Headlines > News > Energia designs ISS module, Gazprom satellites, set for overhaul

Energia designs ISS module, Gazprom satellites, set for overhaul

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:37 pm
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Russia’s leading space corporation has developed a new docking logistics module for the International Space Station, is set to overhaul production facilities and will implement an energy giant’s orders, the Energia head said Wednesday.

“Energia’s proposal to the Federal Space Agency is that the new module will be produced at NASA’s expense and delivered with American cargo on board their shuttle to the ISS,” Nikolai Sevastyanov said.

He added that the delivery of the module to the U.S. had been scheduled for 2009, and that it was expected to be launched in January 2010.

The three docking nodes that the ISS currently has will be insufficient once six astronauts are servicing the station simultaneously, and four Russian-made Soyuz spaceships instead of two carry out manned missions a year.

“NASA will finance the module manufacture, and we will transport as much cargo as they ask – over two tons, but the module could also include part of the Russian payload,” Sevastyanov said.

He added that Energia will allocate 1.8 billion rubles ($70 million) to overhaul its production equipment to meet growing demand for the Soyuz spacecraft and Progress cargo ships.

He said the overhaul was also needed for the implementation of the corporation’s ambitious project to build a fleet of five new Clipper shuttles.

The Clipper, a six-person spacecraft similar to the U.S. Space Shuttle, is designed to replace the Soyuz and Progress carrier rockets in making regular flights to the International Space Station and even the Moon and Mars. It will carry two professional astronauts and up to four passengers.

In December 2006, Anatoly Perminov, the head of the Federal Space Agency, said the agency planned to start construction of the new Clipper in 2012.

And Sevastyanov said the five shuttles would cost the corporation 60 billion rubles ($2.3 billion), which would include preparing project documentation, pilot spacecraft testing and constructing four other shuttles for regular missions.

He said two shuttles would be launched from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia, and two from Baikonur, a Soviet-built space center which Russia rents from Kazakhstan. “The first Clipper will be experimental,” the corporation head said.

He said the Clipper project could be open to private investment, but with state involvement to safeguard invested funds.

Energia will also produce Yamal telecommunications satellites, a system to monitor pipelines and Polaris retransmitters for Gazcom, a telecoms subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Sevastyanov said.

“Besides Yamal-300 satellites, Gazcom has ordered the Smotr system to monitor possible pipeline spills and the Polaris [retransmitting] system,” the official said.

Energia Vice President Vladimir Verkhoturov said Energia will manufacture large-diameter antennas for the Polyarnaya Zvezda (Polaris) system to directly retransmit signals for mobile and sat-phones.

“We have signed a protocol of intent with the European Space Agency on delivering the new antenna to the ISS on board a Progress spaceship in 2009, and the mission crew will unfold the antenna during their spacewalk,” he added.

Copyright 2007 RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.

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