MOSCOW, December 31. /TASS/. The Russian company Lin Industrial currently developing the ultralightweight Taimyr rocket has announced readiness to build a base on the Moon 10 years after a corresponding decision is made. According to preliminary estimates, such a base will cost around 550 billion rubles (over $9.7 billion), the company's chief designer Alexander Ilyin told TASS.
A draft deep space exploration program moved for approval in the government offers to allocate around two trillion roubles ($35.5 billion) for the lunar exploration program in 2014-2025. Meanwhile, piloted expeditions to the Moon and deployment of first elements of lunar infrastructure are planned after 2030.
He noted that the project planned the use of already existing machinery and equipment which can be produced within the next five years. For instance, a modernized Angara heavy rocket is supposed to be used as a carrier rocket. A spaceship, which can be created on the basis of a descent capsule and a habitation module of Soyuz spaceships, as well as a landing lunar module on the basis of Fregat upper stage rocket, Ilyin said.
Lin Industrial plans to make 13 launches of heavy rockets to build a base on the Moon, and primarily 37 launches are needed to maintain living conditions on the base within five years.
The company has already picked up Malapert Mount on the southern lunar Pole as a place for first lunar settlement. “This is a quite flat plateau with the Earth in direct sight that provides good conditions for communications and is a comfortable place for landing. The sun is shining for 89% of the day on the mount, the night which takes place there only several times a year does not last more than 3-6 days,” Ilyin noted.
“A possible deadline of the project is ten years from the date of taking the decision, including five years directly for deployment of the base and work of crews,” he added.
Commenting on this initiative, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Space Research Lev Zeleny noted that the project heralded the interest regained to the exploration and development of the Moon. “This is still early to say about construction of a settlement,” the academician noted.
At first a landing site should be selected, technologies should be developed to deliver and provide for the life of the man on the Moon, tasks should be set for spacemen and radiation security should be ensured, Zeleny noted. A concept drafted by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos plans these aspects, the institute chief recalled.
“This is good that they are dreaming. There are talented people in their team. Several their developments can be useful in the future,” Zeleny added.