Soviet…umm…Russian officials have announced that they plan to develop a sort of “Super Soyuz” manned spacecraft.
The new craft will be able to carry at least six cosmonauts and have a reusable crew section, Russian Aerospace Agency director Yuri Koptev said at a news conference. Soyuz carries three cosmonauts and isn’t reusable.
The spacecraft, designed by the RKK Energiya company, will have a takeoff weight of 12-14 metric tons (13-15 tons) — about twice as much as the Soyuz, which was developed in the late 1960s.
Energiya has also proposed developing a new booster rocket based on its Soyuz booster to carry the new spacecraft to orbit.
I’m skeptical that Russia is going to be able to put together the money for this baby, but maybe the EU will foot part of the bill for a partnership.
If they do manage to pull it off, I expect that it will fly sooner than and will be more reliable than what ever contraption NASA cobbles together as its Crew Exploration Vehicle. Also, the booster will probably be cheaper and more reliable.
At least I’m not bitter.