Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Popovkin: 'To the Moon in Seven Years?'

Former Russian Defense Minister Vladimir
Popovkin has headed up the Russian Fed-
eral Space Agency (Roscosmos) less than a

Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, is currently heading up a national contest designed to select five new Russian cosmonauts. The competition, which began February 1, is open to all citizens of the Russian Federation and closes March 15. In a recent interview promoting the new round of cosmonaut recruitment Popovkin said training for those ultimately selected in the process would likely include preparation for expeditions to the lunar surface, as soon as 2020.

According to Zakutnyaya Olga, writing for The Voice of Russia, February 6, "On February 2, in his interview to ‘Echo of Moscow’ Vladimir Popovkin reminded listeners about the contest and made a short remark that ‘this team will be most likely trained for the Moon’. The head of Roscosmos also suggested that manned expedition to the Moon with long-term goals, a manned lunar base in particular, might be possible by 2020."

A month ago, in an interview broadcast by Vesti-FM, Popovkin said "Roscosmos was discussing plans for lunar exploration with European and American partners."

"The idea of flying people to the Moon after the Phobos-Grunt disaster may seem at least rather bizarre, even though manned space flights have never had such long period of dormancy, as the Russian planetary science experienced in last decades. However, it is not the mission itself but rather the fragmentary character of the Russian space plans and total absence of completed lunar missions after 1976’s Luna-24 sample return mission that makes one wonder at far too obvious discrepancy between the ever-changing plans and the too small achievements in the running of the current Federal Space Program."

To the Moon in seven years?
The Voice of Russia

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