`Mars flight possible after 2035`

The maiden flight to the red planet will be possible only after 2035.

Updated: Apr 14, 2011, 08:45 AM IST

Moscow: An interplanetary spacecraft for a flight to Mars will be created not before 2025 and the maiden flight to the red planet will be possible only after 2035, said Russian space agency Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov Wednesday.

"The possibility of a flight to Mars needs to be combined with the construction of a spaceship having a new nuclear power propulsion unit, which will make it possible to reach the planet in a month," Perminov said in Russia`s upper house of parliament.

He said the propulsion unit, which serves the purpose of changing the velocity of a spacecraft in the space, is to be built by 2019.

Some 7.2 billion rubles ($256 mln) are to be allocated as part of the state nuclear corporation Rosatom`s innovation development programme in 2010-2018 on the joint project with Roscosmos to create a nuclear power unit-based transport module for the future spacecraft.

Answering questions from senators in the Federation Council, the Roscosmos head called flights to Mars on board existing spaceships "absurdity," and added that the prospective flight could only be organised on an international level.

Russia, as well as the US, have been developing technology to produce nuclear-powered spacecraft for decades. Roscosmos and NASA are planning to discuss the development of a nuclear-powered spaceship Friday during talks in Moscow.

IANS