Brand-new engines burning an exotic mix of three propellants, instead of the traditional two, are also on the table, Kirilin says.
The new Russian rocket would be much smaller than the Ares family of vehicles proposed by NASA for the new Constellation program. However, unlike the Ares, which is scheduled to fly from refurbished shuttle facilities at Cape Canaveral, the new Russian rocket fleet would need a whole new space center.
SETTLING INTO A NEW HOME
In 2007, the Russian government decided to build a new launch site for its manned space program in the nation's far east, not far from the Chinese border.
At the show, RKK Energia unveiled a proposed layout of the future launch facility, featuring a single launchpad and the support infrastructure for the manned space program, including cosmonaut housing and a training complex. If the new facility enters service as scheduled in 2018, it would end Russia's manned operations in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, after almost six decades.
About the Author
Anatoly Zak is a freelance writer, illustrator, and space enthusiast. Formerly a reporter at Moscow's Nezazisimya Gazeta, Zak is now the proprietor of RussianSpaceWeb.com. In the June 2009 issue of IEEE Spectrum, he wrote about Russia's plans for a mission to Mars's moon Phobos.