The new Russian Angara A5 heavy-load rocket was successfully test-launched on December 23, 2014. Infographics by TASS
MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. Russia’s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (a branch of the State Corporation Roscosmos) has prepared and sent for examination to the specialized organization a preliminary design of the Angara A5V heavy-class carrier rocket the first flight of which is scheduled for 2026, the Izvestia daily reported on Friday, citing the Roscosmos press service.
"The preliminary design for Angara A5V was prepared on schedule - at the end of 2015 and sent to all relevant research institutes for approval," the newspaper quotes the press service.
The timeframe of the first flight of the launch vehicle is significantly different from the original date Roscosmos had previously announced - 2023.
"The beginning of the rocket’s tests in 2026 may postpone the start of a manned mission to the Moon until 2035, as many things should be done between the date of the first launch of Angara A5V and the start of the lunar mission," the newspaper writes.
These necessary activities include an unmanned test launch of the Federatsiya (Federation) spacecraft, flights of a manned spaceship to the Moon's orbit and orbiting a lunar take-off and landing complex. Only after that it will be possible to prepare a manned lunar exploration mission.
A rocket and space industry source said previously that a manned flight to the Moon is possible under a scheme envisaging two coupled launches. First, a lunar take-off and landing complex is placed on a low Earth orbit, and then the upper stage with effective cryogenic propellants is orbited. The third launch orbits a manned spacecraft, and the fourth - another upper stage. After docking of the lunar take-off and landing complex with the manned spacecraft on the lunar orbit, the crew descends to the Moon surface inside the lunar take-off and landing complex, carries out the research program and returns to orbit. After that the spaceship returns to Earth.
The Angara A5V payload capacity will be 38 tons. The Angara project includes three Angara A5 rockets, an Angara-A5P (manned) and Angara A5V (with increased lift capacity).
The difference of Angara A5V from Angara A5 is that the oxygen-kerosene propelled third stage in it will be replaced by an oxygen-hydrogen stage, which will increase the payload capacity by 10 tons. The requirements of the scientific and technical council of Roscosmos had envisaged orbiting a 35-ton payload, and the new project requirements envisage orbiting of 38 tons.
It is planned to launch the Angara A5P rocket from Russia’s Far Eastern spaceport Vostochny in 2019. According to the Russian draft Federal Space Program for 2016-2025, the heavy launch vehicle should place into orbit the Luch-5M (Ray-5M) relay satellite.