At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union kick-started an ambitious space race with the US when its engineers successfully sent Uri Gagarin into space; a space race that gave us moon landing, Hubble, and countless other discoveries, and the process is still ongoing. However, NASA’s successful moon landing overshadowed any subsequent success stories by Soviet engineers in the space field, though there were many. However, Russia is now planning to ‘conquer’ the moon with an ambitious plan to send 12 cosmonauts who will then contribute to setting up a permanent lunar base by the end of 2030.
Russian Space Agency Roscosmos has announced that its engineers are in the process of designing a spacecraft with all the required tech to take part in the mission. The agency is also hoping to land a lunar probe in 2024 to carry out an extensive scouting mission for the possible locations for the permanent base.
Despite the fact that the plan is highly ambitious and is claimed to have peaceful objectives, such as mining for precious metals and other space research, there still are a few concerned parties – including the US. The news of a possible Russian base on the moon has caused a considerable stir among the skeptics, who suggest that considering Russia’ past in terms of military adventures, this could well be another military mission with sinister motives.
According to Olga Zharova of the Central Research Institute of Machine Building, the suggested Lunar base will initially be manned by no more than four people, however, after determining the conditions and carrying out any further installation of facilities, the base will be able to house 10 to 12 cosmonauts. The energy needs of the base will be met through a sub-surface energy station located near one of the moon’s poles. In the case of a radiation hazard or any nuclear attack, there will be a fallout shelter built fully underground to protect the crew from any dangerous situation.
However, the whole project is dependent on the successful completion of scouting out the mission that Roscosmos is hoping to launch by 2024. The mission will scout out possible locations for the main base and other installments, and it will determine the future of the Lunar base; that Roscosmos is determined to setup by 2030, this gives the engineers and scientist mere six years for scouting and building of the structure.
For the entire mission, Roscomos will be utilizing Angara-A5V which is heavy-lift carrier rocket still in the phases of development. The entire mission is expected to have six Angara launches from the start to the functioning of the Lunar base.
The aim is to build the Lunar base piece by piece sent on the moon by the Launches, much like how the International Space Station was constructed just outside earth’s atmosphere. Although there is a set plan for the launch and delivery of all the required material and equipment on the surface of the moon, however, the entire assembly of the base could take as long as ten years.