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MOSCOW, March 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Agency for Special Construction Project (Spetsstroy) said it was hoping to finish building the launch pad for the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket at the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far Eastern Amur region before the end of July 2015.
Spetsstroy Director Alexander Volosov visited the cosmodrome construction site on Monday, March 17, to assess progress and take a look of the facilities being built.
“The biggest attention was paid to the construction of the first launch complex for the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket, which is to be completed in late July 2015,” Spetsstroy’s press service said.
The Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Spetsstroy, the main contractor in this project, have approved a schedule of work. Spetsstroy is now stepping up work to make up for delays caused by bad weather.
The first stage of the project — construction of roads at the cosmodrome — has been completed. The second stage is proceeding as scheduled and is to be completed in December 2014. More than 400 social, engineering and transport infrastructure facilities, 115 km of roads and 125 km of railroads will be built at the cosmodrome.
Vostochny should become operational in 2015 and start sending manned missions in 2018. The comsodrome is intended for launching automatic and piloted space missions under national, international and commercial programs. Its construction started in 2012 and the first launch is expected to be carried out in by 2015 on board Soyuz-2 light carrier rockets. By 2018, it will be ready to launch heavy Angara-5A rockets. The cosmodrome will also have infrastructure for future piloted missions.
Russia plans to launch its new Angara carrier rocket this year. The new carrier rocket will be used to launch both civilian and military spacecraft and for international space cooperation projects.
Ostapenko said earlier that work on the Angara carrier rocket was proceeding as scheduled.
“We stick to the schedule. Work is now in progress to create a medium lift launch vehicle and in parallel with that we will move over to the heavy version Angara-5. Work is also underway to create the Soyuz-2 rocket and space system, and we plan to use the builders’ capacities for constructing the launch pad for Angara,” Ostapenko said.
A super-heavy lift launch vehicle will be able to carry a payload of 80 tonnes to low-earth orbits. In the future, its capacity can be increased to 160 tonnes and more.
The launch site for super-heavy lift vehicles will be built at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Khrunichev Space Centre Director-General Alexander Seliverstov said that the Angara development had reached the flight test stage and the focus was on finalizing the launch site in Plesetsk.
He said that light and heavy versions of Angara rockets would be launched in 2014 and work was proceeding as scheduled. “The first rocket is to be launched in 2014,” Seliverstov said.
Angara will allow Russia to launch all kinds of spacecraft to any orbit. Now Russia can launch heavy satellites only aboard Proton rockets from Baikonur, which it leases from Kazakhstan for about $115 million a year.
According to Khrunichev, a big advantage of the new rocket carrier is that “it is a universal space rocket system” capable of taking three types of rockets into space: light with a payload of up to 3.5 tonnes, medium with a payload of up to 14.6 tonnes, and heavy with a payload of up to 24.5 tonnes.
Medium lift and heavy lift launch vehicles can take payloads to the geostationary orbit as well.
The vehicle uses a unique engineering solution: the carrier can be assembled of the same modules. Their maximum number is five in a heavy version, three in a medium version, and one in a light version. They can all be launched form the same pad, not like now at Baikonur where each carrier requires its own launching pad.
The Angara class of rockets comprises four types of vehicles, with payload capacities ranging between 3.7 tones (light class, intended for low orbits) and 28.5 tonnes.
The rockets are based on a universal rocket module powered by the RD-191 engine using kerosene and liquid oxygen. One such module makes up the first stage of the light class Angara 1.1 and Angara 1.2 boosters. Their second stages are different. The medium and heavy class boosters Angara-3 and Angara 4 are an extension of the light class types with additional three or four universal modules. Depending on the specific tasks, the booster can be equipped with the Briz-M or KVRB accelerator units.