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MOSCOW, June 27. /TASS/. Russia’s spacecraft manufacturer Energia fears that successes of US companies and China’s progress in upgrading its Shenzhou vehicles may reduce the demand for Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.
"Systematic perfection of China’s manned spacecraft Shenzhou and creation of a national orbital station Tiangong are fraught with the risk demand for Russia’s manned spacecraft on the world market may ease unless their technical parameters and costs are improved," Energia said in the annual report.
Energia believes that its main competitors are US cargo spacecraft Cygnus from Orbital Sciences (performed its first commercial flight at the beginning of 2014) and Dragon, from SpaceX, which has been used to deliver cargoes to the International Space Station since October 2012.
It is expected that Dragon will make its first manned flight in 2017. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner will be put in orbit in 2018.