A new-generation space rocket, called Soyuz-2, will be created in Russia before the end of 2005, Yury Koptev, the head of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, declared at a news conference in Moscow today. According to him, the capacity of this rocket will exceed that of the existing rockets (6.9 tons) by 15 percent.
Soyuz-2 will be used for launches from the Kourou space center in Guiana, beginning at the end of 2006. Test launches will earlier be made from the Russian space centers of Baykonur and Plesetsk. Space flight statistics will be received during such launches (including launches from the Kourou space center). Depending on this data, Soyuz-2 may in the future be recommended for a program of manned space flights.
The Russian aviation and space enterprise has allocated EUR121m for finishing the work on the Soyuz-2 rocket within the framework of the Soyuz-Kourou project.