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Energia Launches Contest To Name Russia's Next Manned Spacecraft

Russia's largest space industry enterprise, RSC Energia has announced a contest to name its new manned spacecraft, which the company plans to begin testing next year, the company announced on its website.

The ship is currently known by its developmental name, the Prospective Piloted Transport System (PPTS). The project has been in development since 2009, and will replace the Soviet-era Soyuz spacecraft as Russia's manned spacecraft.

In the tradition of manned spaceflight, PPTS needs a snappy name, such as Soyuz, Apollo, or Dragon. Energia said on its website it will run a contest from August 30 to Nov. 2 open to any adult Russian citizen to come up with a name of no more than 15 characters.

Entries can be submitted to the company through its website, and the winner will be announced on January 15. The winner of the contest will receive a trip to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to watch the launch of a manned Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The two runners up will receive unspecified gifts from the contest organizers, the announcement said.

The PPTS spacecraft will begin testing next year, and will be the world's first spacecraft built largely from carbon fiber, the head of Energia, Vladimir Solntsev, said at a company press conference at the MAKS 2015 air show outside Moscow on Thursday.

Solntsev said this makes PPTS a unique vehicle, and that the carbon fiber will be produced domestically.

The new ship is being designed to fly aboard Russia's new Angara carrier rocket, which is being modified to launch manned spacecraft from the under-construction Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's far east in the mid-2020s. 

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