Russia offers Soyuz capsule for tourist flights, even after it is replaced

Capitalism in space: The Russian company that makes the Soyuz capsule has announced that it intends to continue flying the capsule, even after the new Federation replacement capsule is operational.

“I think that the Soyuz has the right to continue its life. As long as there exists a space tourism market and this spacecraft enjoys confidence, this all should be used as essential components,” the CEO said. Energiya is also considering the possibility to upgrade the Soyuz for circumlunar missions. “If we manage to do it faster, we will have a chance to perfect important systems on it, that will be further used on the Federation,” Solntsev noted.

Energiya is now part of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and is controlled by the government. Thus, for it to do this will still require government approval. Will the Russian government allow the old capsule to exist when the new one begins flying? That would be a form of competition, something Russia hasn’t really encouraged since the fall of the Soviet Union. We shall see.

Russia names next manned spaceship “Federation”

They might not be close to building it, but the Russian government has decided that the name they will use for their next generation manned spaceship to replace Soyuz will be “Federation.”

“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,” the corporation [Energia] said [in a press release].

Don’t bet on this spaceship appearing in the near future. In fact, don’t bet on it having this name either. Remember how in the 2000s they were going to build “Clipper”? That never happened either. With a shrinking economy and the consolidation of their entire aerospace industry into a single government entity I expect Russia’s space industry to have a great deal of problems building anything new in the coming years.