Russia to Launch Moon Probe in 2015
Russia will launch an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2015, as part of its plan to establish a fully robotic lunar station. The new Moon orbiter, called Luna – Glob will lift off from the Vostochny space port in Russia’s Far East after several test launches, Federal Space Agency Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin said.
Luna – Glob is the first of four missions planned before the creation of a fully robotic lunar base scheduled for after 2015, ‘Ria Novosti’ reported.
The orbiter will have a payload of 120kg, including equipment for astrophysics experiments, dust monitors, and plasma sensors to study ultrahigh – energy cosmic rays. The Moon exploration project is part of the Federal Space Program dating back to the late 1990s. It was put on hold due to financial restrictions and resurrected several years later. Earlier, the mission was postponed twice.
Roscosmos had announced a $300,000 tender to develop a blueprint of a heavy rocket carrier that would be capable of carrying manned spacecraft to the Moon.
Popovkin previously said country’s planned manned spacecraft capable of flights to the Moon will not fly until 2018, the report said. Russia’s space program suffered a slew of setbacks in recent years, most of them blamed on faulty hardware.
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