Russia, China to Adapt Spacecraft to Fly on Each Other’s Super Heavy-lift Launchers

Ergonomic testing has been conducted for the new Orel spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

There was an interesting report from Interfax about Russia and China’s plans to explore the moon.

Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) have reached a verbal agreement to adapt their crewed spacecraft to each other’s super heavy-lift launch vehicles (LV), the Russian state space corporation’s Executive Director for Science Alexander Bloshenko told Interfax.

“We have already had a discussion on the possibility of adapting our super heavy-lift launch vehicle to their, Chinese, spacecraft and vice versa – their spacecraft to our super heavy-lift LV,” Bloshenko said.

In March, the two nations announced they would be collaborating on the construction of a crewed lunar base.

China is developing the Long March 9 booster, which is designed to place 140 metric tons into low Earth orbit (LEO) and 50 metric tons into Earth-moon transfer orbit. The maiden launch is scheduled for 2028.

Russia’s super-heavy Yenisei booster is designed to launch 103 to 140 metric tons to LEO. The maiden flight is also scheduled for 2028.

Russia’s Changing Story on ISS and its New Space Station

The International Space Station, photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli following the undocking of his Soyuz-TMA on 23 May 2011. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, this is interesting. And by interest, I mean what cynics had been predicting all along.

In the space of a couple of weeks, Russia’s plan for the future of the International Space Station (ISS) shifted from full withdrawal in 2025, to gradual withdrawal and the launch of a new Russian-only station beginning in 2025, to we’re fine with extending ISS to 2028 and we’ll start launching our new station then.