MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. The successful test launch of the Angara-A5 heavy-lift carrier rocket secures for Russia the access to geostationary orbit from its own territory, rocket and space industry expert Andrey Ionin told TASS on Tuesday.
“Testing of such a powerful rocket is not a frequent event, the more so when everything passed successfully on the first try,” he said.
“The rocket’s purpose was very simple — to guarantee Russia’s space access into a geostationary orbit from Russian territory, because Baikonur (cosmosdrome), although it is located in the territory of our partner country, is nevertheless abroad,” the expert said. “Now the Angara capacity will be enough for placing any satellites into a geostationary orbit from Russia’s territory.”
Ionin also said the Angara-A5 is designed to replace the Proton rocket in the future, because by its capacity for the placement of payloads into a geostationary orbit it fully replaces this booster. “Sooner or later we will have to abandon the Proton. This is a good rocket, but with a major shortcoming — it is environmentally unfriendly, and the Angara is an environmentally friendly rocket,” he said.
According to Ionin, halting the production of the Proton rockets and phasing them out is planned starting from the 2020s. Referring to the timeframe of the transfer to the Angara launches, the expert said that “the flight tests of heavy-lift rockets require about 10 launches as a rule.” “When this number of launches is carried out, it would be possible to say that the rocket development is finished. I think, this will take 3 to 5 years,” he said.
Russia’s new heavy-lift Angara-A5 carrier rocket was successfully test launched from the Plesetsk spaceport in Northwest Russia at 08:75 am, Moscow time, Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin observed the launch via a video linkup. This was the first test launch of the heavy Angara-A5.
The Angara family of space-launch vehicles is designed to provide lifting capabilities of between 2,000 and 40,500 kilograms into low Earth orbit. It has been in development since 1995.
Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said that the new Angara rocket would give Russia an independent access to space, and a possibility to advance to a new technological development level. Angara will put heavy space vehicles into the geostationary orbit. All parts used for rocket development have been produced in Russia. Apart from the above, the rocket uses ecologically clean fuel, including oxygen and kerosene.