MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) – A new Russian spaceship for trips to the moon or theInternational Space Station will have at least one crucial advantage over its American rival – a toilet, one of the craft’s developers said Friday.
“I don’t think I need to elaborate on how a waste-collection system is much more comfortable than the diapers that astronauts aboard the [US spacecraft] Orion will have to use,” said Vladimir Pirozhkov of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, which is involved in the development of the Russian ship.
“Besides, the Russian segment of the International Space Station [ISS] has a limited number of toilets, which means a spacecraft with an extra ‘space toilet’ will come in handy,” he added.
A prototype of the Russian spaceship was unveiled last week at Moscow’s popular MAKS airshow.
Two versions of the spaceship will be constructed: a six-seater for trips to the ISS, and a four-seat “luxury” version capable of storing huge amounts of food and water for trips to the moon, Pirozhkov said.
The first unmanned test launch of the new spacecraft is scheduled for late 2017 or 2018, and a manned flight is expected by 2020.
The rival Orion craft, developed by NASA and the European Space Agency, will be capable of taking up to four people on missions to the ISS, Mars or near-Earth asteroids. It is slated for a debut unmanned flight in 2014 and a manned one after 2020.