Roscosmos space agency has launched a tender for research required for what would be the Russian organization’s first manned mission to the moon. Russian officials and experts plan on colonizing the moon by 2040, and Roscosmos-sponsored research is expected to help make that happen.
The agency is planning on building a lunar base to use for large-scale astronomical and geophysical research, including taking Russian astronauts to the moon’s surface. According to the tender document made public earlier this week, interested companies will have until September 18 to submit bids, for which the government has budgeted 373.4 million Russian rubles, or $5.6 million.
The company or companies that win the bid will have a large task ahead of them: Determining new technologies for use in life support systems for cosmonauts, proposing options for using automated systems and ways astronauts interact with them, rehabilitating cosmonauts after their return to Earth, and identifying options for operating the moon base are part of the package.
While the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, is planning to send more astronauts to the moon by the mid-2020s, Russian cosmonauts would for the first time land on the lunar surface, according to Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.
Roscosmos’ plan to send humans to the moon includes building a new spacecraft called Federation by 2022. Its first flight to the International Space Station is expected by 2023, and deep-space flights are expected for some time in the middle of the next decade.
By 2029, Roscosmos is planning to launch crew flights in lunar orbit, along with flight testing of a lunar lander and an inflatable lunar base module. Crew landing would take place a year later, if not sooner.
Meanwhile, NASA intends to establish a permanent presence on the moon as part of the U.S. government’s longer-term goal of reaching Mars. The space agency plans to return to the moon and land humans on its surface again by 2024.