MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. The CEO of Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, doubts that the US-initiated lunar program Artemis will be implemented in its current shape.
"I don’t have great faith in the Artemis program. To a large extent [President Donald] Trump’s lunar project was meant for domestic consumption. It was a means for the Republican Party to flex its muscles," Rogozin said during a round-table conference on the effects of changes to US space exploration policies on Monday.
Rogozin doubts that the United States’ Democratic administration will push ahead with this program. "At least, I am certain that the emphases will be placed differently," he believes.
Rogozin recalled that last June the Chinese partners approached Roscosmos with a proposal for lunar cooperation with European countries.
"I am not certain that the issue on the agenda will be some conglomerate that may eventually result in the creation of a common lunar base or some common orbital vehicles," he added.
In the spring of 2019, NASA rolled out a draft lunar program called Artemis, which will consist of three stages.
Stage one (Artemis 1) provides for a crewless flight of the Orion vehicle propelled by the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket around the Moon and its return to Earth.
Stage two (Artemis 2) envisages a crewed mission around the Moon.
And at the third stage of the project (Artemis 3) NASA hopes to land astronauts on the Moon in 2024 and then send a crew towards Mars in the mid-2030s. The first phase of the program is due in 2021, and the second one, in 2023.
Earlier, Rogozin said that Russia would most probably avoid large-scale involvement in the US plan for creating a Moon orbiter under the Artemis program, because in its current shape the project pursues mostly US aims. Roscosmos might take part in an international space station project in the Moon’s orbit only on parity terms with NASA, he said.