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Two Luna 27 probes to cost only one-third more than one — program chief

At the same time, Lev Zeleny emphasized the need for making identical service systems for the two vehicles

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Two Luna-27 space probes will cost only 30-35% more than one, Lev Zeleny, the chief of the lunar program’s first stage has, told TASS.

"The manufacture of another vehicle will cause the entire expedition to become more expensive - but not by two times, but by 30-35%, because one mockup will be tested for two replicas. This saves a lot of effort on putting the final touches to the product," said Lev Zeleny, the research director of the Space Research Institute (SRI) under the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). A relatively small increase in costs will multiply the efficiency of the science mission.

At the same time, he emphasized the need for making identical service systems for the two vehicles.

"Even small amendments will require different testing. As for research payloads, some devices can be removed or replaced with little or no effect on the costs. The service systems should be completely identical," he said.

Zeleny said that the proposal for creating another Luna-27 came from Roscosmos. The scientists welcomed the idea.

"Nevertheless, the research significance of such a twin mission still needs to be proven to the government, which is to make up its mind whether this lunar program is worth funding," he concluded.

Proposed Luna-27 mission

The Luna-27 mission is to test techniques for conducting safe, high-precision landings on the Earth's natural satellite, as well as to conduct research of the Moon in the area of the South Pole.

On Tuesday, Yuri Borisov, CEO of Russia’s Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, said that his organization was considering a RAS proposal for creating two Luna-27 vehicles to enhance reliability and ensure that the goals of the research mission be achieved.