Even though Russia can’t reliably get a rocket to the moon or to Mars these days, that’s not stopping them from dreaming big. Shit, America and China are dreaming of moon bases and Mars missions, so why not Russia? Russia’s current plan involves having a permanent moon base as well as a series of small space stations for future manned missions to Mars by 2030.
The document lays out a blueprint for the country’s space industry to follow in the next 18 years, up to 2030. It’s rare for Russia to set a deadline for its future space plans.
By 2020, the six-seater Angara rocket will replace the Soyuz as the spaceship of choice for launching Russian payloads. It will launch from the new Vostochny cosmodrome in the east of Russia, which will replace the outdated Baikonur facility. Construction on Vostochny started in 2011, and is scheduled for completion in 2018.
By 2030, Russia will send robots to the Moon to collect samples. The program will be punctuated with a manned Moon landing — 60 years after Neil Armstrong’s Apollo mission. Payback, perhaps, for losing out on the major leg of the U.S. and Soviet space race.
The optimistic program also lays out plans for active exploration of other planets in the solar system, and ideas for a follow-up to the International Space Station: The ISS is only funded until 2020.
Prime Minister Vladmir Putin has made his feelings about space exploration clear. Speaking in 2011 on the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight, Putin said “Russia should not limit itself to the role of an international space ferryman. We need to increase our presence on the global space market.”