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First launch of Russia’s super-heavy rocket planned for 2028 — source

June 08, 15:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The construction of the launch pad for the rocket at the Vostochny cosmodrome is planned to be completed in 2027

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© Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. The first launch of Russia’s Energiya-5 super-heavy carrier rocket is planned already for 2028 and the launch pad for it should be ready at the Vostochny spaceport in 2027, a source in the rocket and space industry told TASS on Thursday.

"According to new plans of [State Space Corporation] Roscosmos, the launch of a super-heavy rocket is scheduled for 2028 and the construction of the launch pad for it at the Vostochny cosmodrome is planned to be completed in 2027," the source said.

The launch pad for the super-heavy rocket will be built using the principles implemented for the Energiya carrier rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome (site No. 250). This will be a universal site for the launches of both Soyuz-5 medium-class carrier rockets and the combinations of two, three and five such rockets (similar to the combination of the Angara rocket family with the use of one, three or five blocks for assembling rockets with a different lift capacity). Precisely the principle of combining five rockets laid the ground for a new super-heavy carrier rocket, he said.

Roscosmos has not commented on this information.

Work acceleration

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told TASS on Thursday that a decision had been made to accelerate work on a super-heavy-class rocket and in this regard R&D work had already been launched and development work would be opened on the RD-0150 hydrogen engine intended to be used in the third stage of the Angara-A5V carrier rocket with the lift capacity of 37 tonnes and in the third stage of a Russian super-heavy rocket.

Super-heavy Energiya

Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation CEO Vladimir Solntsev earlier presented at a Moscow conference his project of an Energiya-5V super-heavy carrier rocket designed for a manned mission to the Moon. According to him, the upper hydrogen stage of the Angara-A5V carrier will be used in the super-heavy rocket’s development along with the first and second stages of the promising Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket.

A source in the rocket and space industry later told TASS that Energiya had defined the approximate design of two types of rockets intended for implementation: the Energiya-5V-PTK and the Energyia-5VR-PTK with the liftoff weight of 2,368 and 2,346 tonnes, respectively.

Both variants are capable of delivering about 100 tonnes of payload into the low-Earth orbit, and also 20.5 tonnes into the near-Moon orbit, which is tantamount to the weight of the lunar version of the Federatsiya spacecraft.

Instead of a spacecraft, a lunar take-off and landing module can be mounted on a carrier rocket. An inter-orbital tug based on the DM acceleration unit is intended to be used for delivering the Federatsiya spacecraft or a lunar take-off and landing module to the Moon.

In Roscosmos estimates, the development of a super-heavy rocket and the construction of infrastructure for it at the Vostochny cosmodrome will cost 1.5 trillion rubles ($26 billion).

Roscosmos also earlier stated that there was no need to hurry up with the creation of a super-heavy carrier rocket as no payloads were available for it.

At the same time, as Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation said, the development of a Russian super-heavy carrier rocket will be 1.5 times cheaper than the re-production of the Soviet-era Energiya carrier.

The creation of the Energiya rocket and the Buran space shuttle became the most impressive program in the history of domestic space engine-making, with the annual financing volume reaching 1.3 billion rubles by 1985. The first launch of the Energiya rocket took place on May 15, 1987 at the Baikonur space center. The Energiya became the first Soviet rocket that used hydrogen in the rocket’s main stage. The Energiya was also the most powerful of domestic rockets.

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