The race to the moon: The United States in a hurry, and Russia?


Half a century after the first moon landing of the Americans, there seems to be a race to the moon. The United States want to be first. How is Russia?

The other day Israel would be almost in the informal top League of world space powers ascended. But the country was not able to land according to the United States, the USSR, or Russia and China with a probe on the moon. The space probe “Beresheet” crashed due to engine problems. But the Israeli experiment shows that there is a “new race to the moon”, as some observers say.

The first race half a century ago, the USA won, as in the July 1969 American astronauts on the moon landed. Now the US wants a moon landing, and rather quickly. At the end of March officer Vice-President Mike Pence, the US space Agency NASA to send, within five years, Americans on the moon. NASA should not be capable of it, would turn the US government to private companies, warned Pence. He said the United States would be like in the 1960s in a race. With whom, said he, but.

Mike Pence wants a moon landing in the next five years

Competition from China and Elon Musk

Ramon Lugo, Director of the Florida Space Institute (FSI) at the University in Orlando, suspected, Pence might have been referring to the rivalry between the USA and China. China, according to the expert, is clearly a moon program. In addition, between the USA and China, “a race in many technological areas,” said Lugo. In January, the Chinese had accomplished the first landing of a spacecraft on the far side of the moon.

Lugo, who was a long time for NASA, considers it unlikely that Russia could be, in spite of its successful manned flights to the International space station (ISS) for the United States in the development of the moon is a rival. According to him, the United States is the “race to the moon”, in a sense of self-competition. Because there is a race between NASA and private companies such as SpaceX, Elon Musk.

The Plan, Pence to fly until 2024 back to the moon, holds Lugo too optimistic. He says, in the next five years, a flight of astronauts to the lunar orbit was possible, but a landing on the moon around the year 2030. Speed up, you might would only be developed if NASA would use missiles, the private company of Elon Musk, the for a flight to Mars. But on the moon and on Mars, there were different conditions, so the expert.

Russia is participating in the race?

Andrey Ionin from the Russian Academy of cosmonautics says that there is no “race to the moon”. The Declaration of Pence was motivated by “domestic political”. Background the preparation of his presidential candidacy for the 2024 – even though Pence did not say appropriate ambitions officially. The Russian expert does not exclude but an American moon landing as a “unique project” in the next five years. However, neither Russia nor China would participate in the U.S.-proclaimed “race to the moon”. Moscow was neither financially nor technologically able to, Ionin.

However, lunar research will continue also in Russia. Since mid-March, will be carried out in Moscow, the four-month Experiment, Sirius 19, to simulate a moon flight. To him, mainly Russian scientists are involved. And in the year 2021, the Russian space Agency “Roscosmos wants to send”, as in the Soviet time, a number of automatic stations to the moon. The landing of cosmonauts at the earliest, planned for the 2030s. You probably should not fly with the space ship, the “Federazija” in there, which is not finished yet – powered by the newly developed super-heavy rocket, “Yenisey”, whose launch is planned for 2028.

International space station (ISS) with the docked European science laboratory Columbus

Europe awaits clear signals

Thomas Jarzombek, member of the Bundestag and Federal government coordinator for aerospace in the German Federal Ministry for economic Affairs and energy, would also not speak of a “race to the moon”: “It is not so that the Americans want to do the thing alone, but it is a big cooperation like the ISS, with Canada, Europe and Japan,” he explains in an Interview with DW, adding: “We need from the United States, an announcement, how to go on”.

The above-mentioned Vice President of Pence. But the EU wants to contribute to the international NASA project “Gateway” to the construction of a space station on the moon. Currently the project is in the planning stage. Russia is also showing interest. But at the end of last year, the head of “Roscosmos”, Dmitry Rogozin said that the Russian Federation does not “want to participate in the project in a secondary role”.

After the end of the Space Shuttle program, the USA for almost ten years, no way to send alone astronauts to the ISS. You also have to rely on Russian Soyuz rockets. However, the Americans are working on a manned research ship “Orion”, with the NASA combines their moon plans. The first test flight was completed in 2014. The European space Agency (ESA) developed for the Orion Service module, to supply the ship with fuel, and the astronauts with water and oxygen. It was built mainly in Germany. “It is a great success for us that we deliver for the first time for the Americans to critical components,” says Jarzombek.