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Prospective Piloted Transport System

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Title: Prospective Piloted Transport System  
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Subject: Russian Federal Space Agency, International Space Station, Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex, Orion (spacecraft), Soyuz-V
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Prospective Piloted Transport System

Role: Low earth orbit transportation, possibly to the Moon, or Mars
Crew: 6[1]
Pressurized Volume: 33 m3[2]
Mass: 12,000 kg[1]
Endurance: 200 days (docked to Station)[1]
Operator: Roskosmos
Carrier Rocket: Rus-M (canceled)[3]
Angara A5 (planned)[4]
Launch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome
(formerly planned)
Baikonur Cosmodrome
(currently planned)[4]
Major Contractors: RKK Energia
Formerly proposed CSTS design

PPTS (Prospective Piloted Transport System or Перспективная Пилотируемая Транспортная Система, Perspektivnaya Pilotiruemaya Transportnaya Sistema), unofficially called Rus, is a project being undertaken by the Russian Federal Space Agency to develop a new-generation partially reusable capsule manned spacecraft. Its official name is Пилотируемый Транспортный Корабль Нового Поколения, Pilotiruemyi Transportny Korabl Novogo Pokoleniya or PTK NP meaning New Generation Piloted Transport Ship. The goal of this project is to develop a new-generation spacecraft to replace the aging Soyuz spacecraft developed by the former Soviet Union and it is similar in design and function to the US Orion spacecraft. The PPTS project was started following the failed plans by Russia to co-develop Crew Space Transportation System (CSTS, until middle 2006 named ACTS) with Europe. Following this the Russian Federal Space Agency ordered the local space industry to finalize proposals for the new manned spacecraft.[5]


When the Kliper project was revealed to the public, the officials admitted that despite its pragmatic and cost-conscious design, it had little chance of materializing without large financial assistance from Russia and abroad. Hence, the Russian Space Agency and RKK Energia launched an effort to market Kliper to international partners.

With NASA out of the equation due to its Orion spacecraft, which was a part of the Constellation Program, Russia turned to Europe as a prospective partner. Previously, ESA officials had inquired whether they could be part of the Constellation Program of the United States, however they received a negative response.[6] Hence, Europe decided to join the Russians to co-develop a new-generation manned spacecraft. But, ESA insisted on a joint design rather than the Russian-designed Kliper. As a result, the joint Russian/European CSTS project came into being.

CSTS had completed an initial study phase, which lasted for 18 months from September 2006 to spring 2008, before the project was shut down before an ESA member state conference in November 2008. ESA decided to part ways with the CSTS project as it wanted to pursue a crewed version of its Automated Transfer Vehicle(ATV).[7]

At the same time the Russian Space Agency had repeatedly received proposals from Moscow-based Khrunichev enterprise to develop a new-generation manned spacecraft based on the TKS spacecraft that would be launched on the new Angara launch Vehicle. Citing the requirement to start work on a new manned spacecraft, Russia decided to go forward with the project all by itself.[8]

From the left to the right, the Soyuz spacecraft, ACTS for low Earth orbit missions, ACTS for lunar orbit missions

By the first quarter of 2009, [9]

Although Roskosmos has officially remained tight-lipped about the project, a number of Russian officials made statements hinting about various stages of the project. On January 21, 2009, the head of Russian space agency Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper, that Russia would likely proceed with independent development of the next-generation manned spacecraft. According to Perminov, the agency and its main research and certification center—TsNIIMash—had already conducted an expanded meeting of the Scientific and Technical Council, NTS, examining follow-on transport systems, including the next-generation manned ship. It would be followed by a government tender to select a developer for the new vehicle. The new spacecraft would be expected to enter service within a time frame of the Orion spacecraft, however a more detailed development plan would be ready with the preliminary design of the vehicle in the middle of 2010, Perminov said.

In the first quarter of 2009, Roskosmos released requirements which were used in the development of the Technical Assignment to the industry working on the PPTS project. The preliminary development of the project was expected to take place from March 2009 until June 2010 at the estimated cost of around 800,000,000 rubles ($24 million). The work apparently covered only an Earth-orbiting version of the spacecraft, while laying the foundation for later lunar-orbiting spacecraft, or even a Mars-bound crew vehicle.

The agency's general requirements asked the industry to develop a vehicle of "foreign" standards in its technical capabilities and cost, while at the same time using existing technologies as much as possible.[9]

Preliminary design

Roskosmos has envisioned several versions of the spacecraft.

The Earth-orbiting version of the ship would have a mass of 12 tonnes and carry a crew of six, along with no less than 500 kg of cargo. It would be able to fly 30-day-long autonomous missions, or a year-long mission, while docked to the ISS in the orbit, with the inclination 51.6 degrees, and to the future Russian space station launched from Vostochny into a 51.8-degree orbit.[10]

The lunar version would weigh 16.5 tonnes, have four seats, and be capable of delivering and bringing back 100 kg of cargo. It would be able to fly 14-day missions to orbit around the Moon, or stay docked to the lunar orbital station, LOS, for up to 200 days.

The unmanned cargo version of the vehicle would be required to carry no less than 2,000 kg to Earth orbit, and return at least 500 kg back to the planet's surface.

As of March 2009, the agency extended the accuracy of the crew capsule landing on the Russian territory to 10 kilometers, while directing the developers to continue work on various modes of high-precision landing. Emergency escape and landing capabilities were mandated for every phase of the mission and had to provide the survivability of the crew until the arrival of the rescue and recovery teams.[9]

The vehicle, like Soyuz, would be wingless and be able to conduct fully automated and manual docking, and have enough propulsion capabilities during transport missions to dock and re-dock with orbital stations, low-orbital platforms, unmanned spacecraft, and modules, and then to provide for the safe return of the reentry vehicle to Earth. The reentry capsule should only employ environmentally safe propellants during the atmospheric phase of the flight. Roskosmos has reserved the option of making the crew module of the spacecraft reusable, reckoning that a cone-shaped capsule could fly up to 10 missions during a 15-year lifespan.[10]

It has been suggested that the vehicle would only use rocket thrusters to slow itself down during its landing, unlike the Soyuz reentry module which relies on a parachute to slow its descent, and uses solid propellant motors only to soften its touchdown.[11]

Launch vehicle

A formal industry-wide tender for the development of the manned launch vehicle to launch PPTS was apparently initiated at the beginning of 2009. Although the agency has delayed the announcement of the winner, many unofficial sources in Russia maintain that TsSKB Progress, based in Samara and KB Mashinostroenia, will lead the development of the new rocket.[12] It was believed that the launch vehicle will feature a three-booster first-stage, each booster equipped with powerful RD-180 engines, burning a mix of liquid oxygen and kerosene. The engine was originally developed by Moscow-based NPO Energomash for the US Atlas 5 rocket and its performance to date has been impressive. The second stage of the new Rus-M was expected to sport a pair of RD-0124 engines, currently in use on the Soyuz-2 rocket. Thus, both stages of the future launcher would be equipped with newest existing power plants, greatly reducing the cost and the risk to the overall project.[5] In October 2011, it was announced that the Rus-M program was being canceled.[3]

In July 2012, it was reported that the Angara A5 is PPTS' new launch vehicle.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Zak, Anatoly (July 2008). "Soyuz ACTS History". Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Marin, Daniel (2011-09-05). "New details on the Russian spacecraft PTK-NP" (in Spanish and Russian). Retrieved 5 October 2011. (7th image from the top) - The volume of the recovery vehicle - 33 m3 
  3. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (7 October 2011). "Replacement for Soyuz rocket canned by Russia". SpaceFlightNow. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Coppinger, Rob (19 July 2012). "Russia Converts Unmanned Rocket to Carry New Crewed Spaceship". Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b (17 March 2009) "Russia Reviews Bids For New Moon-Bound Space Rocket"
  6. ^,1518,443901,00.html
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c Anatoly Zak (11 February 2009) "PPTS - Prospective Piloted Transport System" russianspaceweb
  10. ^ a b Anatoly Zak (3 April 2009 ) "Russia to unveil spaceship plans" BBC
  11. ^ Anatoly Zak (29 April 2009) "Russia mulls rocket power 'first' " BBC
  12. ^

External links

  • A prospective look at PPTS
  • The carrier rockets of PPTS
  • Interior of new russian spacecraft
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