Moscow, Dec 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian space rocket corporation Energia has completed the technical design of a new manned spacecraft whose flight tests are due to begin in 2017, according to Energia president Vitaly Lopota.
"We have completed the technical design project taking into account the fact that the new spaceship is to fly to the Moon, among other places," he said.
Energia won the spaceship design tender in April 2009.
Federal Space Agency Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin earlier said the new spaceship will be created by 2018. It will be able to fly not only to the International Space Station (ISS) but also to the Moon.
There will be several spacecraft modifications depending on whether the flight will use a terrestrial or lunar orbit, or carry out in-flight repair and maintenance of other spacecraft and the deorbiting of malfunctioning satellites and large fragments of space debris.
Earlier Wednesday, Lopota rejected as a "non-market" measure the idea of establishing an engine holding company in the domestic space industry.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government in summer to work out a plan to improve Russia's space industry organisations, after a string of mishaps that he said have compromised the country's image as a leading space power.
In the most recent failure Aug 7, Russia's Proton carrier rocket launched from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan failed to deliver two satellites onto their designated orbit because of a suspected mishap in the engines of its Briz-M booster.