Russia. Luna-Glob and Luna-Resource — a study of the Moon continue

Long time no state resumed attempts to study the Moon, of which has grown an incredible amount of speculation: on the bases of the Americans and aliens on its surface. Of course, Russia does not claim that sends back in the near future 2 system: Luna-Glob and Luna-Resource, for these purposes, but who knows. I am glad that so far the rover Curiosity like as surf the Mars, we are on the alert.

Russia is waiting for a lot of progress in the field of space exploration. In 2015, an automatic interplanetary station "Luna-Glob" should be launched from the Baikonur East. This was reported today by the head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin.

According to the head of the agency, the lunar model will be the first spacecraft launched with a new cosmodrome in the Amur region. At the same time, "Luna-Glob" will be Russia's first lunar probe.

"We have every reason to believe that the timing of the start of operation Baikonur East — 2015 — will be met. Roskosmos has determined that as the payload of the first launch from the Baikonur East will "Luna-Glob". With it we will begin exploration of the moon, with a new quality, which is registered in the Federal Space Program and the State Russian Space Program "- quoted Popovkin, RIA" Novosti ".

It is expected that the probe "Luna-Glob" will be greatly simplified and facilitated. First, its main task will be working off of the platform. Also, instead of 34 kg of scientific equipment probe lucky only 20 kilograms. Largely due to the lower weight, which will not interplanetary stations rig.

It should be noted that in 2015 only Russian study moon begins. One year later, the satellite earth orbiter will fly "Luna-Glob-2", and in 2017 — a heavy lander "Luna-Resource" with an expanded set of scientific instruments, according to "Rossiyskaya Gazeta".

The importance of a successful launch of probes is difficult to overestimate. Recently, the Federal Space Agency pursue failure. After the loss of the automatic station "Phobos-Grunt" in the November 2011 plan Russian lunar mission has been completely changed. If no state of emergency, the probe "Luna-Resource" would have gone to the moon as early as this year, and two more machine "Luna-Glob" — in 2014.

Revival of interest in the Moon

Indeed, the Russian "for some time working on the revival of its highly successful lunar program," — said James Head, renowned space scientist, member of the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University.

Head studied the archives of the Moon program, in which the former Soviet Union successfully completed three unmanned mission to the moon bringing samples (Luna 16, 20 and 24), and then dropped two well-equipped instruments rover — Lunokhod-1 (Moon 17) and Lunokhod-2 (Moon 21), and launched several orbiters — all more than 35 years ago.

"These are major achievements that have proven amazing capabilities of robots, failed to repeat to anyone, including the United States," — says Head.

Russian offer to their original missions, witty and unusual solutions engineering, looking ahead, with a focus on polar landers and search for volatile substances in polar and subpolar regions, says Head.

"It is very likely that the mission of bringing samples to focus on discoveries made by previous The lander and the Lunokhod near the poles of the Moon" — continues to Head — "and will take delivery of samples with volatile compounds, using special equipment for storage and transportation."

The plans — renewed interest in Russia to the Moon. Here is an apparatus Luna-Glob

The estimated landing site

At Brown University Head and his team for many years, working with colleagues from the Russian Space Research Institute and the Institute of Vernadsky. By working together, the team selected the options landing sites for lunar spacecraft, as well as possible routes for future missions to the moon rovers and delivery of lunar samples.

"Moonlight Russian strategy is clearly aimed at the achievement of broader national goals", — said Head. Thus, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said recently that Russia should build a large lunar base for the progress of science, and that the "most important task" can contribute new breakthroughs in science and build a new vector of development of the Russian space program.

Rogozin said the moon base, including the astronauts should be a starting point for future deep-space exploration projects.

"While the United States seems to have abandoned the study of manned and unmanned lunar surface in the near future, the Russian explicitly consider them as the possibility of international and national leadership, as well as the engine of technological development", — concludes Head. — "And they are moving very fast."

The tragic loss of a strategic vision

In October last year, Wesley Huntress, Jr.., Honorary director of the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, began working with Michael Marovo, professor, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in order to detail the history and future of the Russian program of unmanned planetary exploration missions and the moon.

Speaking in Arlington, Va., at a symposium on the 50th anniversary of Planetary Research, Huntress said "the tragic loss of a strategic vision, initiative and competence" in the implementation of unmanned space exploration in the former Soviet Union (now Russia).

They have become hostages of the backward technology in the field of electronics, poor management of engineering systems, a lack of ground-based testing and complex, confusing, rigid state control and logistics, said Hantres.

According Marov, the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the subsequent social and economic upheavals significantly impact on the Russian space program, in particular, on the development of the solar system.

Marov stressed in his speech that the Russian space budget was reduced several times, and the lion's share of its funding goes to support the space station Mir and software, docking station Mir and the shuttle and subsequent participation in the ISS project.

"Production facilities are partially destroyed, cooperation links are broken, a lot of skilled personnel in the field of space science and technology lost," — said Marov.

Lessons learned

Analyzing last year's launch, destruction and fiery return to Earth destined for Mars probe Phobos-Grunt, Marov said that, basically, the failure was caused by factors that are rooted in the harsh 1990s, the consequences of which "have not been overcome … but the lessons already recovered. "

Contrary to the accumulated problems, the Russian unmanned space program is still alive. "Now the situation is much more optimistic," — says Marov.

Indeed, Russia has an enviable record of achievement in the study of Venus, the Moon and Halley's Comet — said Marcia Smith, editor of SpacePolicyOnline.com.

"Despite the setbacks, Russia today has grand plans of development of planets that are achievable technically," — said Smith — "but are limited financially, which could lead to delays in their implementation and the growing interest in international cooperation."

The Russian Luna-Resource mission is planned as part of the program to return to the exploration of the Moon

Find more opportunities

Asif Siddiqui, associate professor of the History Department of Fordham University in New York, shares this view. His research interests — achievements of the Soviet Union and Russia in space technology.

"I never had a Russian lack of grandiose plans, but the list of achievements in the past 20 years, apparently, is not impressive," — says Siddiqui. — "I do not see any fundamental changes that could affect the situation. Despite the fact that there have been some positive developments, such as collaboration with the European Space Agency and India seem to be exploring other opportunities.

"The failure of the Phobos-Grunt was a huge disappointment" — continues Siddiqui — "as they were preparing this mission for a long period of time." In general, he believes that the Russian space industry is now faced with several problems: problems of quality control, to some extent, corruption and the brain drain, as well as funding problems — money is tight.

"Add it all together and you get a very risky situation," — warns Siddiqui.

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