EU and Russia unveil new spacecraft

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EU and Russia unveil new spacecraft

Space flight planners have unveiled a new spaceship design for a joint EU/Russian trip to the Moon.

The EU will be building the crew capsule, using technology developed for the automatic cargo system used to supply the International Space Station.

The capsule will use rockets to land and take off from the lunar surface and to touchdown back on Earth so that it can be reused.

The Russians are enhancing their existing booster technology into a larger rocket capable of carrying six people into orbit or four to the Moon.

"If the European Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency reach agreement, Europe will supply the service module of a co-operative spacecraft," Russian aerospace writer Anatoly Zak told BBC News.

Nasa has already announced that it intends to make a trip to the lunar surface by 2020 and set up a manned base by 2024.

However, Nasa will have to develop a completely new design of rocket to do so and engineers have already expressed doubts at the timescale.

This new craft, based on established technology, could be there a lot faster, but no plans have been announced as yet.
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