Russia to take Moon exploration as core of space program

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Russia will take the Moon exploration as a core of its space program for the next decade, Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said Friday.
“This year Roscosmos has prepared a long-term program of deep space exploration, with exploration of the Moon as the core,” the agency’s official Yuri Makarov said.
According to the Roscosmos official website, the new program is also aimed at exploring other planets in the Solar System.
The program envisages building infrastructure of the permanent lunar settlements near the Moon’s south Pole, along with explorations using unmanned vehicles.
Russian space industry is capable to solve technological problems met in the ambitious program, the Interfax news agency quoted Makarov as saying.
Roscosmos forecasts the first Russian manned expedition to the Moon could be sent in late 2020s. Once conducted successfully, it would be the first manned mission to the Moon after a break of more than 40 years following the U.S. Apollo program.
Before the manned expedition, three automatic missions, namely Luna-25, -26 and -27, are expected to be fulfilled.
The last lunar mission, Luna-24, was undertaken by the Soviet Union in August 1976, which proved presence of water in samples brought back from the Moon.
Luna-24 was also the last spacecraft that landed on the moon until the arrival of the Chinese Chang’e-3 in December 2013.