Moscow promises Venus and rockets that can be used 100 times

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Russian space agency Roskosmos, battered by competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, announced Friday that it plans to bring back samples from the soil of Venus and develop a reusable spacecraft for around 100 launches.

“To replace the current Soyuz-2 rocket, we are developing a methane rocket. It will be developed from the start as a reusable set. Not semi-reusable as with Space-X, but reusable, the first stage will be reusable more than a hundred times, ”said Roskosmos boss Dmitri Rogozine in an interview with the Ria Novosti agency.

SpaceX has just succeeded in its first launch and return to Earth of a Crew Dragon spacecraft with two astronauts on board on behalf of NASA. Its Falcon 9 rocket is partially reusable, just like the manned capsule, which will reduce costs.

“Our engineers (…) do not want to repeat what their colleagues at SpaceX do, but surpass them,” added Mr. Rogozine.

He also mocked the “rough” landing of Crew Dragon, believing that only an arrival on “mainland” is “as it should be”, using the French expression.

The company of billionaire Elon Musk, which aims to colonize Mars one day, has dealt a blow to the Russian space sector, already plagued by scandals and corruption, by ending the monopoly of manned flights to the International Space Station, detained for nearly ten years by Moscow.

“We know how to do it”

Another Russian priority, according to Mr. Rogozin, is to return to Venus, a planet where only Soviet probes have landed. The objective would be to bring back samples and to study and understand its atmosphere where the greenhouse effect is considerable, at a time when the Earth is threatened by climate change.

“Venus is more interesting than Mars (…) if we do not understand the (climatic) processes there, how to understand, how to prevent such a scenario on our planet?”, Said the head of Roskosmos.

According to him, one should not be satisfied “to place a device on Venus but also to bring back samples of its soil on Earth. It would be a real breakthrough ”.

“We know how to do it,” said Rogozine.

He considered it preferable to act “independently” rather than in cooperation with the United States.

Flat, Dmitry Rogozin however noted that budget cuts threaten his ambitions.

The finance ministry plans to cut Russia’s space budget by 60 billion rubles (690 million euros), in addition to previous cuts that are even larger.

“I do not understand how one could work in such conditions”, declared Mr. Rogozin, noting that “the final amount can only be determined by the president” Vladimir Poutine.

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