The first unmanned flight of Russia's Clipper space shuttle has reportedly been set for 2011, with the first manned flight scheduled for 2012.
Nikolai Bryukhanov, deputy director general of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, told Business Tuesday that the Clipper could replace the Soyuz and become Russia's main spaceship for the coming decades.
The Clipper is a shuttle craft with improved aerodynamics, allowing it to cut regular G-forces by 2 to 2 1/2 times, and irregular G-forces by 5 times, the Russian news agency Novosti reported. It will also be able to maneuver during the controlled re-entry stage, increasing the precision of the landing.
The Clipper will be able to deliver a six-man crew to the International Space Station, Bryukhanov said. With a Clipper docked at the station, the permanent ISS crew can be increased by two to three times.
Although Russia can build the Clipper using domestic technologies, the Federal Space Agency believes it will be more effective and strategically important for Russia to involve other nations in the project, Bryukhanov said.
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NASA Successfully Completes Solid Rocket Motor Test
Huntsville AL (SPX) Aug 17, 2005
NASA's Space Shuttle program successfully fired its first Production Rate Motor Tuesday, Aug. 16, at a Utah test facility. The two-minute static, or stationary, firing of the rocket motor was performed at ATK Thiokol, an Alliant Techsystems company, in Promontory, north of Salt Lake City.
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