MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The launch of Russia's new Angara 1.2 carrier rocket is planned for 2017, head of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center Andrey Kalinovsky told the Izvestiya daily on Tuesday.
Kalinovsky said that new production of Angara is being established practically from scratch in Western Siberia’s city of Omsk with employment of technologies not used for assembling Proton carrier rockets.
"It is impossible to integrate assembling Angara into technological chains used at the space rocket plant in Moscow. For instance, argon arc welding is used for Protons, and all technologies are organized around that. And in Omsk, we are employing friction welding," he added.
Kalinovsky noted that Angara and Soyuz-2.1v carrier rocket will replace Rokot space launch vehicles the production of which was halted because of suspended cooperation in the space sphere with Ukraine.
"These rockets [Rokot] were assembled more than 30 years ago, their durability is not endless, and it just cannot be extended all the time," the expert said. "Suspending the operation [of Rokot rockets] has several reasons. Russia has solutions capable of replacing Rokot - they include our light [carrier rocket] Angara, Soyuz-2.1v, developments of the Progress space rocket center. Problems with Ukraine had no effect on the Khrunichev [Center] - we cooperated, but it was rather small and not critical," he added.
Angara is a new generation of Russia’s space rockets. The Angara family includes the light Angara-1.2 rocket (liftoff mass 171 tons, payload 3.8 tons), medium Angara-A3 (481 tons, 1-14.6 tons) and heavy Angara-A5 (773 tons 3-24.5 tons), Angara-A7 (1,113 tons, 7.6-35 tons). These rockets will be used to launch a wide variety of payloads - satellites, manned spacecraft and inter-planetary space probes.