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The ESA finds the Kliper a very interesting project
The European Space Agency's ministerial conference will gather late this year to discuss whether European finance will contribute to funding Project Kliper for Russia's pioneer spacecraft of the same name, Daniel Sacotte, in charge of ESA manned flight programs, said while in Korolev near Moscow. The ESA finds the Kliper a very interesting project, and all Agency ministers will debate its prospects toward the year's end, alongside other manned flight blueprints, he reassured. Though Russia has offered for show a dummy of its leading-edge reusable manned Kliper spacecraft to Japan-hosted EXPO 2005, it has for today no contract with whatever other country to finance the project together. "Though the endeavor is vital for Russia, we made no understandings in Japan to fund it, while the year's federal budget has not earmarked whatever sums for the purpose," Valery Ryumin, Deputy Designer General of Russia's Energia space corporation, said on a previous occasion. The company has to finance Project Kliper out of its own pocket, and Russia's overseas partners for the International Space Station are in no hurry to untie their purse strings. R&D for a thoroughly new reusable spacecraft, to carry a crew of six, promises to offer a welcome replacement to Soyuz craft even in 2010 if Rosaviakosmos-Russia's Federal Aerospace Agency-chooses to offer money, says Boris Sotnikov, second in charge of the Energia design and calculation center. "Tentatively named Kliper, the craft we are designing will deliver crews and freights to orbital stations and, in emergencies, can urgently remove men and equipment back to Earth." The Kliper will cope with self-sufficient orbital flights up to ten days long, and come up as research craft. If Rosaviakosmos approves the idea of its use for space tourism, it will carry four tourists at a time, unlike a Soyuz, with a mere one per trip, addedSotnikov. The Kliper will have six on board-two pilots and four astronauts or passengers, to carry cargos up to 700 kilograms, into the bargain. Ten meters long, its launching weight will make 14.5 tons, as Energia blueprints have it. The Onega booster rocket of Russian design and manufacture-a thoroughly updated Soyuz variant-is expected to orbit the Kliper, which can be launched from Russia's both space centers that possess Soyuz pads, i.e., from Baikonur, rented in Kazakhstan, and Plesetsk. If the Soyuz in Kourou joint endeavor proves a success, and Russia's European partners accept the arrangement, the Kliper will also be launched from France's equatorial space center Kourou, French Guiana, where a Russian launching complex is presently under construction.
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