Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Russia Runs First Tests of Its Next-generation ‘Federation’ Manned Spacecraft

An artist's concept of the "Federation" spacecraft. Image Credit: Roscosmos

The first tests of Russian next-generation manned spacecraft called “Federation” have just been conducted, according to the vehicle’s manufacturer RKK Energia. The company announced last week, that the spacecraft’s man-machine interface elements were successfully examined at a unique ergonomic simulator.

“We carried out the first formal, documented test on this new stand in the scope of the man-machine interface development. Its essence is to evaluate the distribution of the basic information areas on displays of the cosmonaut panel,” said Mark Serov, Head of RKK Energia’s Flight-Test Department.

The simulator imitates the crew workstations in the vehicle’s command module and the crew working conditions including, like the use of rescue spacesuits. The tests were based on major algorithms of the crew activity and in all flight phases. The engineers checked launch, injection, autonomous flight and docking processes. They also carried out a series of tests to examine the phase of flight within the orbital station and within the lunar interorbital complex.

The teams will now verify the results and make further decisions regarding the development of the spacecraft. They will decide on implementing one or another of the interface elements. RKK Energia is currently also developing the technical documentation of the vehicle. The process is underway and should be finished in June.

Russia perceives “Federation” as its next-generation reusable spacecraft that will replace the country’s flagship Soyuz vessel. It will be capable of delivering people and cargo to the moon and space stations in low-Earth orbit (LEO). The vehicle will be 20 feet (6.1 m) long and will weigh approximately 14.4 metric tons during the flight to the orbital station. The lunar version will weigh nearly 5 metric tons more.

The spacecraft will be capable of sending up to four cosmonauts to space and will be able to operate autonomously for up to 30 days, with a possibility to stay attached to an orbital station for up to one year. An Angara-A5P heavy rocket will be used to deliver the vessel into orbit.

RKK Energia plans to start the construction of the spacecraft this summer. The company aims to finish building the vehicle in 2021 and first launches are scheduled for 2023. According to Roscosmos, the spacecraft will be capable of reaching the moon in 2024-2025. “Federation” will cost about $734 million over the next six years.

The name of the spacecraft was chosen in January 2016 in a public contest.

"Federation is a perfect name for the series of new Russian spacecraft. Russia is a federation of 85 constituent entities and each of them will be able to give its name for one of the spaceships," RKK Energia said.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear it's not the USA leading the way...