Over the past 4.5 billion yearsThe surface of the moon is exposed to solar and cosmic radiation, after which its soil turns into regolith - gray and dry residual soil. For many, surprising is the fact that it contains water that can be collected and used in long-term space missions. The European Space Agency is well aware of this, and therefore announced its intention to begin mining the lunar soil in 2025. Of course, many aerospace companies of Europe will come to his aid.
The announcement was made at a very significant time -on the night of the lunar eclipse, in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the first manned missions to the moon. To succeed in the extraction of lunar soil, the space agency contracted a fairly young company ArianeGroup, which was founded in 2015 by Airbus and Safran SA. The development of the Lunokhod will be done by the German startup PTScientists, and the ground control will be carried out by the specialists of the Belgian company Space Application Services.
A launch vehicle will be used for launch."Arian-64" with four accelerators. In fact, it is a heavy modification of the Ariane-6 rocket with increased power. The original rocket is intended only for outputting a payload to a low reference or geo-transfer orbit, and its first flight is scheduled for 2020.
The mission is positioned as "100 percentEuropean Consortium ”and includes means for launching spacecraft, sending them to the lunar orbit, performing landings and establishing communications with the Earth. According to André-Hubert Roussel, head of the ArianeGroup, the mission to collect lunar soil is a great opportunity to test the capabilities of the Ariane-64.
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