May 28, 2013 (XNA)
Moscow - Russia would launch 12 Proton-M heavy space rockets this year, Khrunichev space industry center said Wednesday.
Three had already been launched and a further nine would be launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, Khrunichev CEO Alexander Seliverstov told reporters.
Meanwhile, the new Angara-5 heavy rocket would be launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Far Eastern Amur region after its construction was completed, Khrunichev general designer Yuri Bakhvalov said.
Bakhvalov said the first launch of an Angara-5, which is capable of placing manned spacecraft in orbit, was scheduled for late 2014 from the existing Plesetsk space site in Northern Russia.
Besides manned space missions, Russian scientists also plan to conduct daring biological experiments in space, including sending a "crew" of mice 200,000 km from the Earth, chief scholar of the Medico-Biological Institute Eugeny Ilyin told reporters.
"We are working on creating a spacecraft which could be launched to an orbit at 200,000 km distance for cell, gene and molecular experiments on mice following its return to Earth," he said.
However, Russia no longer planned to send large animals on space missions, the scientist said. "There is no need for a dog or a monkey. Whatever we test on them, we can test on humans as well," he said.
Ilyin said, if federal space agency Roscosmos gave the green light to that experiment, it could be conducted within three to five years.