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Rocket landings for Russian capsules

30 Apr 2009, 00:40 UTC
Rocket landings for Russian capsules
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Russian engineers are considering using a rocket-powered landing system for the their next-generation manned spacecraft that could replace the Soyuz capsule. One would think that a purely rocket-based system would be much more expensive than the parachutes that Soyuz currently uses, but Russia has a political reason for it. Russia’s spaceport is in [...]

Soyuz TMA-1 launcher in Baikonur
Russian engineers are considering using a rocket-powered landing system for the their next-generation manned spacecraft that could replace the Soyuz capsule. One would think that a purely rocket-based system would be much more expensive than the parachutes that Soyuz currently uses, but Russia has a political reason for it. Russia’s spaceport is in another country, Kazakhstan, so they would really like to move it to within its own borders. However, there is not much land area where a spacecraft could touch down around the new spaceport, so they would need a landing system much more precise than that of uncontrolled parachutes.
This brings to mind the fact that Russia has to depend on a foreign country, Kazakhstan, for its manned space program. This adds more complexity to the United States’ manned space program once the Space Shuttle is retired: not only ...

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