Russia Puts Forward a Multi-Decade Space Exploration Program
JERUSALEM, Oct. 14, 2015 (EIRNS)—Vladimir Solntsev, President of Russia’s prestigious Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, presented a talk on "Prospects of Human Spaceflight: A Russian View," to a packed room here today at the Oct. 12-16 International Astronautical Congress. He reminded the audience of Russia’s "several generations" of space stations, starting in the 1970s, and said that the next generation of space infrastructure, after the International Space Station, will be more specialized, for specific practical purposes, such as for industry.
Concerning deep space exploration, beyond low Earth orbit, (which the Russians have never carried out with crew), he discussed the extensive development of new capabilities that is necessary. In an interview with EIR, Solntsov characterized the new rockets, crewed vehicles, and other capabilities as a "new space infrastructure," which, he stressed, will require international cooperation.
Echoing agreement with all other space-faring nations, except the United States, the head of Energia said that the Moon is the next priority, and that "a lunar base is required as the first phase of deep space exploration," before any program to go to Mars. On the Moon, resources could be exploited that would later be used for missions to Mars.
Solntsov outlined a complex architecture for a series of lunar missions, which would start with automated landers that could establish surface infrastructure. These would require multiple launches of components, rocket stages, habitats, and crew vehicles, in preparation for a crew. He also added that the technology that is developed for the deep space manned missions, could be used for planetary protection.