Russian lunar odyssey begins in 2025, experts predict
Since the first flight into space in 1961. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's leading role in the difficult fate of the world's manned spaceflight played financiers and politicians. In many cases, it is the political will and economic factors, and not the technical difficulty of the task, depended the fate of extraterrestrial grandiose projects.
Contrary to the long crisis that shook the global economy, the space race continues today. Studies in orbit extremely hostile and dangerous to human environment where the most trifling mistake can cost a life, do not stop. The other day, another long-term expedition returned to earth from the International Space Station, after spending 126 days in orbit. Following the ISS on December 19 to go, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, NASA astronaut Thomas Mashburn and Canadian Chris Hadfield.
RBC found out today how much spending power in the world's leading space research, and whether Russia in the foreseeable future acquire its own base on the moon.
The collapse of the "World"
The forerunner of the inhabited International Space Station (ISS) was a Soviet space station "Mir". By the end of 1970. the Soviet Union already had a successful experience in operating the seven stations "Salute", in which Russian and later foreign astronauts spent a total of more than 1600 days. In February 1979. Soviet scientists and engineers began developing the base and scientific equipment for the future station "Mir".
However, the fate of the "World" events intervened the next round of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union: towards 1984. work on the space station actually froze, leaving all the power and money to create spaceship "Buran". Domestic orbital spaceplane ship was created by order of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR at the peak of the American system of Space Shuttle (Space Shuttle). At the same time, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced the program of the so-called "Star Wars" — a long-term program of missile defense with space-based elements.
The U.S. space shuttles were able to bring to low Earth orbit and 24 tons of cargo and up to eight astronauts. Soviet leaders feared that the United States will be able to use the new spacecraft for military purposes (in particular for the delivery to orbit nuclear weapons). Another military-technical confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union slowed the project of the Soviet space station. He was revived only by the personal order of the Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Grigory Romanov.
As a result, in February 1986. went into orbit base unit of the future station, which over the next ten years, docked six more modules. Station "Mir" is the first universal orbital research station.
Over 15 years of service at the station "Mir" visited more than 100 cosmonauts and astronauts from 12 countries, including the Russian-American program "World-Shatll." It was held on 23 th of experiments, and in 1994 and 1995. Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov set the world record for continuous stay in space — 437 days and 18 hours.
By the end of 1990 after a collision with a truck "Progress" at the station began to occur numerous breakdowns that have become the formal reason for the refusal of its further exploitation. The Russian government considered it inappropriate to allocate $ 200 million a year (about 5.5% of the current annual budget of the Russian Federal Space Agency) on the content of the "decrepit" station. Not helped numerous protests by academics and cosmonauts Soviet training or rescue projects "Peace", including a proposal for filmmakers shooting in the station blockbuster. March 21, 2001. Flooded the Russian "Mir" with is on it the unique equipment in the Pacific Ocean off of the islands of Fiji, thereby losing the monopoly on permanently inhabited space. At that time, the first expedition was already working on the International Space Station, where a significant role belongs to the American space agency NASA.
The black hole of the world economy
Space exploration has always been not only dangerous, but also very costly exercise. Thus, the costs of construction and operation of the ISS with the start of work on the project in 1980. to 2010. estimated at more than $ 150 billion annual U.S. contribution to the ISS is about $ 2.5 billion each year, an impressive amount spent on the program of the international space station the European Space Agency (about 2 billion euros, including the contribution of the European Commission and national agencies) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA (the maintenance module "Kibo" spent 350-400 million, the module itself is worth 2.8 billion dollars).
According to the head of manned programs of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) Alexei Krasnov, in the Russian segment of the ISS scientific instruments about 15 billion rubles. "If we talk about the cost of the entire Russian segment of the station — more than 100 billion rubles. Costs for Russian manned space programs account for more than 30 billion rubles. per year ", — he said. Given that the Russian Federation has the right to find the three astronauts on the ISS (for half the members of the crew), stay in the orbit of each of them costing the Russian budget each year at 10 billion rubles.
Significantly reduce the cost of developing vehicles that are included in the Russian segment of the ISS — module "Zarya" (owned by NASA), «Star", "Pierce", "Search" and "Breaking Dawn" — helped the Soviet reserve, created while working on the station " the world. "
In the year of Russia performs four manned launch 4-5 more cargo ships are sent into orbit with food, clothes and equipment for the astronauts.
Since the beginning of the 2000s. Roscosmos budget rose from the read billions to tens of billions of rubles. In 2005. He was more than 25 billion rubles., and in 2012. overstep the mark of 100 billion rubles. No less a sum Russian space agency expects to receive in the coming year. If 5-6 years ago Roscosmos and NASA budgets differ by an order (for the Americans), today Russia gradually begins to catch up with the United States. "And rightly so, because the space can not be cheap — says A.Krasnov. — It's a question of safety that is at the forefront. "
However, according to the order of numbers, vast space, like a huge black hole, is able to "digest" of any, even the most fantastic budget.
The second "crusade" on the moon could begin in 2025.
At one time, for economic reasons, the program was phased out of the national American space station Freedom, in the past, the United States closed the program, "shuttle", and space shuttles themselves were sent to museums.
However, the U.S. administration does not abandon ambitious plans for the resumption of its lunar program and manned flight to Mars by the mid-2030's. NASA's budget for next year is more than $ 17 billion, of which the scientific research will direct nearly $ 5 billion and $ 4 billion will be invested in the development of new delivery vehicles and spacecraft (including extra-heavy rocket Space Launch System and versatile manned spacecraft Orion ).
Following the Americans about the "bases on the Moon" and spoke in Russian. Recently, the idea was voiced by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who said that the lunar program "will give impetus to the development of space industry," becoming the "locomotive" of domestic space. Sketch of a heavy class rocket capable to deliver a manned spacecraft to the moon, research and production center SCRMC shall submit to the Federal Space Agency of Russia in the next year.
In the Russian Space Agency said that the program is to establish a manned space systems in orbit around the moon may appear by 2023-2025gg. "This may be a lunar orbit," Lagrange point "and the study of this point satellite using robotics, as well as separate expeditions to the moon with a manned station in lunar orbit," — said the head of RBC A.Krasnov Space Agency's manned space programs. Project to create a base on the moon, in his opinion, can only be international. "Do not pull it cost not only we, but no other country", — he said.
According to a senior officer of Roscosmos, more efficiently should be considered an interim solution — the establishment of a manned base on the satellite orbit the Earth. "On the moon, no one will fly with the same frequency as the ISS. Human presence in space in the region of the moon will be measured in weeks — just a few weeks expeditions a year. Performing other tasks to ensure the robotic means, "- said A.Krasnov.
According to official data, the program "Apollo" (the program adopted by the United States in 1961. For landing on the moon) were made 6 successful landings of NASA astronauts on satellite. As you know, the first American set foot on the moon Neil Armstrong in 1969. Last expedition on the program "Apollo" was made in 1972. The landing of the Soviet cosmonauts to the Moon did not take place.
It is unclear whether Russia in the next decade to take revenge for the lost U.S. race to the moon in 1960. One thing is clear — the world's major powers are not going to turn off the program for the development of deep space. What place will the Russian in this race of space technologies, will again depend on the political will and economic opportunities.
In the next article RBC "Star Wars" read about how Russia is going to cash in on growing protein in space as necessary provisions for a flight to Mars and how they live today astronauts to the ISS.
Author Alexander Volobuev, RBC