Saturday, December 10, 2005

What is the Kliper?

The Russian Kliper is a next-generation Spacecraft designed to replace the stalwart Soyuz craft currently in use. The Soyuz is one of only two spacecraft currently space-worthy, the other is the Chinese built Shenzhou.
The Russian Kliper has endured several design revisions in the last decade. It began as a scaled down version of the scuttled Russian Buran shuttle project. Currently, specifications call for a stubby-winged re-usable lifting-body design with the potential to serve many needs: short tourist trips to low Earth orbit, servicing the International Space Station and eventually, missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The basic model has a maximum mission duration of five days with a full crew and payload. It will carry two pilots, four passengers and 500 kg of cargo for a launch mass of around 15 tons.
The Russians believe the Kliper, despite its 10 billion ruble price tag, will rival NASA's yet-to-be-built Crew Exploration Vehicle, preventing them from falling behind in the Space race.

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