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Thursday, December 8, 2005

ESA Not Backing Kliper?

Kliper mock-up on display at the Le Bourget Airshow.
Kliper mock-up on display at the Le Bourget Airshow.
Credit: ESA/CNES
In July, we reported that the ESA and Japan were favorably considering supporting Russia's next generation spacecraft, the Kliper. Unfortunately, this has since shifted to being much less likely, as ESA officials believe that they would not have enough control over the project to make it worth-while. Japan is considered by most observers to be less likely to support the project if Europe does not go along with it. This may mean the death-knell for the spacecraft, as Russia badly needs money to continue development. However, all hope is not lost, as the ESA director-general has been quoted as saying, "We still need two transportation systems in the world."

The Kliper was supposed to have been a low-cost alternative to NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle, with the ability to go around the moon with six passengers and 700 kg cargo, and with talk of missions to Mars using it.

(More info:

- posted by Brian @ 22:48 EST