MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. A program to send humans to the Moon with four launches of Angara carrier rockets will cost 400 billion rubles (about $5.4 billion), Roscosmos Executive Director for Long-Term Programs and Science Aleksandr Bloshenko said on Monday.
"A version of a four-launch scheme [for the flight] to the Moon is available. It will require a hydrogen-powered Angara, which we are going to create in any case. By distributing financial costs, we get the figure of about 0.4 trillion [rubles]," Bloshenko said.
This program envisages using a lighter version of the Oryol spacecraft called Orlyonok. The relevant subprogram has been designed and will be submitted to the Russian government in June, the Roscosmos official said.
This version of the program is an attempt "to further optimize the cost and subsequently channel the funds for developing a super-heavy carrier system based on other technological principles," Bloshenko said, adding that Roscosmos had to use existing technologies in its current heavy carrier version as it was pressed for time.
Overall, the lunar program based on a super-heavy carrier and the entire infrastructure for manned space flights, a take-off and landing module and rescue means will cost 1.7 trillion rubles ($23 billion). This version of the program is currently under the government’s consideration, Bloshenko said.
"In his speech, the [Russian] president spoke about the start of the tests of a super-heavy carrier in 2028 but mentioned no payloads. We had to rework the program, using established standards. We understand that it is not needed to anyone, if taken separately and it costs 0.8 trillion rubles (without a take-off and landing module, additional Oryol spaceships, any lunar rovers and prototypes)," the Roscosmos official said.
Russia’s lunar program
All the three versions of the lunar program will be submitted to the Russian government for analysis.
Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said at the end of 2020 that the availability of two launch pads for the Angara carrier rocket (at the Vostochny and Plesetsk spaceports) from 2023 would make it possible to combine launches, assembling crewed spaceships in orbit. This would serve as the basic instrument for the start of lunar explorations, he said.
Russia plans to send the first human expedition to the Moon’s surface by 2030.