by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Dec 31, 2015
South Korea plans to launch a lunar exploration project next year with a 2020 timeframe of landing a lunar vessel, the country's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said as quoted by local media Wednesday.
The ministry has earmarked an equivalent of over $17 million in 2016 for the $169-million project, according to the Yonhap news service.
The project's first 2016-2018 stage envisions sending an orbiter to the moon, followed by a landing vessel with an independently developed launch vehicle under the second phase.
Additionally, the ministry plans to independently develop an orbiter and a ground station using domestic technologies. Seoul plans to cooperate with foreign agencies including the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop payloads, according to the outlet.
The ministry disclosed plans to make a moon landing by 2020-2025 in 2007.
Russia has not dropped its lunar program and rumors of it being stricken from the federal program are "greatly exaggerated," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, media reports suggested, citing the updated version of the Federal Space Program (FSP), that in 2016-2025 Russia would suspend creation of a lunar lending complex, a lunar orbital station, a lunar space suit, and the system of robotic software for moon flights. Earlier in the year, the Russia Space Agency Energia said that the first Russian unmanned lunar mission would be performed by 2025, and the first manned flight in 2029-2030.
"We are not dropping the lunar program. Rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated," Rogozin said during an interview with Russia's Rossiya-24 television channel.
The media reports claimed that the decision to drop or postpone the lunar program was taken in light of the huge expenses needed for the program's launch. The Russian Izvestia newspaper calculated that Russia would save some 88.5 billion rubles ($1.2 billion at the current exchange rate), if it suspended the lunar program.
Russian deputy prime minister also stated that Russia has begun creating an ultra-heavy carrier rocket for deliveries of deep space exploration.
"Work has begun in the new space program. I'll tell you this as some sort of serious news that this is an ultra-heavy rocket," Dmitry Rogozin said.
The carrier rocket will be used as a "truck" to deliver expeditions into deep space, according to him.
On Tuesday, Russia's space agency Roscosmos approved the updated Federal Space Program for years 2016-2025.
The agency also stated in its final annual report that it had fulfilled all the plans scheduled for 2015, which would help engage in new undertakings.
Source: Sputnik News
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