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|World to Cooperate on Russian Kliper Space Plane Project|
The European Space Agency is reporting that it is "envisioning" cooperation with Russia to participate in the development and use of the next-generation reusable Kliper space plane. The space plane, designed partly to ensure the continued ability to reach the International Space Station but with the capability to do more, would use modern technology from Russia and Europe to replace the 40-year-old Soyuz concept as Russia's primary spacecraft. With Europe participating, it would provide the ESA with its first-ever ability to carry its own astronauts into space. Japan has also expressed interest in joining the project.
|Full-scale model of Kliper at Le Bourget Airshow.|
The Kliper would seat six people and lift 700 kg of cargo into orbit, and the Russians plan on using the craft for missions to the International Space Station, the Moon, and the Mars mission in 2015. It would have the capability of parachuting into the Russian steppes or landing on a runway like the Space Shuttle. At this point, it looks to compare most favorably with NASA's future Crew Exploration Vehicle, which, while not finalized, would either be a non-reusable capsule or of similar construction to the Kliper.
(More info: ESA.int, Yahoo! News)
- posted by Brian @ 14:27 EST