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Russia plans unmanned Moon mission

The Russian Space Agency has said it will send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2015 from a new launch pad in the country's Far East.

Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin told Russian news agencies that the rocket booster would deliver a 500kg space exploration vehicle with up to 25kg of scientific equipment that would search for water and take soil samples.

Mr Popovkin said the moon-bound spacecraft would be launched from Russia's new Vostochny cosmodrome.

President Vladimir Putin has vowed to invest millions in building the launch pad in the Amur Region, not far from the Chinese border.

Russia's last and only moon mission was accomplished in 1973.

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From Belfast Telegraph