Russia plans to form a colony on the moon by 2040, the federal space agency announced on Wednesday after talks on the country's long-term space program.
A previous program developed by the Roscosmos Federal Space Agency in 2014 provides a three-phase plan to send people on the moon's surface to establish a colony infrastructure. Hundreds of aspiring cosmonauts have submitted applications that want to become the first Russians to land on the moon.
"The lunar program will be implemented in several phases by 2040," Roscosmos said Wednesday after a joint meeting with the Ecumenical Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The first phase envisions the launch of a moon orbiting module, the website said on the RBC website, citing Nikolai Sevastanov, head of the Russian Federal Missile and Space Development Organization CNIIMash.
The second phase reportedly will involve sending the first manned mission to the moon and starting to build a long-term base between 2025 and 2034. The third phase of the program envisages the upgrading of the base by 2040 and the establishment of a "moon research system".
The construction of the moon colony will begin in late 2025, the state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Yevgeny Mikrin, chief designer of Russia for space-based human-rights programs, during a presentation of the draft lunar program on Wednesday.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, said the final document for the lunar program will be finalized by the end of February 2019.
At a joint session Wednesday, scientists have also proposed setting up a telescope on the dark side of the moon to collect data from the universe as part of the lunar program, Rustam Dagkesamansky, director of the Pusse Observatory, told RIA Novosti.