Russia: No Plans of Flying to Moon or Mars

UFA, 17 (RIA Novosti by Alik Shakirov). Russia does not plan working on programs of flights to the Moon or Mars or other planets in the near future, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Alyoshin said Saturday.

It is too early to speak about such programs, he said. At the same time, he stressed that "one must think about the future" and therefore Russia should develop basic space technologies.

"If you look fifty years ahead into the future, development of space programs will help us ensure national competitiveness and enhance the quality of our national industry to an entirely different level," the Deputy Prime Minister said during a visit to a aircraft engines plant in the city of Ufa.

According to Alyoshin, Russia has quite good prospects in developing its space industry.

"I think there exist a good deal of good space projects in Russia," he said. Alyoshin described as "epoch-making" the recently signed agreement on using Russian carrier rockets at the French Kourou spaceport and said Moscow was considering a number of similar orders from other countries. "It is not surprising," he said, "as Russia has made the largest space launchings."