Russia gains preliminary consent of Western partners to build station in lunar orbit

The Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has gained preliminary consent of NASA, the European and Japanese space agencies to build an international man-tended station in the lunar orbit on the basis of the modernized science and power module Russia has made for the International Space Station (ISS), a source in the rocket and space industry told Interfax-AVN.

The Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has gained preliminary consent of NASA, the European and Japanese space agencies to build an international man-tended station in the lunar orbit on the basis of the modernized science and power module Russia has made for the International Space Station (ISS), a source in the rocket and space industry told Interfax-AVN.

"Our international partners from the United States, Europe and Japan have supported the proposal to deploy a man-tended orbital station in the L2 Lagrangian point (on the side opposite to the Earth) after the ISS service life expires on the basis of the Russian science and power module which was initially developed for the ISS," the source said.

The project will have to be adjusted to the lunar conditions. The lunar orbital station may work for 30 years. It will have nodes for docking with the prospective U.S. and Russian spaceships.

A rough design of the science and power module, a product the Energia Corporation which is supposed to join the ISS in 2018, is being assessed by the Roscosmos lead institute, TsNIIMash.

It was planned at the start that the ISS Russian segment would have two science and power modules, which would ensure energy independence of the segment from the U.S. part of the station. A decision to build the second module has yet to be made. Roscosmos is likely not to approve the construction of the second module as Russia may drop out of the ISS project in 2020, the source noted.

He also said that the new science and power module and some other modules, which had been deployed in orbit or would be launched soon, would become the core of the new domestic orbital station when the ISS project came to an end.

"Roscosmos research institutes are working on the layout of Russia\'s prospective autonomous orbital station," the source pointed out.

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