The next decade or so will either spell a regeneration of Russian space technology or a historical note of missed opportunity. With the space shuttle about to retire in several years, Russia will be in the spot light of history, if they can get over their stage fright that is.
Either way, Russia is determined to regain its space honor and visit the moon for the first time. And their aim is not to simply copy their American "comrades," but to transform our lunar neighbor into something a bit more productive.
(Reuters) "It is time to think about industrial development of the moon. We are sometimes criticized for making such suggestions too early," Sevastianov was quoted as saying in an interview released on Wednesday.
But it is time to do this given the limits to natural reserves on Earth and the pace of civilization's progress. Nor can we dismiss the idea of outsourcing harmful industries into space." [...]
"We can start flying to the moon using the Soyuz ships and those technologies that we already have. As for industrial development, that will be with the new technologies that the Kliper system will give us."
Despite pioneering the final frontier publicly and privately (via Space Adventures) Russia realizes that its moment in history is approaching once again, and that a missed opportunity here could affect its place in solar history for the next century.
Russia's Kliper (view: interactive) could help breathe some life back into its space program, which has not had much success after the Americans beat them to the moon during the Apollo era. Hopefully our Russian friends can return not only to the heavens but visit the moon itself, as it would be fairly boring having only the Chinese to compete against.
Update (4/17): I was informed that the original image posted above was owned in fact by the Russian Space Web and not Luniversalis News.
I am in contact with the owners to see if I can still use this image in the post (with proper credits), although if they desire the image will be removed at their request. ~Darnell
Update (4/17): Anatoly Zak has graciously allowed me to use the image, with proper credit given (of course). Thanks Anatoly!
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