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Russian aerospace company to send mission to Mercury in 4-5 years

RIA Novosti

17:31 22/07/2010

FARNBOROUGH, July 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russian NPO Lavochkin intends to send an interplanetary research mission to Mercury in 4-5 years, Lavochkin's deputy general designer said at the Farnborough International Airshow 2010.

"[The mission will consist of] a flight to Mercury and a landing on its surface," Maxim Martynov said. "We assume that the device will be a modified Phobos-Grunt satellite."

He added that the NPO is currently engaged in a pre-design mission.

Martynov also said that similar missions are planned for Venus and the Moon.

Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest planet to the Sun, orbiting it once every 87.969 days.

Phobos-Grunt is a planned Russian return mission to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars. It is scheduled to be launched in 2011. The mission will study the surface of Phobos and then fly back to Earth with soil samples.

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