President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the first segment of Russia’s new orbital station, which Moscow sees as the next logical development in space exploration after the International Space Station (ISS), should be put into operation by 2027.
In a meeting with space industry officials, Mr. Putin also vowed to proceed with Russia’s lunar program despite the failure in August of its first moonshot in 47 years, Russian news agencies reported.
Mr. Putin said Moscow’s decision to extend to 2028 its participation in the ISS, now 25 years old, was a temporary measure.
“As the resources of the International Space Station run out, we need not just one segment, but the entire station to be brought into service,” Mr. Putin was quoted as saying of the new Russian orbital station.
“And in 2027, The first segment should be place in orbit.”
He said the development of the station had to proceed “all in good time” or the Russian program risked falling behind in terms of the development of manned space flight.
The new station, he said, had to “consider all advanced achievements of science and technology and have the potential to take on the tasks of the future”.
Yuri Borisov, head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, endorsed Mr. Putin’s position as a means of maintaining the country’s capabilities in manned space flight.
“The ISS is getting old and will come to an end sometime around 2030,” Russian agencies quoted him as telling reporters.
“If we don’t start large-scale work on creating a Russian orbital station in 2024 it is quite likely that we will lose our capability because of the time gap. What I mean is the ISS will no longer be there and the Russian station won’t be ready.” In his remarks, Putin also said he had been informed fully about the technical mishaps that led to the crash landing of the Luna-25 craft in August on the moon’s south pole.
“We will of course be working on this. The lunar program will continue. There are no plans to close it,” Mr. Putin said.
“Mistakes are mistakes. It is a shame for all of us. This is space exploration and everyone understands that. It is experience that we can use in the future.”
Mr. Borisov said the next moon launch might be moved forward to 2026 from 2027 as now planned. – Reuters