The BBC reports that a long overdue replacement for the Soyuz spaceship will be announced Monday. For now dubbed PPTS—Prospective Piloted Transport System—the moon-reachable ship should look like the one above.

Commissioned by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, this PPTS would go into duty sometime towards 2020. Instead of having a measly three seats like Soyuz, the standard Earth-orbit PPTS would be able to seat six and carry 500kg of cargo, while a moon-shooting version will seat four, with room for 100kg of cargo—even on the return flight. (So, like, lots of moonrocks. Whoopee!) There would also be an unmanned version that would be able to carry 2000kg of goodness up into orbit. The crew module will be able to be reused 10 times in 15 years.

Today, the Soyuz ship serves as lifeboat for the ISS, but apparently has to be replaced every six months (cuz they fall apart!). The to-be-named PPTS will last a year in orbit, attached to the ISS or, as the BBC ominously puts it, "to a possible future Russian space station."


What, we're not always going to be friends forever who share a nice tidy space station and get along? So they lied to me at the end of Grease? Stay tuned Monday for the big unveiling. [BBC News]