Monday, April 17, 2006

Russia eyes Mars

At a press conference last Tuesday, Energia Aerospace Corporation head Nikolai Sevastyanov announced that his company is planning a Martian expedition spacecraft, which may be launched in 2020-2030. The project will include a test mission to the Moon followed by a launch to Mars as soon as 2020. Soyuz FG AND proton rockets will deliver spacecraft elements to orbit and a modernized Soyuz 2 and new Angara rockets will be then take over. Soyuz manned spaceships and Progress freighters will be servicing the project until 2015, and then the new Klipper spacecraft (still on the drawing board) will be used afterwards. The full story can be found on the TASS website. Alas we get these stories quite frequently from Russia, and the best laid plans never seem to come to fruition. One suspects there is a constant battle in the Russian space program for funds and prestige amongst the various space design companies, and part of that requires a lot of blue sky thinking.