New spacecraft on display

Russia’s Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, has unveiled a model of the new space capsule it intends to use to go back to the Moon at the Farnborough Air Show. The capsule, which will seat six rather than four people, would be launched on a Ukrainian style Zenit rocket, the components of which are build in Russia. The capsule presently relies on a solid rocket landing system, which no manned capsule has used before due to safety concerns. This may be revised. Decisions on the name of the spacecraft also need to be made as it could end the forty year line of Soyuz architecture capsules.

Boeing, meanwhile, has released a glimpse of the commercial capsule it is developing under an $18 million contract with NASA. The crew space transportation, CTS-100, craft is a seven man capsule designed to be compatible with NASA’s Atlas and Delta rockets as well as the Falcon rockets developed by the commercial company Space Exploration. The new capsule is larger than the present design of NASA’s Orion capsule, designed to be launched on Ares rockets.

Also at the Farnborough Air Show, ESA’s Director General gave a speech and an interview captured in this video.

The UK has also announced a feasibility study into some new unmanned satellites. The MoD has successfully produced a constellation of three satellites using funds raised in the City of London. Now the Government are looking at a second constellation to help bring together the Earth Observation needs of various departments and to sell the data on the open market, as has been done with that first set, known as Skynet. The MoD are also soliciting funds for a fourth Skynet satellite.

No terminators are yet reported.

And finally, a Proton rocket looks to have escaped harm after a train collision near the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where it would be launched from. It appears two trains carrying wider than usual carriages (one including the Proton rocket) tried to pass on track without sufficient space between them. The rocket will be inspected before being passed for the launch of three Glonass satellites, scheduled for September at the earliest.


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