Newly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans for a series of space missions in the coming years that will place Russia significantly ahead of the United States in terms of space-based capabilities.
Putin’s announcements, which were delivered via a Russian language documentary that was shared on social media leading up to last weekend’s election, include an unmanned Mars mission as early as next year, as well as manned Lunar missions to follow soon thereafter.
“Our specialists will try to make landings on the poles, because there is reason to believe that there can be water there. There, there is progress to be made, studies of other planets, distant space can be started from there,” Putin said of the planned moon missions.
Putin’s new emphasis on space could be seen as a part of an effort to recapture some of the prestige of the former Soviet Union – something that could be said of most of the Russian president’s efforts, but it’s important to remember that the glory days of the Soviet Union’s space enterprises were never based solely on bragging rights… they were born out of the pursuit of tactical supremacy.