It has been a while since man stepped on the Moon and Roscosmos wants to fix that, it’s the Russian Federal Space Agency for those who don’t know it by its more common name, the agency has announced today that it will be sending humans to the Moon. The announcement was made at a space and technology conference in Moscow by head of Roscosmos Energia Vladimir Solntsev. This is just one of the steps towards the ultimate goal of Roscosmos which is to establish and maintain a proper base station on the Moon.
Going to the Moon isn’t like jumping on the next plane out, at least not yet, quite a significant amount of work needs to be done before the Russian agency gets humans on the Moon once again.
Solntsev revealed today that the agency has started building the spacecraft for this mission with first flight into space expected to take place in 2021. After its initial flight the spacecraft might be docked with the International Space Station in 2023. If all goes according to plan then an unmanned version of the spacecraft will be sent to the Moon in 2025 before humans are finally allowed onboard for a sortie to the Moon hopefully by 2029.
Recent reports suggest that the European Space Agency might hitch a ride with the Russians, the European agency has reportedly been in talks with Roscosmos to work together on a mission to send a lander to the Moon’s south pole. China also expects to send humans to the Moon via its own space program in the 2020s, Russia has conveyed its interest in working with China to establish a lunar colony.
What about NASA you ask? The agency is focused on sending humans to Mars, that might happen around 2030s if everything goes according to plan. As of right now NASA has no plans for sending humans back to the Moon.