MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Russian state-run space corporation Roscosmos will begin working on a mission to Mars soon instead of the ExoMars project, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin has told reporters.
"We have responsibility to our science, we must do this. <…> We are to begin working on putting the mission to Mars into practice soon," Rogozin said.
He doubted that a Mars rover would be necessary for the success of the mission.
"The landing module itself is a scientific station. It will be enough for the mission to succeed. We will simply repeat what we had already done before, but I have great doubts whether they [Europeans] will succeed without us," he added.
Rogozin stressed that Russia already has a carrier rocket and a launch facility.
"The Angara rocket is about to complete its flight trials, as stage two of the Vostochny Cosmodrome will be ready soon," he said. "It won’t be hard to recreate the Kazachok landing module, we have all designs at our disposal."
In his opinion, it will take six years or maybe more for the European Space Agency (ESA) to recreate the landing module for the ExoMars mission.
"Six years are the most optimistic scenario," Rogozin added.
Earlier, the ESA said its Governing Board had found it impossible to go ahead with cooperation within the framework of the Russian-European ExoMars mission in the current situation. The ESA said the decision was made unanimously at the Governing Board’s meeting in Paris. Earlier, the ESA said the launch of ExoMars was unlikely due to the anti-Russian sanctions imposed over Ukraine.
In turn, Rogozin said on March 18 that Roscosmos would go ahead with launching a research mission towards Mars in defiance of the European Space Agency’s pullout from the ExoMars project.