Russia Works on Industrial Development of Moon — Expert

Mos News
Thursday April 12, 2007

Russia is working on a space transport system that could eventually lead to the industrialization of the moon, the Reuters news agency quoted a Russian space expert as saying.

Thirty-eight years after the United States put the first man on the moon, Russia could reach it using Soyuz rockets, the head of the Russian space company RKK Energia, Nikolai Sevastianov, told the Vedomosti daily.

“It is time to think about industrial development of the moon. We are sometimes criticized for making such suggestions too early,” Sevastianov was quoted as saying in an interview released on Wednesday.

“But it is time to do this given the limits to natural reserves on Earth and the pace of civilization’s progress. Nor can we dismiss the idea of outsourcing harmful industries into space.”

Sevastianov said Energia was working on a new space transport system called Kliper/Parom.

“We can start flying to the moon using the Soyuz ships and those technologies that we already have. As for industrial development, that will be with the new technologies that the Kliper system will give us.”

On Monday an executive from the Space Adventures travel agency, who in cooperation with Russia has arranged five tourist space flights, said a trip around the moon was within reach and the next step would be landing adventurers on the moon itself.

“I think it’s important to send private people to the moon,” Chris Faranetta, the vice president of orbital spaceflight at the agency, told Reuters at Russian mission control near Moscow.

One of his Soyuz rocket trips delivered U.S. space tourist Charles Simonyi to the International Space Station on Monday.

The tourists have paid between $20 million and $25 million each for their training and trips to the space station. A flight around the moon would cost about $100 million, Faranetta said.

“Technically, the (moon) program is very achievable ... We are not building things from scratch,” he said.

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