Russia is Developing Reusable Space Freighters to Replace Progress Resupply Ships

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Energia Space Rocket Corporation of Russia intends to build a new reusable space freighter based on the newest Oryol crewed spacecraft under construction, Energia Chief Designer and Twice Hero of the Soviet Union Vladimir Solovyov said TASS on Monday.

“We aim to build a reusable cargo spaceship based on the Oryol spacecraft,” stated Solovyov.

According to the main designer of Energia, the new space freighter will replace active Progress resupply ships that are presently used to transport supplies to the International Space Station, perform refueling operations, and modify the orbit.

“The Progress has one significant disadvantage: we cannot return the cargo from orbit on it. The downside is that when it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it burns up “He elaborated.

Russia is working on a new human spacecraft, the Oryol (formerly known as the Federatsiya spaceship), for lunar missions. Its maiden trip without a crew is planned for December 15, 2023, from the Vostochny spaceport to the International Space Station without docking.

The Oryol spacecraft is scheduled to fly again without cosmonauts in 2024, with a subsequent docking to the space station. Crewed flights aboard the spacecraft are set to commence around 2025.