As the three-man Soyuz spaceship, now more than forty years old, begins to show its age
*, there are reports
about Russian plans to build a next-generation six-seater spacecraft that could not only reach Earth orbit, but also provide a shuttle service for an as yet golden-vapourware lunar orbit space station. BBC news has a concept picture
: it doesn't much resemble the much-touted shuttle look-alike Kliper
, but seems to be a rival for NASA's Orion
, a mockup of which is just about to begin open-water testing. I hope this is for real - as far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many spaceships.
*A genuine seat-of-the-pants space emergency and it doesn't make the mainstream news? Maybe we're finally beginning to think that space travel is sort of routine . . .