• Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space

Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space

The Russian Federal Space Agency or Roscosmos has announced a plan to land Russian cosmonauts on the Moon by 2030.

This is the first time Russia had set a date for a Moon landing.

The manned landing on the lunar surface will be the culmination of a series of steps intended to ensure the success of this mission. Roscosmos said it will first send probes to orbit and land on the Moon.

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In 2024, Russia plans to build its own space station and terminate its partnership with the International Space Station. Roscosmos said a space station would give Russia "guaranteed access to the cosmos'", said The Daily Mail.

Roscosmos, however, promised to keep working with NASA and the European Space Agency before it begins building its space station.

Should it meet its deadline of landing cosmonauts on the Moon in 2030, Russia will probably be the third country to accomplish this feat. The United States became the first country to land humans on the Moon on July 20, 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission.

Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon on July 21, In all, 12 Americans set foot on the Moon over the next three years.

China has kept on announcing its intention to land its first "yuhangyuans" or astronauts on the Moon in the decade of the 2020s.

By the 2030s, however, the U.S. plans to land the first Americans on Mars.

As the cornerstone of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Russia challenged the U.S. for supremacy in space during the Space Race that lasted from the 1950s to the early 1970s.

The USSR sent the first man (Yuri Gagarin), woman (Valentina Tereshkova) and animal (a dog named Laika) into outer space. The first person to walk in space was also a Russian (Alexei Leonov). Russia also orbited the first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1.

But the USSR failed to match America's powerful determination and resources to get to the Moon first, a challenge made in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.

The collapse of the USSR in 1991 ended Russia's once powerful space program.