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MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos will launch two Rokot carrier rockets converted from ICBMs as part of the federal space program for 2016-2026 that will be its last launches, according to a draft document released on Tuesday.
According to the draft federal space program that will be submitted to the government, the two Rokot carrier rockets will be launched from the Plesetsk military space center to orbit three Gonets-M communications satellites each.
The first launch is scheduled for 2016 and the second for 2018. The latest launch of the Rokot carrier rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome took place in the autumn of 2015 when it delivered three military communications satellites into orbit.
The Rokot three-stage light carrier rocket was developed on the basis of the RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile. The carrier rocket’s third stage incorporates the Briz-M acceleration unit developed by the Khrunichev Space Center.
The Rokot carrier rocket with the Briz-M acceleration unit can orbit payloads of up to 2.3 tons. The carrier rocket’s control system is produced by Khartron-Arkos enterprise in Ukraine.
Media reports said earlier that Russia’s Defense Ministry planned to give up the use of Rokot carrier rockets in favor of the Angara-1.2 and Soyuz-2.1v light carrier rockets.
The Angara-1.2 rocket has two stages with the Briz acceleration units. The serial produced spacecraft comprises two universal modules with the RD-191 liquid propellant rocket engine. The rocket is 42 m long, has a liftoff weight of 171 tons and a carrying capacity of 1.5 tons.
The Soyuz-2.1v rocket is a two-stage light-class carrier. It is 4 m long, has a liftoff weight of 160 tons and a carrying capacity of 2.8 tons.
Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos plans to make 19 launches of Proton-M carrier rockets by 2025 under the draft federal space program for 2016-2025.
The document envisages only one Proton carrier rocket launch under the state program in 2016. The carrier rocket will send an interplanetary station into outer space as part of the Russian-European project ExoMars.
Two, three and four Proton launches are scheduled for 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The draft envisages one Proton carrier rocket launch in 2020, three launches in 2021 and four in 2022.
The Proton heavy carrier rocket will blast off for the last time in 2024 under the federal space program, the document suggests.
This list excludes commercial launches.
The Proton-M is the last representative of the Proton carrier rocket family. The first launch of this modification took place in the spring of 2001 and the first launch under the commercial program was carried out in late 2002.
The Proton is expected to give way to the Angara family of carrier rockets. The light and heavy rockets of this family blasted off for the first time in 2015.