Russia to Build New Manned Spaceship

April 4, 2009

(ChattahBox)-BBC News reports today of an upcoming announcement on Monday by Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, detailing its plans for a new manned spacecraft, called the Prospective Piloted Transport System or PPTS. The new spacecraft would replace the current three-seat Soyuz capsule, long used to blast Russian cosmonauts into space. Roscosmos official, Aleksei Krasnov said the new spacecraft could serve as a base for future Russian missions to Mars.

During Monday’s announcement, Roscosmos is expected to name the contracting developer for the project. Russian space analysts say the spacecraft contract will most likely go to TsSKB Progress, located in the City of Samara. The space agency reportedly wants the contractor to develop a spacecraft capable of orbiting in areas used for Earth-observation and spy satellites.

The leaked details of the new spaceship plans indicate it will be capable of reaching low-Earth orbit or orbit around the Moon. The Earth-orbiting spaceship would have a mass of 12 tons, hold six crew members and be able to carry 500 kg of cargo. The lunar version would weigh 16.5 tons, hold four crew members and carry 100 kg of cargo.

The spacecraft would be able to sustain 30-day-long missions or stay in space for at least a year, when docked at the International Space Station. The Russians are also considering building its own space station in the future. The lunar version of the spaceship would be capable of flying at least 200 days in space when docked to a space station.

Roscosmos recently developed a booster engine for the new spacecraft, designed with RD-180 engines, burning a mix of liquid oxygen and kerosene.

The new Russian spacecraft is not expected to be operational until sometime in 2018.


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