Sunday, May 15, 2005

Russia Moves Ahead With Soyuz Replacement

In April the Russian government announced support for moving ahead with the Kliper project. The craft id designed to land either with wings on an air strip or with a parachute on land. (Why again can't the U.S. do this?) The craft is composed of two parts, the piloted component will be reusable up to 25 times, but the hardware component would be replaced after each mission. It would be capable of carrying up to six passengers, and it is claimed that could be used for missions to the moon and beyond. The Kliper may enter service within five years.

Information about the announcement is available at MosNews and SpaceDaily.

More diagrams of the Kliper and its launch configuration are available here.

The Russians seem to be taking a common sense approach to the Kliper, building upon tested-reliable technologies. For instance, the two part design of the Kliper is nearly identical to that of the Soyuz. They plan to used existing boosters. And the Kliper is designed to simply move people from Earth to space and back again and do it well, rather than the everything and the kitchen sink syndrome the US space program seems to keep falling victim to.