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Russia's Next-Gen Spacecraft 'Federatsiya' To Make First Flight as Zero-G Toy

First Posted: Oct 19, 2016 05:53 AM EDT

Russia is all prepared to launch its second crewed spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), following the new line of Soyuz. This will be the first flight of its next-generation, miniature vehicle.

Soyuz MS-02 will be launched on Wednesday, 19 October 2016, at 4.05 a.m. EDT from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Russian astronauts Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov will fly on board the miniature vehicle for a two-day trip to ISS along with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

A small model of Russia's latest piloted transport spaceship will be hanging over the astronauts' heads, slinging in red, white and blue ribbon. The nation space agency, Roscosmos, sees it as a replacement for Soyuz.

"Our zero-g indicator will be a toy of the new generation spacecraft," said Ryzhikov, Soyuz MS-02's commander, in an interview with collectSPACE.com, "because the [Soyuz] MS includes equipment that will be used in the new craft."

This spaceship is similar to Orion Crew Exploration vehicle by NASA. It was named "Federatsiya," or Federation by a public vote.

"Federation is a perfect name for a series of new Russian spacecraft," officials with RSC Energia, the contractor that is building the vehicle for Roscosmos, stated in a press release. "Russia is a federation of 85 constituent entities and each of them will be able to give its name for one of the ships."

Energia is the manufacturer for Soyuz, including the Soyuz MS-02 that will take off with Ryzhikov, Kimbrough and Borisenko today. The toy version of Federatsiya imitates the shape of the spacecraft's propulsion and descent modules, into the carrier's two solar array wings. The Soyuz MS-02 crew will stay at ISS with their Federatsiya zero-g indicator a little longer than 4 months before returning to Earth in February-end.

Quite similar to NASA's Orion, the real Federatsiya is being developed to go beyond lower orbit of Earth to carry cargo and people to moon. The first space flight of the full-sized Federatsiya is aimed to launch in 2023 atop Russia's future Angara heavy-lift rocket.

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