Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin (@Rogozin) has said that NASA had asked Roscosmos to create a lunar version of the Soyuz spacecraft as a backup manned space transport system for flights to the Moon. He didn’t offer further details about how the program may change, but said plans for a surface base would remain in it. The orbital manned flight is set for 2023, and the first manned ISS mission – for 2024.
The suspension of Soyuz flights could affect a string of planned launches and returns to Earth. NASA mothballed its space-shuttle program in 2011, and since then has been paying Russia about $ 80 million for each trip ferrying a U. S. astronaut to the station. Moreover, both SpaceX’s and Boeing’s rocket programs have run into delays, as is often the case in the aerospace industry. While the Soyuz spacecraft has been delivering crews to space for decades, with a history of reliability over that time, changes in the industry mean that Russia is now struggling to keep its spaceflights safe, said an expert on the Russian space program.
“NASA will not pay, it is planned to carry out all the work at own expense”, the source said. “We plan to organize the flight in the spring of next year”, Rogozin tweeted.
We have launch vehicles and the piloted spacecraft. Sources within Roscosmos tell Popular Mechanics that over the past few months, Russian specialists have worked on a new lunar exploration concept, making Rogozin feel bullish about the future.
The ISS has been continuously crewed since the year 2000. As our partners are finalising their systems, we ‘re assessing remaining technical details and schedules for flight tests with and without crew”. Along with SpaceX, Boeing is under contract from Nasa to fly astronauts to the space station. The space agency has been counting on Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there.
The source noted that the idea has received preliminary approval from Roscosmos officials and been dubbed the ‘Kiberekipazh’ (CyberCrew FEDOR)
A team of two Fedor robots is proposed to be sent to the ISS in August 2019, RIA reports. Fedor (FEDOR – the final experimental study of the demonstration object) – the robot, which should be the first pilot of the new Russian spacecraft “Federation”. From the latest achievements, it is possible to single out the fact that the android learned to spin the twine, since it can work in a warehouse. Initially, he developed the order of the Ministry of Emergency Situations as a robot rescuer, but later Roscosmos was interested in them.
Roscosmos is also collaborating with other space agencies on the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a project to build a manned space station orbiting Moon, which would serve as a relay point for missions to the satellite and beyond, where spacecraft could refuel as necessary.
The ISS is one of the few areas of Russia-US cooperation that remains unaffected by the slump in relations between the countries and Washington’s sanctions. Russia’s Soyuz capsules currently are the only way for humans to reach the orbiting laboratory. For now, the United States relies on Moscow to carry its astronauts to the ISS which was launched 20 years ago. In a future, American astronauts will be flying American built rockets into space from American soil. But these private spaceships won’t be ready to fly astronauts for a while yet; SpaceX’s first crewed test flight is currently scheduled for June 2019 and Boeing’s for August of that year. The two companies have also developed new spacesuits, modified their launch pads and established mission control teams to support the upcoming flights.
Energia will carry out checks for possible defects on all Soyuz ships and unmanned Progress ships used for cargo at its production site outside Moscow and at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, RIA Novosti reported, citing a space industry source. Also, basic elements and technologies of the Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket currently under development will be used to create the super-heavy launch vehicle.