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Russia’s new medium-class carrier rocket to get advanced acceleration unit

July 13, 2017, 17:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia’s federal space program for 2016-2025 stipulates developing a new-generation medium-class space rocket complex from 2018 to 2025

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© Piotr Gridin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 13. /TASS/. DM acceleration units used in the Ground Launch and Sea Launch programs are expected to become part of a new Russian Soyuz-5 medium-class carrier rocket, the press office of the Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation told TASS on Thursday.

"The variants of the already developed and proven upper stages under the Sea Launch and Ground Launch programs are being considered for operation together with the Soyuz-5 carrier rocket so far," the Energiya Corporation said.

The DM-SL modification has been used for the Russian-Ukrainian Zenit-3SL carrier rocket under the Sea Launch program since 1999. The DM-SLB booster has been mounted since 2008 on the Zenit-3SLB rocket under the Ground Launch international project when launches are made from the Baikonur space center.

DM acceleration units are designed to transfer spacecraft from the support to the final near-Earth orbit and also to departure trajectories. They have been created on the basis of the D unit developed under the Soviet lunar program for the super-heavy N1 carrier rocket.

Soyuz-5 carrier rocket

Russia’s federal space program for 2016-2025 stipulates developing a new-generation medium-class space rocket complex (the Phoenix R&D work) from 2018 to 2025. The Russian government is expected to allocate almost 30 billion rubles ($498 million) for the launcher’s development. The project’s budget financing will begin in 2018.

RD-171MV engines are expected to be mounted on the rocket’s first stage. The second stage will use the RD-0124M engine (developed by the Chemical Automatics Design Bureau and is currently part of the third stage of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket) instead of the RD-120 (produced in Ukraine).

In order to expedite flight tests, there are plans to use the launch pad of the Zenit carrier rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome, which Kazakhstan will modernize under the Baiterek program for the new Russian rocket. The Sea Launch compound is also expected to be used for rocket launches.

The first launch of the Soyuz-5 carrier rocket from the Baikonur spaceport is scheduled for 2022.

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