Russia Vows to Send Probe to the Moon by 2015

In order to fulfill a long-held national dream of reaching the moon, the head of Roskosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency), Vladimir Popovkin, announced yesterday, January 15. The luna-glob, or ‘moon-globe,’ will be the first thing to be blasted into space from Russia’s new space facility in the Amur region which was built to lessen the agency’s dependence on the aging Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The luna-glob will consist of a probe that will land on the surface of the moon and a monitoring module that will orbit above in space to collect data that the probe sends back to it.

Though initially the Soviet Union held an edge over its Cold War-rival the United States in early space exploration, sending the first probe to the space in 1959 and the first man into space in 1960, it has never achieved similar landmarks in decades, particularly ever since the United States placed a man on the moon in 1969.

The failure of a Mars probe in 2011, coupled with severe budgetary restrictions for years prior, have only served to embolden Russia’s program which still seeks its place of glory among the stars. A plan announced by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last month to spend 2.1 trillion roubles ($70 billion) to explore the moon and Mars is an excellent first step toward reviving Russia’s storied space program.