In six years, Russian astronauts may pilot a completely new, unique space shuttle.
“The six-seat space shuttle “Clipper” which is still in the process of development by our scientists will substitute the existing “Soyuz” by 2010, in case we’ll have financial support,” said Deputy Director of the robotic scientific-research center “Energiya” Boris Sotnikov to RIA “Novosti”.
The project “Clipper” is already scheduled to be included in the Federal space program, by 2015. This has been reported by the first assistant director of the Federal space agency Nikolai Moiseev. “Obviously, it would be appropriate to include ‘Clipper’ in the Federal space program, developed by 2015,” stated he.
Chief designer of the research center “Energiya” Yuri Semenov has also mentioned that “Clipper” represents one of the most promising projects of the center. “Today, we are ready to embark a new stage of the construction process,” stated Semenov.
“The space shuttle, under a working title “Clipper”, is intended for delivering crew members and cargo to the orbital space stations; it is also meant to provide emergency evacuation of crew members from space stations back to earth,” explained he.
“Clipper” is a space shuttle. It can fit up to seven people on board and deliver a load weighing up to 700 kg. The shuttle can fly on autopilot for up to 10 days and in case of an emergency situation, it can safely deliver all crew members back to earth.
The shuttle can also be used to launch space tourists to space. The 10-meter long space ship will weigh 14,5 tons. “Clipper” is also intended to fly to the Moon and the Red Planet.
“Clipper” will be launched to space by means of a Russian rocket named “Onega”. The shuttle could be launched from Baikonur and Plesetsk cosmodromes.