Report: Russia Plans to Send Cosmonauts to the Moon Next Decade

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia plans to send cosmonauts to land on the Moon next decade for the first time in its history and intends to build a moon base, according to the Russian corporation responsible for manned space flights, state news agency TASS reported.

A draft plan presented by Vladimir Solovyov of RKK Energia said that Russia was planning manned missions to the moon, including the first Russian human moon landing, along with a moon base, TASS said on Nov. 15.

“Preparations for deploying a lunar base — 2031-2040,” TASS quoted the draft plan as saying. The plan also spoke of exploiting the moon’s resources.

In August, Russia’s first moon mission in 47 years failed when its Luna-25 spacecraft spun out of control and crashed into the moon, underscoring the post-Soviet problems experienced by a once-mighty space program.

U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong gained renown in 1969 for becoming the first person to walk on the moon, but the Soviet Union’s Luna-2 mission was the first spacecraft to reach the moon’s surface in 1959, and the Luna-9 mission in 1966 was the first to make a soft landing there.

Soviet cosmonauts never did a human landing on the moon.