Monday, 06 Apr, 2009 Science
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New Reusable Russian Rocket to Take to the Moon and Back

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Russia looks forward to design a new spaceship, launcher and a new launch site. It is worth mentioning that a similar plan has NASA with its Orion project.

So far, then Soviet Union and now Russia only upgraded the existing facilities. For example, the country's three-person Soyuz spacecraft is currently in its 5th generation in four decades. However, with help from the Russian government, Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, looks forward to completely replace launch facilities as well as Soyuz.

The agency says that that future launches are going to take place on a new launching facility that will be erected near the Pacific coast city of Vladivostok.

The agency is expected to announce the contractor that will get 800 million rubles, which is about $24 million, to develop by June 2020 the 20-tonne spacecraft that will replace of Soyuz. A number of unofficial sources in Russia believe that Samara-based TsSKB Progress, is the one to carry out the development of the new spaceship. Roskosmos plans to perform the first manned flight in 2018.

According to Aleksey Krasnov, head of the agency's human spaceflight program, the new spacecraft will be able to carry up to six people or a cargo weighting up to 500 kilograms. The spacecraft will be reusable; it is expected to participate in 10 space mission before retirement. Its basic design will have the possibility to orbit the Earth on its on. At the same time it will be able to dock with the ISS.

To note that the new spacecraft is also expected to repair or retrieve orbiting satellites if necessary. An upgraded version of the spacecraft will be able to carry out flights to the lunar orbit and back, reports BBC News.

The spacecraft's lunar version will have the ability to fly for over 200 days in space when docked to International Space Station in orbit about the Moon. According to several Russian reports, a number of researches are currently taking place to develop a lunar orbital station, LOS, which is expected to serve as a center for lunar modules, delivering space crews from the orbit of the Moon to the satellite itself.

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