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Russia to start flight-testing new cargo spacecraft in 2016-17


KOROLYOV (Moscow Region), April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Flight tests of Russia's new cargo spacecraft will start in 2016-17, the general designer of the RSC Energia rocket manufacturer said on Monday.

"We will make the new cargo ship more economical, less expensive than those used today," Vitaly Lopota said.

He said the cargo spacecraft would be part of a new transport system also including a new manned spaceship and a new launch vehicle.

RSC Energia won a tender for a conceptual design of a new manned spacecraft, worth 800 million rubles (about $25 million).

Lopota said the new system is planned to be launched from at a new space center, Vostochny, in Russia's Far East, which is expected to take five years to build and enter service in 2015.

Russia currently uses two launch sites for carrier rockets - the Baikonur space center in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia.

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