EADS Astrium unveiled a full scale model of a manned spacecraft this week that is based on the unmanned Jules Verne space freighter that is currently being used to ferry cargo and supplies to the ISS in orbit.
Astrium says that a manned version of the Jules Verne is the next logical step and could fly in the next decade if it receives support from governments in Europe. Some key governments are already expressing interest including Germany, France, and Italy.
The crew cabin replaces the cargo section of the Jules Verne, but keeps the avionics and propulsion end of the craft. The interior isn’t what would make the final ship, more gear would be needed. With U.S. shuttle fleet retiring in the next several years new manned space vehicles are needed.
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Via BBC News