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Flight tests of Russia’s new carrier rocket may start before 2022

June 20, 14:57 UTC+3 LE BOURGET (France)

The Soyuz-5 carrier rocket will subsequently be transformed into the first and the second stages of a super-heavy carrier rocket

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© Egor Aleev/TASS

LE BOURGET (France), June 20. /TASS/. The flight tests of Russia’s new Soyuz-5 medium-class carrier rocket may start before 2022, Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation CEO Vladimir Solntsev said on Tuesday.

"The president has set the task to conduct the first launch in 2022 but I think that the flight tests should begin earlier so that we can have an operable carry rocket by 2022," the chief executive said, without specifying the possible timeframe of testing the new carrier rocket.

The Soyuz-5 will subsequently be transformed into the first and the second stages of a super-heavy carrier rocket, Solntsev said.

"We have been assigned the task to develop a super-heavy carrier rocket within the shortest time possible. Proceeding from the experience of creating the Energiya carrier rocket of the Energiya-Buran project, we are also first developing a medium-class rocket that will subsequently turn into the elements of the first and the second stages. This is not 100% but still we can speak about certain unification," the chief executive said.

The designers have also been assigned the task to maximally adapt it to the infrastructure of the Sea Launch project and the existing infrastructure of the 45th site at the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, he added.

"Therefore, without investing much in the creation of the ground infrastructure, and we have agreed with the Kazakh side to carry out modernization and the private investor is ready to carry out modernization of the Sea Launch, we can start the launches of this rocket maximally early," the chief executive said.

At the same time, the variants of the rockets for the Sea Launch platform, the Baikonur and the Vostochny cosmodromes will be unified but they won’t be identical, he said.

"There will be certain adaptations since there are nuances of the launch pad at the Sea Launch and the Baikonur spaceport but these specifics do not affect the rocket’s design. This is sooner the issue of interfaces," he added.

As was reported earlier, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos intends to conduct the first launch of the Soyuz-5 carrier rocket with the Federatsiya spacecraft from the Baikonur spaceport in 2022.

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