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Russia’s new cargo spacecraft to make first flight after 2020

The new generation cargo spacecraft will be put in space from the Baikonur site in Kazakhstan

MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. Russia’s new generation cargo spacecraft, due to replace the current Progress MS family, is scheduled to begin flights to the International Space State ISS after 2020, the designer of all of Russia’s spacecraft, Energia Corporation, has told TASS.

"The first flight of the enhanced payload cargo spacecraft is possible after 2020," the corporation’s press-service has said.

Later on the spacecraft will be commissioned to provide all transport services for the Russian segment of the ISS, while the Progress MS launches will be terminated.

The new generation cargo spacecraft will be put in space from the Baikonur site in Kazakhstan, just as the Progress family.

"Once the new vehicle goes operational, we will be able to send more cargoes each time. The economic effectiveness of such launches towards the ISS and its future successor will grow. This is very important to us," Energia CEO Vladimir Solntsev said.

Warehouse spaceship

The development of a new cargo spacecraft came to the forefront with the development of the enhanced payload spacecraft Soyuz-2.1B. The new rocket is capable of putting in space 1,200 kilograms more than its predecessors. The contract for the development of a new cargo spacecraft was concluded in December 2015. Its preliminary design is to be finalized in December 2016.

"The measures taken at the preliminary design phase to enhance the spacecraft’s cost effectiveness will help cut the cost of delivery of one-kilogram payload by 15% in contrast to that of the Progress MS cargo vehicle," the Energia corporation said. The new cargo craft will be able to put in orbit a payload of 3,400 kilograms, nearly one tonne more than the Progress MS series spacecraft (2,600 kilograms).

To keep the Russian segment of the ISS manned by a crew of three and going the new ship will have to be launched three times a year, while Progress vehicles have to be launched up to four times a year. The cargo compartment of the new ship will have a central passageway letting the crew reach the remotest racks.

The crew will be able to use the spaceship as a warehouse, which will make the spacecraft’s effectiveness still greater, the Energia Corporation said.

In contrast to US cargo craft the Russian ones will be not returnable.