MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. The creation of the Soyuz MS spacecraft’s version with the enhanced thermal and radiation shield for flights to the Moon will cost about $400 million, Head of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday.
The Soyuz was initially designed as a spacecraft for the Moon’s exploration and, therefore, it has the potential to boost its thermal and radiation protection, the Roscosmos chief said.
"We are now considering using this spacecraft for flights around the Moon, including as a commercial project. The project’s initial cost may equal about $400 million: this involves creating the spacecraft and organizing one mission," Rogozin said.
A modernized Soyuz spacecraft can be launched to the Moon using a two-launch scheme: an upgraded Soyuz spaceship is launched aboard a Soyuz carrier rocket and is temporarily docked with the International Space Station (ISS) and then a booster is launched with the help of an Angara heavy rocket. After that, the booster and the spaceship are assembled on the orbital outpost, after which they make a flight around the Moon, perform a gravitational maneuver and return to Earth," Rogozin said.
From the viewpoint of thermal and radiation protection, a modernized Soyuz spacecraft will feature "actually a second hull," the Roscosmos chief said.
The Roscosmos chief earlier said that NASA had requested Russia to develop the Soyuz spacecraft’s version for flights to the Moon to have a backup space transportation system. The United States plans to implement the Deep Space Gateway program with the participation of other countries to create a permanent lunar orbital station to regularly receive spacecraft from Earth.