Russia Approves Lunar Orbiter for 2015

Luna-Glob OrbiterCredit: Space Research Institute

Luna-Glob Orbiter
Credit: Space Research Institute

Source: Rianovosti, Russianspaceweb

In another sign that after years of decay and delays, Russia is serious about  revamping its space infrastructure, Vladimir Popovkin announced today that his agency Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, will launch a lunar orbiter mission in 2015 aboard a Soyuz-2.  Scheduled to lift off out of the yet to be completed Vostochny space launch complex in the nation’s Far East,  the mission, Luna-Glob  (Lunar Sphere) is intended to be the first of four planned robotic missions paving the way for an increased emphasis on lunar exploration in the second half of the decade.

The Luna-Glob mission has been on the drawing board for years, during which it has undergone a number of design changes.  Most recently, and following the Phobos-Grunt embarrassment, the mission concept which called for an orbiter and a lander was split into two separate spacecraft, with the orbiter launching a year in advance of the lander.  At one point the spacecraft was also intended to host four high-speed penetrators, but that component was subsequently removed over fears they could not survive impact.

On December 3, President Vladimir Putin approved a 2013 budget which raised space spending by 16.4% compared to the prior year, bringing it roughly on par with total spending by the European Space Agency at 5.2 billion.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious,  not only can Russia conduct crewed space launches from its own soil, it can also apparently pass a budget.

Posted in: Moon, Russian Space

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