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In March 2005, Khrunichev enterprise, Russia's major developer of rocket technology and spacecraft, unveiled plans for the country's participation in the exploration of the Moon. The Moscow-based company proposed a super heavy-lift launch vehicle, along with a new generation of partially reusable spacecraft, which could be used to support manned expeditions to the Moon.
Follow-on to the TKS series
In addition to the heavy-lift launch-vehicle, Khrunichev concurrently proposed a new manned spacecraft, loosely based on the company's long-lasting TKS family of space tugs and modules. A partially reusable vehicle could carry up to 6 people -- not coincidentally a full crew of the International Space Station -- but also clearly featured capabilities for deep-space missions. The spacecraft is in competition with RKK Energia -- which earlier proposed Kliper spacecraft with similar capabilities.
The new spacecraft would be launched by a "man-rated" version of the Angara-3 rocket, which was designated Angara-A3M.
The interior of the new version of the TKS spacecraft was designed to accommodate as many as six people. Technical specifications of the follow-on to the TKS series of spacecraft:
- Liftoff mass: 14 tons
- Crew: 2-6 people
- Number of flights: 10
- Payload to LEO: 6,350 kg (14,000 lb)
- Payload from orbit: 1,870 kg (4,120 lb)
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