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MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. To fund preparations for the exploration of the Moon and Mars an international cooperation campaign will have to be launched and private investors invited to participate to raise the money required, the chief of Russia’s state-run corporation Roscosmos, Igor Komarov, has said.
"True, this looks a promising undertaking. True, apparently we will lack the funds to make it a development priority for the coming years. Sources will have to be identified through cooperation and by inviting private investors. Plans should begin to be made now," he said.
Roscosmos is discussing creating an international station in the Moon’s orbit, Komarov said.
"It is necessary to proceed from the low near-Earth orbit to lunar and Martian programs. An issue is under discussion to create an international station in the Moon’s orbit," the chief executive said at an academic conference on cosmonautics.
It emerged in the spring of 2016 that the Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energiya and the US Boeing were developing a joint project of a lunar orbital station in two versions: either two small living modules or one big module.
An SLS super-heavy carrier rocket being developed by NASA is expected to be used to deliver the station’s elements and the crew to the Moon’s orbit. In case of a multi-modular project, they are intended to be launched together with a US spacecraft Orion, which is also being developed by NASA.
Both versions envisage the work of four crewmembers on the orbital station. Expeditions are expected to last from 30 to 360 days. The Rocket and Space Corporation Energiya expects to start creating a near-Moon orbital platform in late 2022 and send the first crew to the orbiter from the first half of 2025.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in November that work had begun on the Russian president’s instruction to prepare documentation for developing a super-heavy-class carrier rocket to start creating a scientific lunar station either visited or inhabited.