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    Russia to launch space base for missions to Moon, Mars after 2020

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    Russia plans to deploy an orbiting base for manned and unmanned missions to the Moon and Mars after 2020, the head of the space agency said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to deploy an orbiting base for manned and unmanned missions to the Moon and Mars after 2020, the head of the space agency said on Tuesday.

    "After 2020, Russia plans to create and put into orbit a near-Earth experimental manned complex to ensure transport operations to the Moon and Mars," Anatoly Perminov said.

    He also said Russia has tentative plans for manned missions to Mars, but since substantial technical and financial resources would be needed, a Mars expedition should be international.

    The agency chief had said previously that Russia planned to send cosmonauts to the Moon by 2025 and establish a permanently-manned base there in 2027-2032.

    He also said that in accordance with Russia's space program through 2040, a manned flight to Mars was due to be carried out after 2035.

    The space official went on to add that in 2016-25, after the International Space Station (ISS) is removed from service, Russia plans to deploy a platform in a low-earth orbit to assemble spacecraft.

    The United States has said the ISS should be scrapped in 2015, while Russia has proposed using the Russian segment until 2020.

    Perminov said: "The ISS will be transformed into a laboratory complex where research will be conducted."

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