Research, Technology

The most ambitious space projects in Russia

This summer the Russian Space Agency(Roscosmos) has announced a number of ambitious projects. Among them there are interesting, expensive, dubious and quite realizable. It is unlikely that all these projects will be completed in full in the future, but if this happens, there will be another revolution in space exploration.

Moon base

1 Liquidator: Space Janitor

People have not yet mastered space, but have already managed itpollute. According to the Space Surveillance Network, about 16,200 objects revolve around the Earth, each of which can pose a threat to new spacecraft.

There is a certain chance that the plot of the film"Gravity," in which two astronauts find themselves cut off from Earth as a result of their spacecraft being destroyed by debris, could come true. In August, Roscosmos announced its plans to develop a spacecraft to clear the geostationary orbit of spent satellites and upper stages of space rockets. The project called "Liquidator" should be developed in the period 2018-2025 with a budget of about 10.8 billion rubles (about $300 million).

2. New spaceports

Roskosmos plans to spend 900 billionrubles ($24.3 billion) for infrastructure to support spaceports. These funds will be used to expand the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, as well as to complete the construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome and support the Baikonur space complex in Kazakhstan.

3. Earth remote sensing

Earth remote sensing is one of the mostweak points of the Russian space industry. Without a national space program, Russian scientists are forced to rely on information from international satellites.

The federal space program, which shouldto be developed in 2016-2025, promises to increase the presence of orbiting satellites in space by launching 26 high-tech satellites at a cost of 358 billion rubles ($9.7 billion). Among the projects included in the program are: Meteo-SSO, a global hydrometeorological and heliophysical system of four new generation satellites; Meteo-Glob, a global weather sounding system using visible and infrared frequencies; Resurs, a program of three satellites that will image the Earth in high and ultra-high resolution; "ES-SSO", a space surveillance system in case of emergencies of 10 satellites in orbit synchronous with the Sun; "ES-GSO", a similar emergency response system operating in the optical and radar bands in geostationary orbit.

4. Moon base

The Russian spacecraft was the first to circle the dark side of the moon and take soil samples, but we did not land people on the surface of the satellite.

At present, Roscosmos is seriously concernedproblems of lunar exploration. The agency plans to spend $280 million to develop the lunar base, delivering a mobile arm, grader, excavator, cable cover and mobile robot to the lunar surface in 2018-2025. It seems that Roskosmos wants to seriously settle on the moon.

5. Lunokhod

A moon base without a moon rover is money down the drain,therefore, Roscosmos is developing a new rover that will search for natural resources. The moon is full of resources like rare earth elements, titanium, uranium, which are scarce on Earth. It is also rich in helium-3, a possible fuel for nuclear fusion. The new lunar vehicle will be called the Lunamobile and should be completed by 2021 with four years of testing to follow.

6. Super heavy rocket for Mars

In September 2014 plans to developsuper-heavy missiles with a capacity of 120-150 tons of payload received preliminary approval from President Vladimir Putin. This rocket is one of the most expensive ideas of Roskosmos, and its budget is twice that of the Angara rocket, which is currently in use. The purpose of the future rocket is to fly to Mars. NASA is developing a similar apparatus for this purpose.

7. "Spektr-RG" for the study of black holes

In 2013 the Russian-German observatoryhigh-energy Spektr-RG was ready to launch to study galactic clusters and black holes with the eROSITA telescope. Although the idea has been in development since the 1980s, the project only got a restart in 2005 with a budget of $135 million. It was suspended several times due to delays related to the German development of the telescope. The observatory should be ready by 2017.