The Federal Space Agency signed an updated contract with NPO Lavochkin on development of “Luna-Glob-1” moon lander. The contract takes the issues related to lack of financing and problems with project management off the table, RIA Novosti reports.
It was declared by Igor Mitrofanov, chief of space gamma-ray spectroscopy laboratory of Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which is developing instruments for the moon lander.
After the loss of Phobos-Grunt station the Russian Moon-exploration program was reviewed. As a result some contracts have become irrelevant and some contracts have expired, however, the new ones have not been signed for a long time. The scientists stated that these delays are putting in jeopardy the space missions and cooperation with European partners in the network of ExoMars program — some equipment intended for ExoMars will be tested onboard of moon landers.
"The knot has worked loose. Now we are able to work in accordance with the correct contract and schedule. According to the schedule, the launch should be performed in 2015. We will do our best to make it on time”, — Igor Mitrofanov said.
According to him, Roscosmos have signed the general contract with the main contractor – NPO Lavochkin. NPO Lavochkin, in its own turn, will sign other contracts with subcontractors, for example, on development of equipment.
"The contract is assessed at several billion rubles — this is a typical cost of the automatic interplanetary station", — Igor Mitrofanov noted.
We remind you that Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, said earlier that the rocket launched from Vostochny cosmodrome will carry Luna-Glob moon lander. Igor Mitrofanov in his own turn said that the project’s schedule will remain unchanged.
«We are ready to perform flights from Vostochny; it is a great honor for us. But we are also ready to perform flights from Plesetsk and Baikonur», — he said.
The previous Russian Moon-exploration program assumed the launch of Luna-Resurs lander in 2013 and two (orbiter and lander) Luna-Glob spacecraft in 2014. However, the dates and the order of launches have been changed in order to increase the reliability of the spacecraft developed on the basis of Phobos.
The entry-level Luna-Glob-1 lander intended for development of landing gear will be the first one to perform flight. Luna-Glob-2 orbiter will be launched the next year, while the heavy Luna-Resurs orbiter-rover fitted with an expanded set of scientific equipment and probably an Indian rover will be launched in 2017.
The weight of Luna-Glob-1 lander will be reduced: the weight of scientific equipment mounted on the lander will be 20 kg instead of planned 34 kg. In particular, it will have no drilling unit, but it will still be equipped with an instrument intended for analyzing the soil samples and a manipulator used to obtain the samples.
The following equipment will also be delivered to the Moon: an instrument intended for studying the moon outer atmosphere, neutron detector (used to search for the hydrogen in the subsurface layers), a sensor intended for surface temperature measurement and an instrument for studying the dust particles.