CSTS service module design updated

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The service module of the proposed Crew Space Transportation System (CSTS) had its design modified during October, while in Bremen there were further discussions about the project's workshare.

Split between a consortium of western European companies and Russia's Energia, which is expected to act as the prime contractor, a reference CSTS design is being developed before major decisions are taken at the European Space Agency's member states' ministerial meeting in November.

The ESA meeting will decide whether the agency goes ahead with the project and if so how much money its members will invest in technology development programmes linked to the manned spacecraft project. The CSTS is to be able to go to the Moon with four astronauts and take six crew to the International Space Station. It will be launched by a yet-to-be built rocket and fly after 2015 from Russia's new cosmodrome at Vostochny, which is still to be constructed.

Workshare discussions so far have agreed that Russia will develop the re-entry vehicle and ESA's industrial partners the service module.

EADS Astrium's Cristian Bank showed the latest CSTS reference design at the 59th International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow in early October. The design was first made public by Energia at this year's Farnborough air show.