Feeds

Russia and Europe tout new space plane

The start of the post-Shuttle era?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

Russia and Europe are in talks to build a new a space plane that will fly missions to the International Space Station once Shuttle's final flight is over in 2010.

The new plane would have a lot of new ideas in its design, explains RKK Energuya engineer Vladimir Daneev. "Since the construction of the Shuttle and Buran, a lot of new materials have been found and new technologies have appeared," he said. "We will use all this Russian know-how in the new spacecraft, and we are eager to incorporate a maximum of European technology in the design."

Artists' impression of the Kliper spacecraft in orbit

The three-module vehicle would be capable of transporting six astronauts and 500kg of cargo, or two astronauts and 700kg of supplies. It would be capable of landing on a runway, or with a parachute, according to a EuroNews report.

Since Shuttle's grounding in 2003, the Russian Soyuz capsule has been the only way to service the ISS, bringing supplies and rotating crew. As well as the capsule has done its job, without Shuttle, the station will never be complete. Soyuz is not big enough to bring up the last pieces of the orbiting habitat, including Europe's Columbus module.

But Shuttle is scheduled to stop flying altogether in 2010, and the space station will be in use long after that. NASA is not alone in planning for a post-Shuttle era, and the Russians are keen to move on from the 1960's (now, undoubtedly retro) 'Model-T' Soyuz capsule, and book their place in the future of space exploration.

Frank de Winne, a Belgian ESA astronaut, says that the Soyuz concept is getting rather old. "It is also getting rather difficult to produce this type of spacecraft. The Americans are examining a new system of manned space transport, called the Crew Exploration Vehicle; and there is the Russian Kliper project, in which Europe is particularly interested," he concluded. ®

Related stories

Shuttle to fly 13 July
NASA: Ice won't threaten Shuttle launch
Shuttle grounded until July

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.