Russia to deploy Moon, Mars-mission space base after 2020

Updated: 2007-12-18 23:49

MOSCOW -- Russia plans to deploy an orbiting base for manned and unmanned missions to the Moon and Mars after 2020, the head of the Russian space agency said Tuesday.

"After 2020, Russia plans to create and put into orbit a near-Earth experimental manned complex to ensure transport operations to the Moon and Mars," Anatoly Perminov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

Russia has tentative plans for manned missions to Mars, but a Mars expedition should be international since substantial technical and financial resources would be needed, Perminov said.

"It is most likely that a manned expedition to Mars would be international. Experts from various countries are working on technical issues required for the implementation of such a large-scale project," Perminov said.

"When it is time to realize such a flight, the countries concerned are likely to unite their efforts," he added.

"Such an expedition to Mars, not to mention other planets of the Solar System will require a considerable amount of technical and financial resources."

A manned flight to Mars will be a continuation of the research into that planet, currently and in the near future carried out by means of automatic space vehicles, he said.

Perminov has said Russia planned to send cosmonauts to the Moon by 2025 and to establish a permanent-manned base there in 2027-2032.

According to Russia's space program through 2040, a manned flight to Mars is due to be carried out after 2035.

Between 2016-25, after the International Space Station (ISS) is put out of operation, Russia plans to deploy a platform in a low-earth orbit to assemble spacecraft, Perminov said.

The United States said the station should be scrapped in 2015, but Russia proposed using the Russian segment until 2020.

"The ISS will be transformed into a laboratory complex where research will be conducted," Perminov said.

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