New ESA/Russian manned spacecraft pictures!

Check out the Soyuz capsule replacement and conceptual artwork here.

One of the most unusual features about the capsule appear to be the thrusters and landing gear on its underside. Mr Zak said it would use these engines to soften its landing on Earth after the fiery re-entry through our atmosphere.

It’s interesting how the national space agencies seem to see the future in rockets, rather than space planes, for space exploration.

What with the Space Shuttle being retired in 2010, and with a possible alternative European plan for a manned version of the ATV called Jules Verne, as well as the American Ares V rockets planned for use in Project Constellation, it seems it’s no longer de rigueur to build spaceplanes unless you’re a private space tourism company.

[story from BBC News]