Russia has sparked a new space race with the US by revealing plans for an orbital station that will allow it to launch “far-out” missions to the moon and Mars.
The Kremlin aims to start work on the outpost, which will take 10 years to build, after the International Space Station is scrapped in around 2030.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of space agency Roscosmos, said: “We’re creating a platform for exploring far-out space. We’re going to put together spacecraft in orbit for flights to Mars, the moon and to asteroids.”
He failed to commit to working with other nations – saying this depends on “global tendencies”.
And he slammed US plans to put weapons in space, warning: “We have something to respond with.”
Russia is also aiming to launch a manned mission to the moon by 2028. And it is bidding to reach Mars with heavy-lift rockets that are under development.
Since NASA shuttles were retired in 2011, Russia has been the only nation able to service the ISS, using its Soyuz rockets.
The US bid to resume crewed flight goes on this weekend after a launch on Wednesday was scrubbed.
Tesla chief Elon Musk’s NASA tie-up, the SpaceX Demo-2, has a launch window tomorrow at 3.22pm.