Roscosmos: what is Russia's space agency, what does it do and what are its future projects

Roscosmos inherited everything the Soviet Union left behind
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Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, was founded in 1992 as a continuation of the Soviet space programme created in the 1950s. 

The State Space Corporation emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and has been re-branded twice since then, previously known as the Russian Federal Space Agency. 

But since its latest mission of Luna-25, is seemingly successful, what does the Roscosmos do, and does it have any other project in the works? Here is what you need to know. 

Russia's Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the members of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 58/59 (Image: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)Russia's Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the members of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 58/59 (Image: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
Russia's Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the members of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 58/59 (Image: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

What does Roscomsmos do? 

As Roscosmos is a state corporation, it is responsible for space flights, cosmonautics programs and aerospace research. 

It is headquartered in Moscow, with its main Mission Control Centre in Korolyov. 

As the Soviet Union was the first state to send a man to space, Yuri Gagarin, the Russian space agency holds the world's first and largest spaceport - the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

The Soviet Union was historic in the advancement of space exploration, mostly famously known for competing in the Space Race, meaning Russia is responsible for the world's first satellite, first human spaceflight, first space station and creating the world's first Astronaut Corps. 

It was also one of the largest contributors to the International Space Station, as it poured all its resources into it shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union. 

Now, Roscosmos has a focus towards Earth science, communication, and scientific research. It is also a major provider of launch services to other countries. 

The current administrator is Yury Borisov. 

What are Roscosmos' future projects? 

Currently, all eyes are on the latest mission - Luna-25. This lunar lander is the first moon mission since 1976, and it was launched by Russia's own rocket, the Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's far eastern Amur Region.

It was launched on 11 August, and will research the moon by 21 August. The idea behind the mission is to research the lunar south pole, which is a shadowed area many researchers think may hold ice. 

Roscosmos is also responsible to resupply the ISS however, continued international collaboration in ISS missions has been thrown into doubt by the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and related sanctions on Russia.

In April 2021, Roscosmos announced it will be departing the ISS program after 2024. In its place, it was announced that a new space station (Russian Orbital Service Station) will be constructed starting in 2025.

However, Russia has also dabbled in space tourism for fare-paying passengers to ISS through the Space Adventures company. Since 2009, six space tourists have contracted with Roscosmos and have flown into space, each for an estimated fee of at least $20 million (USD). 

In further Moon exploration, the space agency is planning to launch the Luna-Glob later this year with an aim to create a fully robotic lunar base. 

In 2029, it is hoping to launch an orbiter to Venus. 

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