Russia has called on the United States and other space exploring countries to share in the Kosmoport project in which the Energiya launching complex in Baikonur would be used to send flights to Mars and the Moon.
Russia planning piloted Mars mission Interfax
Russia’s Energia spacecraft building corporation is working on a project aimed at launching a piloted mission to Mars, the company’s First Deputy General Director Nikoai Zelenshchikov said. “We are currently developing a powerful spaceship for a Mars mission. Its weight is estimated at 600 tonnes,” Zelenshchikov told a news conference in Moscow on Friday.
A unique probe, which Russian scientists have designed for studying Phobos [a Mars moon], will be launched in 2009, a representative of the Babakin Center Viktor Kudryashov told Interfax on Monday. “It is a priority of the Russian federal space program. The probe will be launched aboard a Soyuz medium-class rocket from Baikonur,” he said. The mission’s aim is to gather Phobos ground samples which will then be returned to Earth for analysis, Kudryashov said.
The launch of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft is slated for June 2, Interfax was told at the Baikonur space center on Tuesday. Quoting ESA experts, it noted that launch preparations are proceeding without any technical problems. Final operations are underway before fuelling the spacecraft.
Participants in an experiment on preparing a manned flight to Mars will spend over 1.5 years in an enclosed space. “The experiment to be carried out at the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems is to involve 6 people, who will spend 500 days in an enclosed space inside the ground module of a space station. This experiment will imitate certain conditions of a flight to Mars,” an Institute source told Interfax on Tuesday.
The ministerial council of the European Space Agency (ESA) will endorse a license for Russia to launch Soyuz rockets from the Kuru space port (French Guiana) tentatively in March 2002, the ESA Russian office chief Alain Fournier-Sicre has reported to Interfax.