Popular Mechanics: The new vehicle will be about a ton heavier than its predecessor and will feature a radical new design. by Anatoly Zak
'If it's actually built, the next-generation cargo ship will allow Russia to reduce the number of annual cargo shipments to the ISS from four to three while still delivering all necessary provisions for three people to live more or less permanently aboard the ISS.
'Not coincidently (sic), all of these ISS problems have acquired added political significance this year. Faced with latest economic problems, and the need to reduce the number of Progress cargo launches, Russia's space agency Roskosmos made plans to cut the permanent crew of ISS cosmonauts from three to two people. However the full international crew on the ISS is supposed to include six people with half of it reserved for Russia.
'To resolve this supply problem, Roskosmos ordered RKK Energia, its key contractor responsible for human spaceflight, to prepare a preliminary design of a bigger cargo ship by the end of this month. Engineers quickly put together this proposal that would combine off-the-shelf hardware with new technology.'