Russia plans to send a manned mission to the moon by 2025 and establish a permanent base shortly thereafter, the head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos said Friday.
"According to our estimates, we will be ready for a manned flight to the moon in 2025," Roskosmos chief Anatoly Perminov told state news agency RIA Novosti. A station that could be inhabitedcould be built there between 2027 and 2032, he said.
Russia had originally sought to join a U.S. plan to establish a moon base in 2024. But Perminov said earlier this year the U.S. rebuffed the offer tojointly explore the moon.
On Friday, Perminov said Russia plans to complete its section of the International Space Station by 2015 and will begin working on a modernization of the Soyuz spacecraft used to transport cosmonauts and equipment to the station.
While Russia will be refurbishing existing spacecraft, theU.S.is taking a different approach after the space station is finished —it plans to scrap the space shuttle program in favour of a new kind of spaceship to be called Orion.
An estimated timeline has NASA testing its first spaceships in 2009; making the first manned flight of Orion in 2014; landing the first four-person crew on the moon in 2020; and establishing its own moon base in 2024.
The two nations aren't the only ones to have laid out ambitious plans to visit or establish a permanent base on the moon.
This year, China and Japan announced plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2022 and 2025 respectively.
India is also expected to develop technologies for manned space flight by 2015 and a moon flight by 2020, according to the Asia Times.