MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. The name Gagarin, that of the first man in space, tops the Internet shortlist of names for a new-generation manned transport spacecraft, the press service of Russia’s Energia Rocket and Space Corporation said on Tuesday.
"As many as 4,400 people who took part in the Internet voting suggested the new spaceship be named after Earth’s first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin," a service news release said.
Gagarin is followed in popularity by Vector, Federation, Astra, Galaxy, Rodina (Motherland), Mir (World), Zodiac, Zvezda (Star), and Leader.
Public voting will be open until December 23. Whoever has entered the eventual winning name will take the main prize, a trip to Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan to watch the launch of a Soyuz manned cargo spaceship to the International Space Station next spring.
The new vehicle will service Russia’s lunar program. The ship, accommodating up to four crew, will be able to stay in independent flight for up to 30 days and up to a year when docked to the space station. The ship’s weight in orbiting flight will be 14.4 tons, and 19 tons in a lunar mission. The 9-ton re-entry unit will be made of composite materials.