By Vladimir Karnozov at Farnborough air show

Energia has been selected to lead the development of technology for a manned Soyuz-style space system, Russia's Federal Space Agency (FSA) head Anatoly Perminov announced at Farnborough.

The decision marks the first phase of the new manned space programme that Russia has agreed with its European partners, Perminov said.

A Russian second phase, intended to lead to development of the proposed Kliper six-seat winged re-entry vehicle, will be implemented "in parallel or after" the completion of the first phase, Perminov said. He said that European participation in phase two "can be discussed".

Perminov said the second phase is officially called the "development of future manned transport system", and that it is most likely to be based on the Kliper concept. It would be able to operate not only in near space, but also be capable of flying to the Moon, while its various modules could be used for flights to other planets.

The RSA is yet to decide when the Kliper work will get under way.

A Russian government tender for development of the future manned transport system was launched last year, bringing Energia, Khrunichev and Molniya into competition.

Energia general designer Nikolai Sevastianov said the Kliper "is alive and well" and that its development "goes in line with Soyuz modernisation".

The upgrade to the Soyuz crew and Progress automatic cargo supply spacecraft will include "full transition to digital technologies in all of their on-board systems", Sevastianov said.

Source: Flight International