MOSCOW, October 7 (Itar-Tass) —— The new manned spaceship the Energia Corporation is designing will be launched with modernized rockets Soyuz-2, Federal Space Agency deputy head Vitaly Davydov said on Friday.
Soyuz-2 will be the first launch vehicle to take off from the Vostochny spaceport in the Amur region. The launch site is under construction. The spaceport will be put into service in 2015.
Launches of Soyuz-2 rockets from Vostochny “will put to orbit new payloads, including Earth monitoring satellites, and prepare for manned missions, which may start in 2018,” Davydov said.
Soyuz-2 launch trajectories will go above water, which will require new techniques for saving astronauts in the case of emergencies, he said.
The Federal Space Agency hopes for the future modernization of Soyuz-2 to enlarge the size of payloads put to low orbits to ten tonnes or more.
As for the Agency’s refusal to use Rus-M rockets in Vostochny, Davydov said, “the rough design will be done but the Vostochny spaceport will not use this rockets.”
He also said that the decision on possible launches of Angara rockets from Vostochny would be made when the tests were over.
An Angara launch site is under construction in Plesetsk. The first light Angara launch from Plesetsk is planned for the second half of 2013.
Earlier reports said that the first unmanned launch of a new-generation spaceship will be done from the Vostochny spaceport in the Amur region in 2015, and the first manned launch will take place in 2018.
Three Russian space centers - Plesetsk, Kapustin Yar and Yasny - meet only 30% of Russian needs, according to the Federal Space Agency.
"Plesetsk, Kapustin Yar and Yasny resolve only 30% of the Russian space industry's tasks and cannot replace Baikonur," an Agency representative said. "It is impossible to ensure an independent access of Russia to the outer space without a new spaceport."
The United States has three spaceports and six launch sites, he said. "It is planned to enlarge the number of launch sites to fifteen," he added.
China has three spaceports and two launch sites, he said.
"All the leading space nations launch rockets from their territories, and the launch trajectories go above national territories," the official said. "Russia makes its key launches from Baikonur, in particular for security reasons. The launch trajectories go through territories of other states."
"There is a potential threat of politically or economically motivated damage to Russian national interests by Kazakhstan or some other countries, through whose territories the launch trajectories go," the official said.
Apart from the annual rent payment of $115 million to Kazakhstan, Russia invests huge sums in the Baikonur infrastructure. "Meanwhile, ownership issues have not been resolved with Kazakhstan," he said.
Vostochny is the first spaceport modern Russia is building. It will be based on Russian technologies and provide the horizontal assembly and delivery of the rocket.
In 2015 Vostochny will begin to launch satellites and space freighters. The spaceport infrastructure will be fully developed in 2018-2020, and the facility will switch to manned launches. In the future the spaceport may launch heavy interplanetary spaceships.
The Russian president signed an ordinance on the creation of the Vostochny spaceport, the first-ever civilian spaceport of Russia, on November 6, 2007.