The Gagarin has a “fighter-like” cockpit, but it's on the ventral (“bottom”) side of the craft, rather than on the dorsal side as it might be in an aircraft. The reason for this is that the seats are designed to pivot 120 degrees to allow a view during lunar landing. During normal operation, the seats face forward (opposite the thrust line). By pivoting the seats and controls 120 degrees, the pilots can look out the ventral side at the horizon when the ship is sitting on its tail. This unusual layout takes some getting used to, but is quite useful for manual lunar landings.
The main engines are pure solid-core, folded-flow (wire-core) engines, without the tradeoffs that gave the Aries additional Isp at the expense of thrust/weight. Thus, the Gagarin's engines are less efficient, but have greater thrust. Because the engines have greater thrust, LOX injection is not used for the Mars variant (Gagarin-M). Additional engines are added to the Mars variant, but the additional boost provided by LOX injection was not required.
The Aries comes in cargo and passenger variants; the Gagarin does not, as it mixes the two. With a smaller cargo capacity than the Aries Ic, and a smaller passenger capacity than the Aries Ib, it is nonetheless more flexible in operation. Cargo is carried on the flat forward face of the Gagarin.
|The World of 2001|
Spacecraft: Aquarius | Aquarius Id | Aries | Bondarenko | Centaur-O | Draco | Gagarin | Herculis | Komarov | Komarov-bis | Merkur | Moonbus | Orion | Patsayev | Polaris 1-XE | Rocketbus | Skorpion | Taurus | Titov V | Titov G
Surface bases: Aberporth | Baikonur | Brest | Canberra | Cape Canaveral | Clavius Base | Cuxhaven | Hainan | Kadena AB | Korolevgrad | Lunar Observatory | Moscow | Phobos Base | Port Lowell | Prime Base | Serenitatis Base | Tchalinko | Tranquility Museum | Tycho | Washington