The old MAKS Russian Space Plane might be new again - 2010.0
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We're spreading rumors about a old yet new Russian Space Plane on your Spacevidcast for April 28th, 2010.It seems that unmanned space planes are all the rage these days. The Air Force recently launched their X-37B and last Friday Russia hinted that they may revive one of their long dead space plane programs. The Russian Multipurpose Aerospace System or MAKS is an innovative space plane that had its development frozen in 1991. In response to the US Air Force's recent launch of the X-37B, the Russian aerospace designer Vladimir Skorodelov has said that this could spur Russia to restart their own defunct Space Plane program.The Russian Shuttle is much like the X-37B, about the same size, same style, it is unmanned and can't get to orbit on its own. Back when it was designed in the 80's the Russian shuttle would launch aboard an An-225 airplane carrier, much like Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnight carrier. Unlike Virgin Galactic the MAKS vehicle will sit atop the airplane, not below it.The interesting thing about MAKS is that there is both an unmanned and manned configuration of the vehicle. Actually, there are three versions of MAKS on the table: MAKS-OS which is the manned orbital plane. MAKS-T which is designed to inject heavy payloads in to orbit. And finally MAKS-M which is a completely reusable unmanned space plane.