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New super-heavy space rocket to be less costly to make than Energia to recreate

May 17, 2017, 19:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Transition to a three-stage pattern of the carrier rocket and rational use of oxygen-hydrogen fuel has allowed for slashing the costs of developing a new super-heavy rocket by 30%

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MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. Russia’s new super-heavy space rocket will turn out 30% less costly to develop than a hypothetical project for recreating the abandoned Soviet-era Energia project, the Energia space rocket corporation said in a news release.

"Transition to a three-stage pattern of the carrier rocket and rational use of oxygen-hydrogen fuel has allowed for slashing the overall research and development costs of developing a new super-heavy rocket by 30%," the news release says.

At the same time the new space rocket project will capitalize on the potential accumulated by the Soviet Union’s curtailed Energia-Buran project.

"The unique oxygen-kerosene engine RD-171M, still unparalleled in the world, which was one of Energia’s elements, will be used in a yet-to-be developed rocket," the news release quotes the Energia corporation’s first deputy general designer, Igor Radugin, as saying.

He recalled that the Energia rocket and Buran space shuttle were the largest-ever program in the history of national space rocket industry. By 1985 its financing had reached 1.3 billion rubles.

Energia’s first launch was from the Baikonur space site in Kazakhstan on May 15, 1987. It was the first-ever Soviet rocket that used hydrogen for first-stage fuel. It was capable of propelling into near-Earth orbits not only the Buran space shuttle, but any other payload having a mass of 100 tonnes.

New super-heavy rocket

In 2015, the chairman of the science and engineering council of the Roscosmos corporation, Yuri Koptev, said a new heavy rocket for 70-80-tonne payloads would require 700 billion rubles to make. Later, it was announced that both the super-heavy rocket and the infrastructure for it at the Vostochny spaceport in Russia’s Far East would cost 1.5 trillion rubles.

A new super-heavy space rocket would consist of the rocket Feniks and the third-stage hydrogen-fueled stage of the rocket Angara-A5B. Roscosmos’s strategy scheduled the beginning of super-heavy rocket tests for 2035.

Earlier, a source in the space rocket industry told TASS that the Energia corporation had designed two projects of a super-heavy rocket - Energia 5V-PTK (liftoff mass of 2,368 tonnes) and Energia-5VR-PTK (launch mass of 2,346 tonnes).

Both are capable of putting payloads of about 100 tonnes into near-Earth orbits and of about 20.5 tonnes - the estimated mass of the lunar configuration of the spacecraft Federatsiya - into near-Moon orbits.

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