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Energia Reveals New Russian Spacecraft 356

colonist writes "Russian space officials unveiled a full-scale model of the Kliper spaceship. If funding is provided, Kliper will replace the Soyuz space capsule as Russia's human space vehicle. The spaceship, designed by RKK Energia, is twice the size of the Soyuz and will carry a crew of six. It has two main parts: a reusable re-entry craft with a lifting body design, and an orbital module. Like the Soyuz, it has a rocket to pull the spaceship away from the launch vehicle in an emergency. See this photo gallery, Encyclopedia Astronautica and"
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Energia Reveals New Russian Spacecraft

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  • by Icarus1919 ( 802533 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:37PM (#10963849)
    There is nothing more depressing to me than listening to how other industrial countries' space programs are flourishing while ours stagnates. It's as if America has lost its sense of humanity. It doesn't even really care about exploration anymore. Or apparently anything. All it wants to do is consume. Sigh....
    • by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:39PM (#10963875)
      There is nothing more depressing to me than listening to how other industrial countries' space programs are flourishing while ours stagnates.

      Especially considering that Russia has a mere fraction of the money available to us.
    • by th1ckasabr1ck ( 752151 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#10963885)
      It doesn't even really care about exploration anymore.

      What do you mean? We're exploring Iraq.

      • I knew I shouldn't have given Bush that biography of Christopher Columbus.
      • Excellent point. A rock in space, Iraq in the desert...same diff. :)
    • by voice of unreason ( 231784 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:45PM (#10963941)
      Um, this isn't "flourishing". Read the article. The ship in question hasn't been built yet, and the Russian government has not yet agreed to give the program the budget required. If Energia were to actually build this ship, then you would have a point. As it is, this is nothing more than a really good idea that will probably never be realized.
      • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @01:10PM (#10964191) Journal
        Well, it's a bit hard to build something as complex as a spacecraft before you've designed it first, and that's the step that's just been taken with Kliper.

        Your retort would be more valid if NASA was actually making similar progress: ie, designing possible STS replacements and giving its own manned programme some sort of direction. As it is, NASA seems to be (if you'll pardon the pun) in a terminally decaying orbit.

        Whereas NASA's manned programme once had a clear vision and message - using the STS in conjunction with the ISS as a stepping stone to more orbitally-based research and then on to bigger and better things - now it's unclear where exactly NASA is heading.

        Manned missions to the Moon? To Mars? Well, sure, those have been mentioned in "rallying the troops" kind of fashion after the Columbia disaster but where's the substance?

        The reality of the situation is that the STS is grounded, and even when (if) it returns to flight status it's going to be a lame duck. And I don't even want to contemplate how disasterous another shuttle loss would be.

        So, relatively speaking, given the inactivity of NASA, this Russian programme is flourishing. I don't know about you, but I'm glad that people with as much experience of manned spaceflight as the Russians haven't cashed out of this game just yet and are still willing, scientifically if not politically, to develop the technologies to further our exploration of space.
        • Remember that NASA received a complete change in direction from the rather useless ISS to a return to the moon (equally useless?). It will take them some time to complete the change as steering a government organization is like maneuvering a loaded oil tanker.

          If you ask me, NASA should provide funds to organizations like the XPrize and let man's natural motivations (greed, glory lust, etc) provide the drive to get to the moon. NASA could also facilitate things by making things available (wind tunnels, comp
          • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @02:14PM (#10964932) Homepage
            Divert funds to prizes? Prizes are nice for components and joy rides, but don't hold your breath. And yes, that's what SS1 is: a joy ride that doesn't push a single envelope, or come anywhere close to anything useful in space. If someone wins the America's Space Prize, that's at least be a step (although not a huge one). SS1 is more like an airplane powered by a rocket engine than any sort of real spacecraft. It's an aerial equivalent of a rocket sled.

            NASA should do what they're best at: research. Unfortunately, we've been making them fly a research craft for the past 2 decades (the shuttle). A research craft which was given half the budget it needed during design time, at that, leaving it with an aluminum cold frame and solid rocket boosters instead of liquid drop tanks and a titanium hot frame. We wouldn't have had any of the major problems that we've had with the shuttle if we'd gone with the original design, and maintainance costs would have been far smaller. We really need a next gen craft that takes advantage of what we learned from the shuttle (and the massive amount of reentry research that has gone on, too). It won't be as expensive now, either - titanium doesn't cost nearly what it used to, although it is still quite expensive.

            Also, I used to agree that a moon base wasn't that great of an idea - until I started reading about exactly why He3 fusion is so nice: you can contain it electrostatically, instead of magnetically like current fusion devices. In short, there would be no containment problems, the principal problem in conventional hydrogen fusion methods. And while it takes a lot of lunar regolith being heated to produce a little He3, a moon base will be heating it anyways when it refines regolith for building materials (although not nearly enough of it for a large quantity of He3 to be produced). Transport costs back to earth are a fraction of the He3 total value, although the big question will be whether processing 10 million tons of regolith for 1 ton of He3 (worth over 1 billion dollars, so it'd be about 100 dollars per ton of regolith processed) is viable. Of course, there are other potential, non-natural sources of He3 on earth (for example, high energy neutron bombardment of lithium in fission reactors to produce H3, which will slowly decay to He3), so it's really too soon to say.

            Nonetheless, I'd like to see off-earth refining equipment developed and put into use at the very least. :)
        • The Russian program is doing so-so, the only reason it is ALIVE today is the Soyuz flights that NASA bought, and the Progress resupply flights as well, all to keep ISS going. NASA bought these are a time when the guys in Russia were about to go under. NASA was hailed as a hero. But of course no one recalls that.

          Unless the Russians can sell a few of these new vehicles it isn't going to get built, they don't have that kind of budget. How far they are in the design is questionable, the article say this just a
    • by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:53PM (#10964020) Journal
      Wow, are you just deliberately being anti-NASA or do you not know what's going on?

      Has the shuttle program been all it was cracked up to be? Probably not. But it does give us signifigant capabilities that other "industrial countries' space programs" still don't have.

      Know any other countries that could send not one, but two different robotic rovers to Mars and control them for over a year?

      Hell, for that matter, just which other industrial countries are even doing anything in space right now? Ok, Russia--let's see if they find the funds to put these things in use. China--ok, China is using borrowed Russian tech to get where we were 40 years ago. True they do show more nationalistic pride in space endeavours, but then again so did we--40 years ago.

      I'm not a NASA apologist--I for one think the future of space exploration will be best served by private hands...but we're not there yet. I don't see the point of bemoaning how far behind we are, when no one actually competes with us anymore (Russians simply don't have the cash anymore).
      • And in 5-10 years, when China gets to where we were, 30-35 years ago, they'll be tied with us today. Getting to the moon and the shuttle program have made us very complacent with manned space flight. China wants to actually DO something when they get to the moon, more than just plant a flag, collect some rocks, and shoot some pictures.

        I love NASA, I really do, but they and the government as a whole need to set some long term plans, and a way to carry them out.
      • by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @04:01PM (#10966236)
        The US Space Shuttle has significant capabilities - like returning heavy payloads back from orbit - that even *we* don't use. The primary return-mission for the Shuttle is to return the Leonardo module from the ISS. Leonardo [], if you don't know, is a glorified trash can. Hell, if you compare the Saturn V launch capability to the Shuttle, the US space program took a giant step backwards because of the Shuttle (and associated politics.)

        The Shuttle is the equivalent of a pickup truck that's been tasked with replacing tractor-trailers, Greyhound busses, garbage trucks, and NASCAR race cars. Sure, it's capable of performing all those funcitons, just don't expect it to perform any of them well.

        Consider what space exploration would be like today if the Saturn V (or VI or VII) were in service today, in concert with a crew-only vehicle to transport the sentient meat. [] Use the Saturn booster to take the large, heavy ISS sections into (a useful) orbit, and haul the people up and down on a vehicle designed just for that. And while we're at it, just how do any future missions plan to escape earth orbit (to go places like, say, the Moon?) The Shuttle is incapable of getting out of LEO, so you ain't gonna use that. The Saturn series were the only ones that could get useful[*] payloads into a lunar insertion orbit. The Delta IV Heavy [] might be able to do it, but it'll be a smaller payload than a Saturn, and it'll be sans meat.

        [*] I use the term "useful" here because it's obvious we can get 1000kg to Mars or to the Moon or to interesting comets. But in terms of establishing a manned presence on another planet/moon, we need to send lots more than that ... and not in 1000kg chunks.
      • Not to contradict your point, which is valid for the first part, but have you heard of Mars Express?
    • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @01:00PM (#10964099) Homepage Journal
      the key is that we are not doing manned exploration. Sending people up in to space isn't exploration.

      We have probes to many of the planets, Mars in paticular, we are going to smack a asteroid soon, and there are plans to a new space observatory.

      Considering the costs associated with space I think the US is doing just fine. Hell, I like to wonder, where is everyone else?

      Besides this is just a mock up, it is no more valuable to space travel than a brochure from marketing... actually that is what it is, an attempt to stir up interest in what they do.
    • India, like Russia - builds rockets with shoestring budgets, as opposed to the average US ones - which cost way beyond. []
      the difference is that while developing countries/ or financially contsrained countries go through extensive optimisation. several factors too exist which spirals the costs upwards:
      1) US usually wants to dominate any sector it chooses - this will cost plenty.
      2) bleeding edge technology involves taking huge risks, plenty of writeoff on obselete
      • Thanks for mentioning NASA's research. That's what they're best at. For example, here's 21,000 pages on their site (almost all research papers) which merely contain the word "novel": &q

        They do a *lot* of research, on a lot of great things. I'm still hoping that they can manage to make Alane hybrid boosters.... that'll be the day! :)
  • See this... (Score:3, Funny)

    by double-oh three ( 688874 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:38PM (#10963855)
    'See this photo gallery'

    He just had to tempt the fates, didn't he?
  • With Russia going back to its space programmes, we're going to have more major players than during Cold War - that is, USA, Russia, China, maybe also EU.

    Let's hope everyone - in contrary to recent US projects concerning space defense systems - remembers treaties about peace in space.
  • Space Race (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RetroGeek ( 206522 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:38PM (#10963858) Homepage
    And the race is on.


    Maybe this time it will have some staying power. Na, the US government critters cannot see past the next election :-(
    • The only time I'll look to the US for anything space related is on Star Trek. I have a gut feeling that China might be the first to colonize the moon or some other big thing. Then again it sounds like my view on real life is being mixed with Star Trek already.
    • The Space unRace (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mulletproof ( 513805 )
      "Na, the US government critters cannot see past the next election"

      Um, how many presidencies has US manned space flight endured again??? Yeah, too bad they axed that one after JFK. And what race are you talking about? I think we'll sit here a moment and take a breather while everybody else catches up.
  • Earth to NASA. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joshv ( 13017 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:39PM (#10963874)
    This is the sort of thing NASA should have been working on decades ago. Instead we have the shuttle debacle, and a NASA that is still trying to pretend that the shuttle program is viable.
    • I Agree (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stone316 ( 629009 )
      Now that we have the space station NASA shouldn't be worried about having to have a shuttle as big as it is. Alot of the stuff they used to do (ie experiments) could be transfered to the space station.

      It appears to me that the Russians are used to working on a budget and design stuff to get the job done effectively. They may not be able to do all the things that NASA would like to do but are they necessary? Is that little bit extra worth 10x the cost?

      One nice thing about the shuttle was you could do

      • Re:I Agree (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @02:41PM (#10965230) Homepage
        The problem with half of the possible shuttle missions was that they were presupposed upon the shuttle launching every week.

        Repairing a satelite doesn't make sense when the repair mission costs more than a replacement satelite.

        So this design makes sense until you get launch costs down. But that's OK, because if you got launch costs down enough, spacecraft construction will be a booming business.
    • This is the sort of thing NASA should have been working on decades ago.

      They were. Even after the shuttle was built, replacements have constantly been at the same design stage this Russian thing is at.

    • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

      What you have is a NASA forced to continue using the Shuttle since every other developing alternative gets cancelled and then restarted with differing politicians. E.g., OSP vs. Bush's CEV.

      NASA is not guiltless in budget management, but you can only do so much.

    • Re:Earth to NASA. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Keebler71 ( 520908 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @01:06PM (#10964150) Journal
      This is the sort of thing NASA should have been working on decades ago

      Where the hell have you been?.

      CEV [], X-33 [], X-34 [], X-37 [], X-38 [], X-40 [], X-43 [].

      Not to belittle this Russian effort which I think is terrific, but at this point, the Russian vehicle is no more than a concept and a full-scale mock-up.

      NASA has been working on such projects for decades; whether or not they are funded is beyond their control...

    • Decades ago???? OOOOoooh, you mean like back in 1981 [], right? Let's buy some perspective here-- The goal was to create an affordable, reusable space vehical. Decades ago, this thing [] did qualify. Heck, for the russians it still sounds like it doesn't qualify.

      Sure, now it might be time for a change, but I'd say the current shuttle has served it's intended purpose pretty damn well.
      • "Decades ago, this thing did qualify."

        Didn't didn't DIDN'T.
        Damn typos.
      • Sure, now it might be time for a change, but I'd say the current shuttle has served it's intended purpose pretty damn well.

        Well you'd only say that if you were ignorant. It costs almost 500 million dollars to launch a shuttle, hardly affordable. The shuttle isn't really reusable as it has to be reassembled by a team of thousands of technicians every time it comes back to earth in preparation for the next launch. NASA was originally talking about seven day turnarounds for the shuttle, that never happened a

        • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @02:33PM (#10965150) Homepage
          ~450 million dollars:

          It carries 27,500 kg payload to LEO. So, 16k$/kg. Compared to 10k$ for Ariane-5, and 7k$ for a Proton rocket. However, the shuttle has many advantages to them (much larger payload capacity for larger satellites, the best safety records of any manned rocket with a large number of launches under its belt, much greater in-orbit maneuverability and other in-orbit capabilities), etc, so the extra cost is justified in *some* circumstances. Also, the space shuttle itself doesn't really cost 450 million dollars per launch; that number is arrived at by looking at the annual budget to the shuttle, and dividing by the number of launches. However, the shuttle's budget also goes toward research on and improvement of the craft, among other things (some projects are even barely related to the shuttle). A more realistic number is around 13k$/kg.

          > The shuttle is a piece of shit

          The safest man-capable spacecraft in the world is a "piece of shit"? It's expensive, but it's not a "piece of shit".

          > isn't quite so good at killing astronauts

          A less than 2% failure rate on man-capable craft is pretty damn good for the space industry.

          > go back to expendible vehicles such as the Saturn V

          We can't make Saturn V's any more, end of story.

          Addendum: If we'd given the shuttle development the budget that it needed (instead of *halving it* without cutting scope), it'd be a titanium hot frame craft with no SRBs, and consequently not had any of the problems that have plagued it and increased its maintainence costs.
          • It carries 27,500 kg payload to LEO. So, 16k$/kg. Compared to 10k$ for Ariane-5, and 7k$ for a Proton rocket. However, the shuttle has many advantages to them (much larger payload capacity for larger satellites, the best safety records of any manned rocket with a large number of launches under its belt, much greater in-orbit maneuverability and other in-orbit capabilities), etc, so the extra cost is justified in *some* circumstances. Also, the space shuttle itself doesn't really cost 450 million dollars per
  • Design vs. Function? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bonker ( 243350 )
    The nose of the craft looks suspiciously like the front-half of the NASA Space Shuttles, down to the white/black colorscheme.

    How much of that has to do with design and how much has to with the function of things like the reentry tiles and hull shielding?
    • by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:53PM (#10964024) Homepage
      Well, it's actually pretty simple.

      Things that get Really Fsking Hot are black because the only thing that will handle the heat is a carbon-carbon composite.

      Things that get Not So Hot are white because it's either that or beige or black when it comes to high temperature ceramics.

      There are other alternative coatings like metal, but given that the Russians have already flown a craft with shuttle-like tiles, it's probably the case that they'll stick with those.

      Except, of course, that when the Russians coppied the idea of putting tiles on their shuttles, they made them a smidge sturdier.

      Paint has undesirable properties, so you want to minimize it's use on the higher-temperature surfaces. If you look at the shuttle, except for small red maintenence markings, they pretty much stuck with that.
      • Things that get Really Fsking Hot are black because the only thing that will handle the heat is a carbon-carbon composite.

        The carbon-carbon panels on the space shuttle are grey, not black. The black tiles on underside of the space shuttle are silica based, not carbon composites.

  • by TychoCelchuuu ( 835690 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:40PM (#10963882) Journal
    The ultimate test of the Russian space program: can it stand up to an attempted Slashdotting?
  • The Soviet space shuttle was called "Energia", because it was the "mule" for shuttling between the Earth, and a planned Soviet solar energy satellite. Now that their oil mafia is running their show in Russia, their solar satellite strategy is about as likely as ours in the US.
    • As in this Buran []? Means 'snow storm' in Russian. "Ptichka" ("Little Bird" in Russian) was the name of the 2nd one built, which never flew. Energia did make the booster.

      • When I attended an Arthur P. Little (construction company) + Grumman presentation, to the Planetary Society, at Columbia University in 1990, they showed some slides they got from their new, ex-Soviet hires. They described their own program for sending up factory satellites, which would extrude girders from harvested nickel-iron asteroids, to make a US solar satellite. Among their fascinating "factoids" was the info in the slides which called the little, designed Soviet shuttle, that never flew, called "Ener
  • Okaaaaay.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shillo ( 64681 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#10963891)
    Is it just me, or does this thing really looks SOOOOO much like runabouts from Voyager (sans warp nacelles, but I guess it's a Minor Mater of Engineering... :) )?

  • by dschuetz ( 10924 ) <> on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#10963896)
    [note: The newspaper photo on the MSNBC story looks like it's got a space shuttle mockup in the background. The "photo gallery" link has better images.]

    Aside from the obvious color scheme borrowed from the US orbiters, this seems like it's really just incremental progress. Going from a 3-person Soyuz to a 6-person Klipper seems very much like one of the crew reentry vehicle concepts that have been floating around in the US for a while. One of those took an Apollo capsule, and extended it downwards a bit, to fit six people instead of three.

    On the other hand, the "lifting body" design is interesting, if it'll work enough of the time (I'm gathering the parachute reentry option is for when the runways aren't available or weather doesn't cooporate).

    On the gripping hand, I'm having Six Million Dollar Man flashbacks.
    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:59PM (#10964091) Homepage Journal
      From what I understand, the color scheme is pretty much mandatory. The black side radiates heat, and the white side reflects it; it's a matter of temperature management.
    • this seems like it's really just incremental progress.

      Of course. Incremental progress is what gave Russia the Soyuz, the cheapest, most reliable man-rated spacecraft in the world. Incremental progress is good if you want to put humans on board. (Won't the Klipper end up carrying the same number of people as the Shuttle?)

      The place to start playing with radical new technologies is with unmanned vehicles. If one of those blows up, nobody cares but the accountants.

    • On the other hand, the "lifting body" design is interesting, if it'll work enough of the time (I'm gathering the parachute reentry option is for when the runways aren't available or weather doesn't cooporate).

      The parachute reentry option is for a version that doesn't have wings. The body shape alone won't give enough lift to put you gently onto a runway at low speeds; it'll just give enough lift to let the craft spend more more time in higher, thinner atmosphere, so it can decelerate more slowly and shed
  • by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:43PM (#10963908) Homepage

    This looks rather like a step back towards thermal tiles which can be a problem in themselves when Soyuz uses one-big-heatsheild.

    Also, the shape of the re-entry vehicle is rather like a Buran nose which suggest to me a somewhat longer re-entry than the Soyuz module which 'gets it over and done with'

    I'm sure I've heard several times that the Shuttle/Buran re-entry technique is 'less-safe' compared with capsule re-entry due to the duration that the craft is actually being heated.
    • I happened to see a promotional video of one of the Energia subsidaries, who were developing Buran's thermal tiles.

      The demo'ed tiles that were about 4" x 4" and a half inch think or so. They had really impressive bit where the tile was resting flat on the palm of some girl and it was blasted with oxy-acetylene torch from the top. The spot under the torch was red hot, yet the girl was alive and smiling :)

  • by Skraut ( 545247 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:43PM (#10963916) Journal
    Just pump sci-fi movies into the White House until our president is convinced that the aliens are Terrorists...

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:45PM (#10963932)
    Russian space officials unveiled a full-scale model of the Kliper spaceship

    The KDE team [] announced they will sue the Russian government over the use of the "klipper" name, which, as everybody knows, is the name of the KDE clipboard. An outraged free software community is currently demonstrating and marching on Capitol Hill and the Kremlin to demand that justice be meeted out of the space agency. In a gesture of goodwill, the Russian space agency has decided to rename their spacecraft "firefoks". News at 11...
  • Kliper (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LMCBoy ( 185365 ) * on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:45PM (#10963935) Homepage Journal
    "Kliper", eh? I'm sure any resemblance to the McDonnell-Douglas Delta Clipper [] is purely coincidental.

    It's like deja-vu [] all over again!
    • It's about as far from the Delta Clipper as possible while still looking the same. The DCX was a tail-sitter, SSTO VTOL rocket. This sits on top of a booster and lands with a parachute, oriented horizontally.

      I miss the DCX. :-(

    • That Buran site you linked is interesting.
      From the site:
      Although the first orbital flight of Buran was unmanned, it demonstrated much promise. The autopilot that landed the shuttle was able to overcome a 34 mph crosswind to land within 5 feet of the runway center line. Also, of the 38,000 heat shield tiles that covered Buran, only 5 were missing.

      Wow. Very impressive indeed.

      I wonder what would it take for someone like Rutan or Branson to hire some of these engineers and really make space travel affor

    • "Kliper", eh? I'm sure any resemblance to the McDonnell-Douglas Delta Clipper is purely coincidental.

      It's not coincidental, in the sense that both refer to a word [] of longer history than both countries' space programs taken together.
  • About damn time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kyouteki ( 835576 )
    The Soyuz has been used for how long? I mean, I'm sure there have been internal systems upgrades, but the design is just so old that I thought they'd never change it. Then again, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:51PM (#10963999)
    FTA: The Kliper itself was a reduced-sized version of an earlier unique design envisioned for launch on the Angara or Zenit launch vehicles in the 1990's (see Energia Spaceplane 1990's). This was larger and had the re-entry vehicle mounted nose-down in the launch vehicle.

    I got interested in the launch vehicles and found this site []very informative, it has illustrations and information on various Russian launch vehicles. Its amazing how much smaller the Zenit is compared to some of the others, specifically the RLA-150 and Vulkan.

    My heart still goes with the Saturn V though.
  • wtf?

    but i think this is great for them but we are breaking into the commerical space market with spaceshipOne. we will win, again.

    i think commercial space industry will be the next big thing, thank god we are getting in on it first
    • Actually wrong. The Energia group is only partially funded by the government. They are about half commercial and have been that way for at least a decade now, that's first.

      Secondly the Russians have launched space tourists at commercial rates of about 2*10^7 USD a few times now.

  • Geez, even the ship's colors exactly match the Shuttle. Not to meantion the nose is a blatant copy. Kind of like giving the finger to the US, as if to say "take that, we've managed to fly something recently."
    • And their engineers have two arms, two legs, and are generally a light pinkish-brown color. And they all wear shirts with buttons in front! They're obviously copying us!
    • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @02:34PM (#10965159) Homepage Journal
      Wow, wow, get off your pills man, that's a conspiracy theory.

      Ever heard of Shuttle-Buran? Yeah, it looked very much like a US shuttle about 20 years ago this is the same group (Energia was the name of the group and of the booster that was used to launch Buran,) only the Buran flew once and without a human on board, it was totally automated.

      So first of all, they don't need to copy the US shuttle, they can just reuse some of their research from Buran. Secondly the color scheme? The color scheme has specific physical properties - white reflects radiation while black stores it. Besides, the compounds for the reentry shield tiles are never painted, and the silica based compounds are black, while carbon based compounds are gray.

  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @12:56PM (#10964050)
    Since I think there is considerable interest at the ESA for its own manned launch capability, how about ESA providing the funding for the completion of the Kliper project? A group like EADS could get the Russians to build Kliper spacecraft that could be launched from the new R-7 launchpad in Kourou in French Guiana at ESA's launch site.
  • They're gonna need some money to get this thing off the ground!

  • by kippy ( 416183 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @01:04PM (#10964139)
    Is it a system requirement that all new manned spacecraft have to look like killer whales?
  • "The Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, the organization that has built all of Russian's human space vehicles for the past half century,

    Space vehicals like the Buran space shuttle! [] No, wait... That was designed by NASA too...
  • In Soviet Russa ... old people are Korean spacecrafts! or something.
  • Oh, great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @01:28PM (#10964393) Homepage Journal
    Thanks to the Slashdotting, the bandwidth bill alone will set their space program back decades...
  • ROFL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @01:35PM (#10964478) Homepage Journal
    I somehow find this very funny. I still remember reading that the russian space agency did not have the money to deliver the promised parts of the ISS. So it feels like they didn't have enough money to build the current space station, so they did the one thing they could do and designed the next one. ROFL

    Poor talented but discarded engineers.
  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @01:38PM (#10964516) Homepage
    is when he says neither the US nor Europe have anything like it.

    And I'm thinking to myself, its a MODEL you assclown, you don't have it either... otherwise I'd have a B-17 bomber.

  • Picture 26 [] in the photo gallery shows a close up of the front of the ship. But what are those three 50cal machine gun ports doing there? Have the Russians developed a space fighter?
  • this is just what america needs. NASA isn't really up to designing new spacecraft. So pony up the money and let the russians build this thing and america gets to be first in line to fly it. You can pay for it with action movies and Brittany Spears' videos (something america, for the moment, leads the world at).
  • by Holger Spielmann ( 243913 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @03:09PM (#10965526)
    Great! Kliper is about 14.5 tons in launch configuration, and Ariane 5G [] can launch 16 tons to LEO. Ariane 5G was designed for the Hermes space plane, so it should be feasible to man-rate it.
    Let's hope that there will be a close cooperation between Europe and Russia. Rumours about Russia joining ESA already surface now and then. AFAIK the main prolem (next to authoritarian, non-democratic tendencies in Russia) is that the cuurent ESA treaty requires every member to pay a share of the common space projects. The treaty would have to be altered to allow Russia to pay it's share in hardware and services.
    Nevertheless, this seems as a promising opportunity to me. Especially as a the article on [] states that a major portion of the 10 bn. Rubel development costs is for the Onega booster, which wouldn't be required if Ariane 5 could be used.
  • kilper? (Score:3, Funny)

    by spasm ( 79260 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @05:46PM (#10967608) Homepage
    kliper? i can't find that under my kde menu.. can someone give me an ftp address?

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein