Created: 12.05.2006 17:28 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 17:28 MSK
Two major Russian space enterprises — Samara-based TsKB Progress and the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, based near Moscow — have agreed to develop the Soyuz-2-3 rocket to launch a new-generation manned spacecraft, the “Clipper”, RIA Novosti news agency reports.
“The first stage of the project envisages putting an 11-ton spacecraft into a 200-km orbit on the Soyuz-2-3 under the Federal Space Program, in the interests of the Defense Ministry, and within international space cooperation programs,” Oxana Yefimenko, the press secretary at TsKB Progress said. At the second stage, the rocket’s capacity would be upped to 13 tons, to launch the Clipper space plane, with a possible further increase to over 16 tons after engine modernization, Yefimenko said.
The Clipper is a six-person spacecraft that can be used to send astronauts into orbit, and potentially to the Moon or Mars. The new manned craft will allow four non-professionals to be taken into space alongside two professional cosmonauts, and is expected to be used for space tourism, Nikolai Sevastianov, President of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia said. The Clipper’s first lift-off is scheduled for 2012, with the first manned flight expected a year later.
I wonder what it will be like...
Edited by Shuriken, 14 May 2006 - 10:20 AM.