MOSCOW, April 24 /ITAR-TASS/. The Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is planning to launch five Soyuz 2.1v carrier rockets from the northern Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the next two years, Roscosmos Head Oleg Ostapenko said on Thursday, April 24.
“Everything will depend on the payload. We are actively working on the payload with the Defence Ministry. We will carry out five qualification launches with a payload from Plesetsk,” he said.
The first trial launch of the Angara rocket from Plesetsk scheduled for June 25 will be executed without payload but with a test weight.
The new carrier rocket will be used to launch both civilian and military spacecraft and in international space cooperation projects.
A mock-up of the Angara carrier rocket was taken out of the assembly shop at the northern Plesetsk Cosmodrome and installed in the launch pad area in February.
Angara is one of the priorities in the development of the Plesetsk spaceport. In November 2013, a full-scale mock-up of the rocket was for the first time put up at the launch pad. It was a fully operational rocket but intended for ground testing only, not for launching.
Work to create the ground infrastructure for the new rocket and prepare an Angara launch is part of the federal programme aimed at developing Russia’s cosmodromes in 2006-2015.
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.
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 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.
The first light-lift launch vehicle Soyuz 2.1v (with a Volga booster and a satellite) was launched on December 28, 2013 from Plesetsk.
Soyuz-2.1v is a two-stage light carrier rocket and can lift off from the launch pads designed for Soyuz-2 rockets. Complete with a Volga booster, Soyuz-2.1v will be able to deliver spacecraft to circular orbits of up to 1,500 km and heliosynchronous orbits of up to 850 km.
The rocket is designed by the Progress State Research and Production Space Centre (also known as TsSKB-Progress).