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MOSCOW, April 9 (Itar-Tass) – The decision on developing an ultra-heavy lift rocket will be made within the next few days, President of the Energia rocket and space corporation Vitaly Lopota told a news conference on Tuesday.
"A program of manned flights to the moon is possible when the booster rocket masses 70 tons. Then we can hope for ballistic circumnavigation of the moon," Lopota said, "the ship will mass 20 tons. To enable it to reach the moon, it needs another 40 tons of accelerator unit. To return the ship, we need an extra 20 tons, and landing on the moon requires another 20 to 30 tons."
The Energia president noted that a 130-ton booster will be developed by 2030.
In his opinion, deep space exploration is only possible in international cooperation. Answering a question if a new space exploration breakthrough was possible for Russia, he noted that deep space exploration was a task for the international community; "nobody else can do it effectively."
"The vehicle which can deliver an expedition to Mars will weigh 500 tons. Nobody should attempt exploring deep space on his own: it has no prospects," Lopota said.