Energia holds lead in Kliper contest

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But cheaper, more efficient bids could still win through

Energia is further forward than its rivals in design of the Kliper reusable manned spacecraft, but could still lose the competition to develop the vehicle, says Russia’s Federal Space Agency (FSA). Energia is competing against two other Moscow-based companies, Khrunichev and Molniya, for the Kliper development contract.

kliper

The winner will be announced on 3 February, and a contract awarded by 23 February. Krunichev has proposed a capsule and Molniya its Shuttle-like two-pilot Multi-purpose Aerospace System, while a graphic on the FSA’s website appears to show a revised Energia design with a discrete wing.

“Of the three [bidders], Energia is at a more advanced stage of determining its version of the spacecraft,” says the FSA. But it says Energia may not win if the other bidders offer less expensive, more efficient proposals.

The FSA launched the second phase of its selection process with a closed tender on 18 January. The first phase was open.

The industrial proposals will help the FSA determine the level of state funding for the Kliper project. The tender evaluation team consists of five working groups focused on overall performance and design of the spacecraft; development and manufacturing capabilities of bidders; deployment on launch vehicles and ground infrastructure; manufacturing technologies and construction materials; and the analysis of aerothermodynamics, ballistics and strength.

VLADIMIR KARNOZOV / MOSCOW