Roscosmos will be reborn as a federal corporation starting January 1.
No one is really sure what that means but it will probably allow for more government oversight -- and possibly even insure the agency is better equipped to compete in the realm of commercial spaceflight.
But the changes completely eliminate any Russian moon plans for at least the next 10 years.
Piggy-backing the announcement of the changes to Roscosmos was an updated version of Russia's 10-year space plans called the Federal Space Program , or FSP for short. And in that plan was a clear statement that Russia will give up on manned flights to the Moon and related activities -- at least until after 2025.
According to the revised FSP, the Russian space industry will refrain from creating a lunar landing complex, a lunar orbital station, a lunar space suit and the system of robotic software for Moon flights, as reported by the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
This is a complete reversal from 2012, when Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the country's space industry, suggested a crewed landing in 2029 with follow up missions to set up a space research base on the Moon. He also personally pledged to control and manage all the processes related to its construction and functioning in the future.
But it's not surprising.
The suspension of Russian Moon plans allows Roscosmos to save some 88.5 billion rubles ($1.2 billion USD), according to Izvestia.
And with the 10-year budget already cut to over half it's pre-2015 amounts, the moon program was a prime target.
Source: Sputnik News