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MOSCOW, August 03, ITAR-TASS/. A final decision on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) participation in Russia’s lunar programme will be taken in December 2014, Igor Mitrofanov from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Space Research said on Sunday.
“Europeans want to cooperate with Russia on the lunar programme,” Mitrofanov, who is the director of the Institute’s nuclear planetology department, told the COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) Scientific Assembly. “The final decision on their participation will be taken at a ministerial conference of the European Space Agency’s member countries.”
He said his institute’s chief partner, the Lavorchkin Research and Production Association, was working on unmanned lunar stations Luna-25 (project Luna-Glob), Luna-26 and Luna-27 (both of the Luna-Resurs project). The Institute was developing research devices for these stations, which were planned to be launched in 2017, 2018 and 2019, he said.
According to Mitrofanov, the Luna-25 project may involve European mission control centres as backup for Russian ground-based centres. As for the Luna-26 project, specialists discuss possibilities for additional communication sessions using European ground antennae.
“Apart from that, Europeans want to equip the Luna-26 with a VHF transmitter to have an independent communications channel. The same is planned for the Luna-27 project,” he said.
The European Space Agency wants to make a draghead for the Luna-27 project like the one which is planned to be installed in a lander within the ExoMars Russia-ESA project, MItrofanov noted.
“Apart from that, the ESA wants to be responsible for high precision landing on the Moon. They can make an on-board system for that. If they decide not to join us, we will do it ourselves,” he added.