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September 23-29, 2013 / Vol 32, No 38 / Hawai`i Island, USA

20 Sep 2013, 20:42 UTC
September 23-29, 2013 / Vol 32, No 38 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Russia – Leading Provider of Human Space Access, Seeking to Extend Expertise to Moon

Russia Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky and NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins are set to launch aboard Soyuz TMA-10M on September 25 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to join Expedition 37 crewmates Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano when the craft is expected to dock to the ISS, just 6 hours later on Sep 26. Soyuz will remain on the Station as an escape pod until its crew returns to Earth in March 2014. Russia remains a model of reliability and consistency in human space access, with decades more experience than the only other nation that currently has the capability. Still, there is one lofty goal that has yet to be fulfilled by this pioneering nation – a human Moon mission. After years of grandiose proclamations of human lunar missions by top Russia officials with little-to-no follow-through, Russia finally seems poised to fill this gap in their impressive spaceflight resume. Roscosmos Head Vladimir Popovkin and other top officials have been more consistent over the past year in laying out an ambitious, yet attainable, lunar program consisting of a fleet of robotic lunar landers over the ...

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