PARIS AIR SHOW: Khrunichev reveals crewed spacecraft concepts

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A manned spacecraft concept called the piloted space complex has been unveiled at the show. Designed by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (hall 4, E104) it is being displayed with models and data on the company's stand.

Within the concept are three vehicles. There are two versions of a six-crew transport capsule that carries 500kg (1,100lb) or 700kg and a 24,000kg fully autonomous flying laboratory.

The data provided suggests the vehicles were part of a manned space transport system competition held earlier this year by the Russian Federal Space Agency. That called for a spacecraft that could carry up to six crew and 500kg of cargo to low Earth orbit, while having the capability to send a four-person crew to the Moon. The spacecraft would also be useable for space tourism services.

Khrunichev's baseline concept is a 14,500kg vehicle with six-person crew and 500kg of cargo, capable of a three-day autonomous mission, and able to return 500kg. It would be launched into a 51.6° inclination orbit by a Khrunichev Angara A3 rocket. This crew transport has an extended autonomous mission version, which has the same 14,500kg mass and is also launched by an Angara A3. But it only carries up to three crew, and can return 700kg of cargo. It is able to conduct a 30-day autonomous mission in a 72° orbital inclination.

Finally, Khrunichev has a specialised 24,000kg module for an orbital station, which is unmanned and launched into a 51.6° orbit for a three-day autonomous mission by the heaviest of the Angara rocket family, the A5. What is missing from the data is any reference to the lunar capabilities the spacecraft might have for it to meet the Russian agency requirements.

Khrunichev did not win the manned space transport competition. It was beaten by Energia, the company best-known for its Proton rockets, which will act in a subcontractor role for what the Federal Space Agency calls the Advanced Crew Transportation System (ACTS).

Khrunichev also proposed its Angara rockets as launch vehicles for ACTS, but the company also lost to Samara Space Center. Samara's rocket may be called Rus, an evolution of the operational Soyuz 2 booster.