Russia's next-generation manned space vehicle might be equipped with thrusters to perform a precision landing on its return to Earth. Engineers are considering a rocket-powered landing system for the successor to Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. If accepted, it would be the first time that a manned vehicle relied solely on rocket engines for touchdown. Previous manned missions have landed on Earth using a parachute or, in the case of space shuttles, a pair of wings. RKK Energia, Russia's prime developer of manned spacecraft, had to examine the feasibility of the rocket-powered landing as a result of conflicting requirements for the project set by the Russian government. Currently, Russian cosmonauts are carried into orbit on the three-seat Soyuz capsule. Russia is developing the new craft as a replacement to this venerable spacecraft, which has been in service for more than four decades. The Soyuz does use small solid propellant motors to soften its touchdown, but the ship's parachute plays the main role in providing the vehicle and crew with a safe landing. BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Russia mulls rocket power 'first'