Kliper was a proposed replacement for the Soyuz Spacecraft. Kliper was designed and developed in Russia by Moscow’s space rocket corporation Energia. It was going to be used for flights to the International Space Station and the Moon.

Kliper Picture

The 14,000 kg Kliper was able to carry a six member crew and a 700 kg payload.

Two modifications of Kliper were proposed for use:

1. Load carrying hull would have enabled the spaceship to land on any flat ground with a parachute.

2. Aircraft-Style Hull. The aircraft style modification was being developed in collaboration with the Sukhoi Design Bureau. A winged Kliper would have been able to land only on an airfield.

Both modifications many have been used. Kliper’s configuration was changeable depending on the mission.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (FSA) was working on the project to launch a new space shuttle called Kliper.

Rocket Booster Options

Three options were considered for booster rockets for launching the new Kliper space shuttle to orbit and they were:

1. Onega, a modified Soyuz rocket from a Plesetsk launch pad. It was a proposed new generation rocket from Energia.
2. The new generation Angara booster rocket
3. Ukrainian Zenit from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Kliper could have been launched in the future from other launch pads, including Kourou in French Guiana.


The design of the manned spacecraft Kliper, full-scale ground tests of various models of the spacecraft and its on-board systems, as well as the production of the first flight spacecraft and its launch, according to preliminary estimates required approximately 10 billion rubles (360 million dollars) in 2004 prices.


– In March 2004 a full-size mock-up of Kliper (PKK Clipper) was started. It was used for design and technological prototyping. 

– On 16th September 2004, FSA deputy director Nikolai Moiseyev announced that the Kliper project had been included in the federal space program for 2005-15. He also mentioned if the program was implemented successfully the first launch may take place in five years.

– The presidents of the Common Economic Space countries (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus) in September passed a decision on setting up a space rocket corporation for joint use of the space complex Kliper-Zenit and ordered the governments of their countries to come up with concrete proposals by December 15, 2004.

– Russia’s Kliper Space Shuttle was shown for the first time on November 30, 2004.

– The new Russian space shuttle Kliper was exhibited as a full scale model at Le Bourget on June 13-19, 2005.

– The Kliper project was supported by the leadership of Roskosmos and included in the draft Federal Space Program of Russia for 2006-2015. Roskosmos and RSC Energia were interested in international cooperation in the implementation of the project. This was already the subject of negotiations with ESA and Japan.

– The competitors for the right to be included in the Federal Space Program for 2006-2015 were: Kliper (Clipper), MAKS spaceplane and TKS capsule.

– It would have taken about 5 years to develop and manufacture Kliper. It was proposed to produce four flight ships. The first two launches were planned to be unmanned. If the financing was available, the first Clipper launch may taken place in 2011.

Did you know?

* The Soyuz Spacecraft provides human transport to the International Space Station.

* Russian spacecraft traditionally use landing capsules which descend on parachutes. The only Russian space shuttle project Buran landed on an airfield. Buran shuttle made an unmanned spaceflight in November 1988. Buran shuttle performed only 1 flight. It orbited the Earth twice and landed automatically. Since the first flight it has been located in storage at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Several other copies of the Russian shuttle were built as part of a test program and through the years have all become known by the name Buran. One of them is now used as an attraction in Moscow’s Gorky Park.


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