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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Russia’s Space Program Pushes Forward Despite Challenges

President Putin announced that the first module of Russia's new orbital platform is scheduled to launch in 2027,

Russia’s independent space program is moving forward with determination, President Vladimir Putin declared in a televised meeting with space industry officials. Despite facing corruption scandals and international turmoil, Putin emphasized the country’s commitment to space exploration.

The President announced that the first module of Russia’s new orbital platform is scheduled to launch in 2027, marking a significant step in the evolving landscape of space exploration.

With the International Space Station’s (ISS) resources depleting, Putin stated, “we need not just one segment, but the entire station to be brought into service.” This vision represents a crucial development in the new era of space exploration that will follow the expected end of the ISS in 2030.

Russia’s lunar program remains a key component of its space ambitions, despite the recent setback of the Luna-25 craft’s catastrophic crash landing on the moon’s south pole in August. President Putin acknowledged the disappointment, describing it as a “negative experience.” However, he underlined the importance of learning from such incidents to prevent future mistakes.

While acknowledging the funding problems, corruption scandals, and setbacks that have affected the space program, Putin emphasized that the lunar program would continue. Mikhail Marov, a 90-year-old astronomer who played a significant role in the failed lunar expedition, had called for an investigation into the mission’s failure. Marov’s health suffered a “sharp deterioration” following the crash landing, highlighting the seriousness of the incident.

The ISS, a symbol of international scientific cooperation for the past 25 years, is aging and set to conclude its mission around 2030. In response to this transition, President Putin stressed the need for the timely development of a Russian orbital station to ensure that Russia maintains its capabilities in manned space flight.

Read More: Will US support for International Space Station?

Yuri Borisov, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, concurred, warning that without large-scale efforts to create a Russian orbital station by 2024, there could be a significant time gap during which Russia’s space capabilities might be at risk.

Putin underlined the importance of the new orbital station considering “advanced achievements of science and technology” and the ability to take on future tasks. He concluded by emphasizing that the development of the new space station would progress “all in good time.”

The meeting also raised the possibility of moving forward the next lunar launch to 2026 from the previously planned 2027, reflecting Russia’s commitment to maintaining its space exploration efforts.