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WASHINGTON, July 8 (Itar-Tass) - No exact date for replacing Proton carrier rocket with Angara has been determined so far, Khrunichev Space Centre Director-General Alexander Seliverstov said on Monday, July 8.
“There is no absolute set date for Angara to replace Proton in the commercial market. Proton commercial launches will continue from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the foreseeable future,” Seliverstov said in an interview with SpaceNews.
“Any decision on offering Angara launch services at the commercial market will be made only following the completion of the Russian Government Flight Testing and Qualification Programme,” he said.
Seliverstov said that the Angara development has reached the flight test stage. The first stage has been successfully flight demonstrated on the South Korean KSLV programme. The focus is now on finalising the launch site in Plesetsk.
“The Angara 1.2 vehicle was shipped to Plesetsk in late May, which will allow adequate time for extensive testing and interface verification efforts being performed prior to the planned launch in the first half of 2014. The Angara 5 vehicle is expected to launch later in 2014,” he said.
Seliverstov said earlier that light and heavy Angara rockets would be launched in 2014 and work was proceeding as scheduled.
“The first [light Angara] rocket is at the spaceport,” he said, adding that start-up work is underway on the rocket’s autonomous systems.
“The first rocket is to be launched in 2014,” Seliverstov said.
A heavy version of the rocket is being assembled. “Work is proceeding as scheduled. We have to make the heavy version before the end of the year as its launch is scheduled for the end of 2014,” he 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 U.S. dollars 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 and heavy rocker carriers can take payloads to the geostationary orbit as well.
It 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.