Spaceflight Insider

Roscosmos envisions Russian rockets launching international missions to Moon, Mars

First launch of a Soyuz-2.1a from Vostochny Cosmodrome (2016-04-28 at 02:01 UTC)

First launch of a Soyuz-2.1a from Vostochny Cosmodrome at 02:01 UTC on April 28, 2016. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

Russia has high expectations for its future super-heavy-lift launch vehicle. Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov has recently laid out his hopes for the new rocket, underlining that he is longing to see interplanetary missions being launched by this heavy booster.

“I would like to see the liftoff of a future international space mission to the Moon or Mars from Vostochny on a Russian super heavy-duty launch vehicle,” Komarov said in an interview with Channel One Russia.

Komarov’s vision could come true around 2030 as the super-heavy-lift rocket named Energiya-5 is still in its preliminary development phase. Roscosmos estimates that development of the rocket and construction of the necessary infrastructure will consume about 1.5 trillion rubles ($25 billion). This level of funding should secure the launch date of Energiya-5’s maiden flight that is currently set for 2028.

Russia plans to launch its new super-heavy-lift rocket the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s Far East. Roscosmos intends to utilize this site in the future for a variety of space launches, including deep space exploration missions. Although the Cosmodrome is currently operational, the launch pads dedicated for heavier rockets, named PU1 and PU2, are still under construction.

Komarov’s statement comes about a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that Moscow eyes sending deep space missions from Vostochny in cooperation with other nations. Putin disclosed that Russia is especially interested in the exploration of Mars by 2030 jointly with U.S. partners.

Last week, Roscosmos signed a joint statement with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) regarding the creation of the Deep Space Gateway (DSG) cislunar station. As part of this agreement, the Russian space agency is committed to providing its future super-heavy-lift rocket as well as one to three modules for the need of the DSG project.

“Russia offers to use its future super-heavy space rocket, currently in the development phase, for taking parts and components to the Moon’s orbit,” Komarov said on September 27.

 

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Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski’s generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

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