NOVO-OGARYOVO, June 14 (RIA Novosti) – A mock-up of Russia’s new piloted spacecraft will be showcased in August at the MAKS airshow near Moscow, Russia’s space chief said Friday.
The new craft, being developed by the Russian spaceship manufacturer RKK Energia, is expected to make its maiden flight in 2018.
“At the MAKS airshow, we will soon see the mock-up of the spaceship, which will fly in 2018,” space chief Vladimir Popovkin said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin and Russian cosmonauts.
Energia won a tender to design and develop the piloted spacecraft in April 2009. It is expected that several modifications of the ship will be made. One will be designed for Earth and lunar orbits, another to repair spacecraft, while a third will remove outdated spacecraft from orbit.
Popovkin said Friday that the Russian Federal Space Agency, also known as Roscosmos, received sufficient state funding to implement a comprehensive space exploration program but lacked “bright ideas” to use the funds efficiently.
He added that about 40 percent of Roscosmos’ budget was allocated for research into manned spaceflight and the development of piloted spacecraft.
According to open sources, Roscosmos’ core budget for this year is estimated at 128.3 billion rubles ($4 billion).