Russian lunar exploration program dies

Russia has stopped the technical design of the super-heavy rocket for flights to the Moon, Dmitry Baranov, General Director of the Samara-based Rocket and Space Center Progress said, RIA Novosti reports.

According to Baranov, the work on the elements of the super heavy rocket, which stipulated the development of key elements and technologies for building a super-heavy space rocket, has been discontinued. The work on the project can be resumed in the future, should Russia's Space Corporation Roscosmos makes an appropriate decision. 

The technical design of the rocket for flights to the moon was scheduled to be completed in October 2021.

Roscosmos wants methane rocket engines

In August, Roscosmos pushed back the launch of the Luna-25 mission to May 2022, due to the lack of time to prepare the elements of the program.

The new Russian super-heavy rocket will be created on the basis of new, rather than old technologies, Dmitry Rogozin, Roscosmos chief said. 

“The money that we planned to spend on the superheavy rocket will be used for the development of methane engines at the Khimavtomatika Design Bureau, because it is the methane engine that will give us an opportunity to reuse the engines of a super-heavy rocket,” Rogozin said commenting about the plans of the state corporation.

According to him, otherwise the corporation "will simply throw out a trillion rubles thus generating public outcry.

“Nothing good will come out of this. Then there will be a one-time flight around the moon, but then what? If we want to build this system, it should be a reusable one,” Rogozin said.