Putin announces the beginning of the space race with manned and unmanned missions to Mars next year. Where does that leave the U.S.? Image: Compfight

President Vladimir Putin has announced Russia’s plans on both manned and unmanned missions to Mars, the Moon, and deeper outer space. Most of these missions are set to begin in early 2019. To many, this is the beginning of a modern space race, with the Russian faction aiming to get to the Red Planet with years of leverage to NASA’s SpaceX project to man Mars in 2024.

On the other hand, many doubt how fit Russia could be for the race to Mars. Despite the lack of information about Russian plans for outer space, President Putin abstained from giving away any relevant details about national space missions. This statement could signify that SpaceX and NASA will now intend to move faster towards the testing of SpaceX’s BFR.


Russia tends to maintain mysterious and controversial stands. However, many are concerned about the “new space race” and the similarities to the Cold War nowadays. Russia has also been urged to join the Orbital Neighborhood watch for Space situational awareness, but the country is yet to reply to the request.

NASA and SpaceX for the next decade

This NASA incursion will be part of its long-term robotic exploration of Mars, its priority is set on the look for hospitable conditions and locations on the red planet in order to follow through with Space X’s and NASA’s goal to man Mars on the next decade.

On the other hand, Elon Musk announced that the BFR, the ship that will currently take humans to Mars, is set to begin flight tests as early as 2019. Needless to say, it is not clear if these efforts may be boosted or conditioned by President Putin’s statement regarding Mars.

Putin said “We are planning unmanned and later manned launches – into deep space, as part of a lunar program and for Mars exploration. The closest mission is very soon, we are planning to launch a mission to Mars in 2019,”

Space Race: Russia vs. the USA is on once again

Regardless of Putin’s statement, it seems that Elon Musk and NASA have been increasing their efficiency towards their Mars missions in 2020, 2024 and 2030. NASA’s mission on Mars 2040 will seek to find signs of past microbial life on the planet, and for this, they intend to employ their newest versions of Mars Rovers.

Putin’s statement hasn’t received any answers from U.S officials, at least when it comes to outer space or Mars missions. In terms of the space arms race, there has been more traditional heated controversy with the Russian deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin warning the U.S president on how taking on the arms race would be “the USA opening Pandora’s Box”.

The space arms race started when the Russian Federation merged its air force with its space force making Air and Space Force of the Russian Federation. This influenced the idea of a joint branch of the United States.

Source: Russia Today