Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan ready to build rocket for Lunar mission
Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan may jointly build a new super-heavy space rocket for a manned flight to the Moon, Russia's Energia Rocket and Space Corporation said Monday, according to Xinhua.
"In three or, the most, four years we will be able to build a carrier rocket of the super-heavy class capable of delivering a manned transport complex to the Moon," President of Energia Vitaly Lopota told the International Aerospace Congress 2012 in Moscow.
According to Lopota, the carrier rocket, weighing 20 tons, would be capable of carrying 70 tons of load to the space.
On a new docking technology that allows Russia's manned Soyuz spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) in a shorter time, Lopota said the new docking way would be adopted only after a couple of successful flights of the Progress freighter to the ISS.
Under the new way, space missions to the ISS could follow a fast track to reach the destination in six hours instead of usual two or three days.
"In principal, we are ready for that even now, but to increase the reliability, we will conduct one or two test launches of a Progress," Lopota said, adding that a Soyuz rocket could be launched using the new docking way in this fall.
Progress freighters have been the backbone of the Russian space cargo fleet for decades. Besides, after the retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft have become the only way for astronauts to reach the ISS at least until the middle of the decade.