It will be used as a staging post for traveling to Mars and long distances.
Director of Roskosmos Igor Komarov announced that the Russian space agency together with NASA will build an inhabited station in the Moon’s orbit. The project Deep Space Gateway, announced in 2016, will also be joined by India, China, South Africa and Brazil.
According to Komarov, the Russian side will build from one to three modules, including residential ones, and will develop a standard for a docking mechanism for all ships. Also, Russia plans to launch a rocket of a superheavy class to enter the moon’s orbit.
At the first stage we will build an orbital part with the further prospect of using the fulfilled technologies on the surface of the Moon, and later – Mars. The conclusion of the first modules is possible in 2024-2026.
As the director of Roskosmos noted, the parties have yet to discuss an agreement on joint work on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.
In August, the media reported on the possible refusal of Russia to participate “for political reasons” due to the fact that the leading role in the project is assigned to the United States.
NASA announced the development of the near-moon station Deep Space Gateway in 2016. Experts plan to work out systems for going into space and landing on the surface of the moon for work in distant space, including on Mars.
Launch of the unmanned space launcher Space Launch System is scheduled for 2018 as part of the research mission. By 2020, they want to ship one ship each year to the moon. In 2021 the first mission with pilots was appointed: it will take from 8 to 21 days, after which the crew will return to Earth.