Russian Soyuz Spacecraft Replacement to Fly in 2020
- 11:58 AM
- Categories: Space
Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has begun the process of designing and building a replacement for its ageing Soyuz rocket and space capsule system, with the aim of putting it into operation by 2020.programme details on the Roscomos website. The new “energy transportation module with a promising propulsion installation that will be ready for testing by 2018″ is intended for “detailed study of the Moon,” using “an entirely new class of interplanetary travel technology”.
Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the only way to ferry astronauts between the ISS and the ground below has been via Soyuz. However, in May 2012 the private company SpaceX successfully docked its Dragon capsule with the ISS on a resupply mission, the first private company to do so and a harbinger of what appears to be the increasingly inevitable privatisation of space travel. Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada are currently developing their own “ ”space taxis” after winning a NASA contract last August, while NASA’s own human-carryingSpace Launch System rocket continues to be developed ahead of its first scheduled test flight in 2017.
Roscosmos has plans to visit Mars in a joint mission with the European Space Agency, the two agencies teaming up to make the most of their resources (which are limited compared to those of NASA). It will no longer be able to rely on its Soyuz replacement being successful simply because there are no alternatives, however, considering the increased competition from private companies.
Source: Wired UK