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 rocket booster
, 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 booster, 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 kilograms
- Payload from orbit 1,870 kg
Another TKS-based spacecraft is Excalibur Almaz's modernized TKS VA capsule, which is intended for private spaceflight.