2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
The lunar module of the Apollo 17 mission and the lunar vehicle are the last manned vehicles to visit the lunar surface
Rocket and Space Corporation Energia published its annual report for 2017, which, among other things, contains data on the development of a takeoff and landing module for manned missions to the lunar surface. The corporation's specialists have proposed a scheme in which the elements of the module are delivered to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway space station, and then assembled by astronauts.
The Russian manned lunar program is based on the creation and use of the international project Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. It provides for the creation of a modular habitable station in lunar orbit, which will be used both for studying the Moon and for preparing for future missions to more distant space bodies, including Mars. You can read more about this project in our material "Intermediate Station".
Initially, the delivery of modules and crew, including the Russian one, will be carried out using an SLS rocket, which should make its first flight by 2020. Subsequently, Russia plans to use its own technology for this - a super-heavy launch vehicle, the tests of which are scheduled for 2028, and a manned spacecraft, which is to go on its first unmanned flight in 2022.
In the report of RSC Energia, the corporation stated that it had begun work on the next stage of the lunar program - the delivery of astronauts to the lunar surface. The corporation's specialists have begun to shape the technical appearance of the lunar take-off and landing apparatus. The report also says that experts suggested using a scheme for expeditions to the lunar surface, in which elements of the take-off and landing complex will be delivered to the station, which will be collected and stored on it.
Launches to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway on the Russian super-heavy rocket will take place in two stages. Between 2028 and 2032, the first version of the rocket will be used for this, which will be able to deliver 20 tons of payload to circumlunar orbit. At this stage, the rocket will deliver the cargo necessary for the construction and maintenance of the orbital station, as well as landing on the moon.
In the second phase, which will take place from 2032 to 2035, the launches will take place, inter alia, in order to build a base on the lunar surface. For this, the second version of the rocket will be used, in the third stage of which the RD0150 engines operating on a hydrogen-oxygen mixture will be used, due to which the mass of the payload delivered to the circumlunar orbit will increase from 20 to 27 tons.
In addition to a manned lunar program, Russia is also preparing for unmanned missions to explore the moon. In 2019, the Luna-25 lander is to be launched, designed to study the lunar soil and other tasks for the study of the Earth satellite. At the beginning of the year, Russian researchers selected two potential landing sites in the moon's southern hemisphere.