So there you go, you can read the Google translation of the Russian Federal Space Agency aka Roscosmos statement here about this conical capsule choice (or read the text in the extended entry to this posting) but is anyone surprised?
My first thought is, is it this conical capsule from the CIRA presentation I saw in Ohio?
The key points in the text you will find below are;
1 Energia will oversee the capsule design while ESA’s industrial partners will work on the service module, its engine compartment and cryptically “a new spacecraft”
2 The CSTS will be launched by a Russian rocket with a 20,000kg payload capacity (assuming that is low Earth orbit) and it wil launch from the new spaceport in Vostochny
3 The first test flight will be 2015 – just to give NASA something else to worry about its Orion project
4 There will be an “interim system”, I guess they mean design by June
For me the key element is the rocket. Samarra’s Soyuz is man-rated but can’t achieve 20,000kg, while Khrunchev Space Center’s Progress isn’t man-rated but can lift that sort of mass as can the Center’s proposed Angara-A5 but its not clear if Angara will be man-rated. So maybe the Soyuz-3 rocket is still out there as a possiblity?
14.05.2008 On the development of advanced manned transport system for future space programmes
Roscosmos and the European Space Agency have agreed to jointly undertake the implementation of the forward cargo ship to conduct flights into Earth orbit and expeditions to the moon.
It is recognized that ESA and Roskosmos have a number of technologies and unique experience to develop various space systems, which will jointly establish a modern high-tech apparatus that allows for manned flights to near-Earth orbits and [okololunnyh - Google translate say what?] with a crew of up to 6 people.
Under these arrangements Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and unified European industrial group, represented by companies Thales Alenia Space and EADS Astrium with the support of several European countries over half exercised options concepts worked on the planned space shuttle, including winged design module carrying the shell and a conical shape.
As a result of comparative analysis, as well as the Russian Federation plans to build a spaceport “East”, the parties concluded that the new transport spacecraft must be based on the ship with a conical capsule type.
The parties agreed to continue to detail the project forward manned transport system (PCA).
In so doing, agreed that will be used by the Russian launch vehicle payload capacity of approximately 18 – 20 tons, the first launches planned for launch with “East”.
It is to conduct flight tests in 2015 and the first manned launch will take place in the 2018 year.
It is anticipated that the Russian side will be responsible for designing and creating capsule transport system, a European side – the service module engine compartment and a new spacecraft.
In doing so, the overall integration in the design of PCA will implement RSC Energia.
Moscow held its regular meeting of Roscosmos and ESA to refine plans for further work within the framework of cooperation agencies to establish PCA.
Already in October 2008, is scheduled to finalize the documents that define the technical and policy aspects of the concept of a ship that will enable the parties to take a final decision on the deployment of the project PCA. В июне с.г.
In June this year will be prepared by an interim version of the system, which is scheduled to consider at a joint meeting of representatives of ESA and Roscosmos.
Press Service Roscosmos