The Russian Space Agency today announced that it has it's very own delta winged space shuttle in which they say can deliver payloads to orbit.
Called the Multipurpose Aerospace System (MAKS), the Russian shuttle has the same style and size as the American Air Force's recently launched X37-B spacecraft.
However, unlike the X37-B which used an Atlas 5-501 rocket to achieve orbit yesterday, the MAKS will use an airplane carrier to achieve the initial climb to orbit.
Rocket manufacture Molnia's General Designer Vladimir Skorodelov acknowledged his country's mini-shuttle today on the heels of the American launch of two space shuttles in April -- Discovery and the X37-B.
"The spacecraft was designed in '80s and it is still in work. This is a reusable multipurpose aerospace system of the same size as U.S. Х-37," Skorodelov stated to TASS news today.
Skorodelov also mentioned that Russia is eager to see it launched soon.
The space agency stated today that the cost of sending 2.2 pounds of cargo into space is between one to two thousand dollars. They stated that the American shuttle costs nearly $20,000 for the same weight.
Russia experimented with an unmanned space shuttle in the 1980's, which had nearly the same dimensions as the U.S. orbiters.
The Soviet Union's shuttle Buran (above) made one unmanned trip into space in November 1988, but the fall of the Soviet Union, and Russia in turn became cash strapped, and thus cancelled their shuttle program in 1992.