Russia plans to conduct lunar mission in 2015

Russia will carry out an unmanned Moon landing mission in 2015, Lavochkin Research and Production Association General Director Viktor Khartov told journalists on Friday.

"Our plans mark 2015 as the year when we are expected to land on the Moon," he said.

This mission is needed to "prove, primarily to ourselves, that we are able to land on other space objects," he said.

The Electro-L No. 2 satellite is expected to be launched in 2013, and Spektr-RG x-ray space telescope in 2014, Khartov said.

After it, the Spektr-UF ultraviolet space observatory will be launched, he said.

Russia's Soyuz-ST-B launch vehicle equipped with a Fregat-MT upper stage, built by the Lavochkin Association, and carrying two Galileo-IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites of the European satellite navigation system Galileo is due to lift off from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou on Friday evening, Khartov said.

Fregat upper stages will be used in three more space launches this year, he said.

The Lavochkin Association will also join the European Space Agency's ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) program. The first mission to Mars will be carried out at part of this project in 2016, and the Russian enterprise will build the landing system for the program's second mission, set for 2018.

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