But perhaps Moscow is bluffing.
The Russian space Agency approved the project most powerful missiles in the country since the space race of the 1960-ies — 75-foot monster with ten separate engines in five steps, writes the American edition The Daily Beast (translation inosmi.ru).
Theoretically, a new carrier rocket “Yenisei”, named after the river in Central Russia, will be able to deliver astronauts to the large distances that would allow Russia to plan an independent mission to the moon. With “Yenisei” the Russians could compete with the Americans in a new wave of space exploration.
The idea of the program “Yenisei” is the development of a rocket capable of sending manned spaceships over 400 thousand kilometers to the moon or to the space station on the lunar orbit. This missile can also try sending heavy satellites weighing 80 tons and more and to deliver them into orbit.
Existing Russian missiles are not able to cope with this task. The most powerful Russian rocket “proton” is able to deliver the goods just 25 tons into low earth orbit. Despite the fact that the proton is conditionally equivalent to the largest American rocket “Delta IV Heavy” (Delta IV Heavy), the Americans are working on a much more powerful booster, which will have the lifting power now emerged from the operation “Saturn V”, sending astronauts to the moon in the late 1960-ies and early 1970-ies.
The question arises whether the Russian space Agency “Roskosmos” build “Yenisei”. The potential price tag of $ 22 billion and also a long history of grandiose promises of Moscow, when talking about new space technology, augur well for the future of this project.
In addition, the program may “Yenisei” the right to the Russian government only as a lever in negotiations with high stakes with the United States about the future of U.S.-Russian cooperation in space.
“Work with us on future missions to the moon could tell Moscow the Americans, or we just will ourselves to ride our new missiles “Yenisei” on the moon”.
“Russia “Yenisei” we need to continue to cooperate in order to bargain with the Americans in space,” — said Pavel Luzin, an expert on space from Perm University in Russia.
After several years of research, “Roskosmos” officially launched the program “Yenisei” in 2018. At the end of December 2019, the head of the Roscosmos , Dmitry Rogozin, has signed a contract to develop the project launch. Rogozin instructed his Deputy Alexander Lopatin to follow the development of “Yenisei” with the aim to launch the first rocket launch in 2028.
In the United States, NASA takes old engines “space Shuttle” (Space Shuttle) and mount them four to a new body of the rocket for the new space launch system (RMS). In the end, the trigger system will be able to deliver a weight of 130 tons to low earth orbit or to launch spacecraft Orion and his team to new moon station, which is trying to build NASA.
First flight with the new CPS is planned in 2020. If the test is successful, RMS will use the framework actively developed project to return astronauts to the moon in 2024, the end of a possible second term for President Donald trump (Donald Trump).
However, a new NASA mission to the moon — not a done deal. According to experts, it could cost $ 30 billion over approximately $ 20 billion allocated by Congress, NASA annually. The budget for 2020 the legislators approved only $ 600 million from an advance of $ 1 billion, which the space Agency had requested for a mission to the moon.
But even if NASA do get the money, the time frame for returning to the moon by 2024, so close that did not allow for any problems with a wide range of new equipment, including “Orion” —new spacecraft with the crew, the new lunar landing module and space launch system.
“Everything has to work perfectly,” says John Logsdon (John Logsdon), Professor Emeritus of political science and international Affairs at the George Washington University and former consultant to NASA.
Despite the precariousness of the American lunar missions Russia wants to take part in it, based on the fact that the Russian rockets, spaceships and astronauts are an integral part of the International space station. And in light of the rich Russian experience in space and a vast Arsenal of old reliable rockets and space vehicles, Moscow has demanded preferential treatment in the American lunar company.
Under this can mean lucrative contracts reserved place on a moon station and a significant role in what will be the scientists as soon as they set foot on the moon for the first time since last mission “Apollo” in 1972.
NASA still rejected the demands of Russia. The us space Agency claimed that its leading role in the mission to the moon will provide “US the right to determine “the rules of the road” for activities in space.” “Roscosmos” is not answered by the time of the publication of this story.
Developing — or just threatening to develop a powerful “Yenisei”, Moscow, obviously, is betting that the United States will work with Russia than against Russia, when (or if) the researchers will return to the moon in the coming years.
But NASA would bring the “Roscosmos” to clean water.
“They have a great track record of unfulfilled promises,” said Logsdon, talking about the Russian space Agency. Yenisei “will require considerable money, which Russia is not, and priority in the development of outer space that, at least, controversial.”
Logsdon mentioned two previous attempts of Russia to develop super-heavy rocket, both of which failed.
It is worth noting that, in addition to the oath promises to build a huge new rocket, the Russian space Agency did not specify how he is going to own to accomplish a new mission on the moon. Talking about ships, landers, and lunar stations is almost gone. “Russia here, there’s no experience,” said Luzin. If “Enisey” — is a bluff, it is surprisingly weak.
Thus, the program Enisey faces a more uncertain future when you bet on a powerful new rocket capable of carrying astronauts to the moon or to force the Americans to invite the Russians to join the lunar missions of the United States. Or you can expect failure and if it is a bluff, and if it’s a rocket. The result is a proud Russian cosmonauts will remain on the Earth, and American space researchers will go to the moon without them.