Interesting news (via Randy McDonald) concerning a partnership between the European Space Agency and Russia to develop the Russians’ new Kliper reusable space shuttle.
It’s all but official?Russia and Europe will soon embark on a cooperative effort to build a next-generation manned space shuttle. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget, France, in June, Russian space officials confirmed earlier reports from Moscow that their partners at the European Space Agency would join the Russian effort to build a new reusable orbiter, dubbed Kliper. After the cautious optimism they expressed at the beginning of 2005, Russians are now confident that their European partners will be on board for the largest, boldest Russian endeavor in spaceflight in more than a decade.
Interesting to note that, in one of those strange coincidences, the leading designer of the Kliper system is called Vladimir Taneev – the same name as one of the leading characters in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy.