Spaceflight Insider

Roscosmos confirms 2021 test flight of Federation spacecraft

An artist's concept of the "Federation" spacecraft.

An artist’s concept of the “Federation” spacecraft. Image Credit: Roscosmos

The head of the Roscosmos State Corporation recently confirmed the first test flight of Russia’s next-generation spacecraft, Federation, will take place in 2021. The spacecraft’s maiden orbital mission will launch without a crew from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s Far East.

“The first launch of an unmanned version is planned in 2021,” Igor Komarov, the Director of Roscosmos, said during a meeting dedicated to the construction of Vostochny.

Currently under development by RKK Energia, the Federation spacecraft is planned to by completed by 2021. Besides the first test flight, one uncrewed mission and one test mission of a crewed variant of the vehicle are scheduled for 2023.

RKK Energia tested the spacecraft’s crew-machine interface elements on a unique ergonomic simulator in May 2016. During these trials, the company checked out launch, insertion, autonomous flight, and docking procedures. The engineers also examined the flight phase toward an orbiting space station as well as circumlunar trajectories.

The Federation spacecraft will measure some 20 feet (6.1 meters) in length and have a mass of approximately 14.4 metric tons. It should be capable of delivering people and cargo to the Moon and to space stations positioned in a low-Earth orbit. The spacecraft will replace the country’s flagship Soyuz vehicle, and the cost of its development is estimated to be about $734 million over the next six years.

An Angara-A5P heavy rocket will be used to deliver the Federation spacecraft into orbit. After launch, the capsule will be able to operate autonomously for up to 30 days, with the possibility of staying attached to the International Space Station for up to one year.

In June 2016, Roscosmos revealed a plan to send cosmonauts to the Moon aboard Federation on a regular basis as soon as 2025. The officials announced the spacecraft could carry out one or two crewed launches yearly in order to transport humans to lunar orbit. This ambitious plan includes crewed landings on the lunar surface and sending cosmonauts on a trip beyond the Moon’s orbit to the Sun-Earth/Earth-Moon Lagrangian points.


Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

Reader Comments

Does it still use Soyuz style Probe and Drogue docking system?

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