Russia Plans for Soyuz Replacement, New Rocket Advance

Russian rocket plans may prompt new space race
Jim Oberg
New Scientist

Russia is embarking on its most ambitious space project since the heady days of the space race: planning a new spaceship, launcher and even a new launch site. The plans are remarkably similar to NASA’s Orion project and could provide a vital fallback if the US, Russia or other nations run into trouble with space missions.

“Post-Soviet Russia has never had a massive project of this kind,” boasted Aleksey Krasnov, head of the agency’s human spaceflight programme in a recent press briefing.

Today the agency is set to announce the contractor that will receive 800 million rubles ($24 million) to design the 20-tonne Soyuz replacement by June 2010. The first manned flight is planned for 2018.

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