Russian Clipper to launch in 2013

Russian space officicals have announced that the Soyuz replacement will be ready to launch in 2013, and will start bringing cosmonauts into space by 2015.

Soyuz capsules are currently used to send both people and supplies to the International Space Station exclusively while the shuttle is grounded. They have proven them selves to be very reliable craft.

The first launch of the Clipper will be unmanned and is scheduled for 2012. The following year will have some manned test test flights. And it will go into service in 2015. The Clipper has seats for 6 persons, double the capacity of the Soyuz. It will be able to support larger crews at the International Space Station.

The Clipper will have other benefits as well. It is designed to be able to lift 12 tons as compared to the Soyuz’s 2 tons. It should make transport into space much cheaper for the cash strapped Russians.