The Moscow Times cites a draft government program which outlines a "three-step plan toward manning the moon." After preliminary launches of robots and orbiting stations, Russia plans to have humans landing by 2030 in order to "set up the infrastructure for an initial colony using local resources."
The Russian document underlined the need for speedy lunar exploration, saying "leading space powers will expand and establish their rights to convenient lunar footholds to ensure future opportunities for practical use," in the next 20 to 30 years, Izvestia cited the document as saying.
The price tag of the mission is uncertain, but the first stage of the program is expected to cost around 28.5 billion rubles ($815.8 million), while earlier estimates indicated that developing and building a piloted spaceship would add 160 billion rubles or so, though Russia hopes to attract private investors to help bankroll the project, the report said.
But while the program envisages international cooperation on the project, it stresses that the "independence of the national lunar program must be ensured regardless of the conditions and the extent of the participation in it by foreign partners."
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