The Soyuz spacecraft will be used as a space taxi for tourists when the new-generation Federation spacecraft becomes operational, Rocket and Space Corporation Energia said.
Soyuz has the right to continue its life, CEO of RSC Energia Vladimir Solntsev said, adding the company is also considering the possibility of upgrading Soyuz for circumlunar missions. “If we manage to do it faster, we will have a chance to perfect important systems on it, that will be further used on the Federation,” Solntsev told Russian media.
The Soyuz manned spacecraft has been used for orbital missions since 1967, when The Beatles were popular and Star Trek debuted on TV. It has been modernized several times and today the three-seat version is still operational and Russia is using it to send people to the International Space Station. Russian Soyuz is the only available taxi to the ISS and agencies like NASA are paying millions of dollars for their astronauts to ride on it. NASA backed private initiatives to fly humans to space but financial and technical difficulties postponed the launch of private astronaut taxis, leaving Soyuz the only option.
The Federation spacecraft is designed to transport people and cargo to the Moon and the space stations in Earth’s orbit. The Federation is a roomier, four-seat spacecraft that can make more precise landings and is planned to be launched in 2022.