BAIKONUR /Kazakhstan/, March 20. /TASS/. Russian manned flights to Mars may take place earlier than planned, if SpaceX CEO Elon Musk delivers on his plans to take people to the Red Planet, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.
"Manned (flights - TASS) will not be implemented soon - in 2030-2040. However, everything can change thanks to Elon Musk. He announced a flight to Mars much earlier. If he makes his plans happen, we could catch up, and the timeframes would change," he said answering a question on the target period for Russia’s planned flight to Mars.
Artemyev is the commander of a new expedition to the International Space Station, which is scheduled to blast off at 20:44 Moscow time on March 21, 2018. The Soyuz spacecraft is expected to dock to the orbital station 48 hours after blastoff (on March 23 at 22:41 Moscow time). The crew also includes NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold.