KOROLYOV, Moscow region, July 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian lunar program is well planned, but its implementation drags on, Energia Corporation head Vitaly Lopota said upon the successful landing of the 30/31 expedition of the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday.
The landing module of Soyuz TMA-03M carrying three astronauts aboard touched down in the Kazakh steppe at 12:15 p.m. Moscow time on Sunday. The astronauts - Oleg Kononenko of Russia, Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency and Donald Pettit of NASA - had spent over 192 days in orbit.
The lunar program scenarios, which have been discussed for the past few months, were suggested for the first time in 2009, Lopota said. ”The latest technologies were presented at the International Aerospace Show in 2009. The Russian innovations were noticed by foreign partners, such as the U.S. Lockheed Martin and the European Astrium. These organizations and Energia had analyzed the potential by February. It is a pity that Russia takes so long to decide on the scenarios developed back in 2009.”
“The Moon is the best range for testing space technologies for high orbits and flights to Mars,” Lopota said.