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Russia to start manufacturing new medium-class carrier rocket

July 18, 13:19 UTC+3 ZHUKOVSKY (Moscow Region)

The Russian government is expected to allocate almost $498 million for the launcher’s development

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© Alexei Savelyev/TASS

ZHUKOVSKY (Moscow Region), July 18. /TASS/. Russia’s Progress Rocket and Space Centre is ready to manufacture new Soyuz-5 medium-class carrier rocket, Progress CEO Alexander Kirilin said on Tuesday.

"We are ready for the production of this rocket," the chief executive said.

Russia’s federal space program for 2016-2025 stipulates developing a new-generation medium-class space rocket complex (the Phoenix R&D work) from 2018 to 2025. The Russian government is expected to allocate almost 30 billion rubles ($498 million) for the launcher’s development. The project’s budget financing will begin in 2018.

RD-171MV engines are expected to be mounted on the rocket’s first stage. The second stage will use the RD-0124M engine (developed by the Chemical Automatics Design Bureau and is currently part of the third stage of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket) instead of the RD-120 (produced in Ukraine).

In order to expedite flight tests, there are plans to use the launch pad of the Zenit carrier rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome, which Kazakhstan will modernize under the Baiterek program for the new Russian rocket. The Sea Launch compound is also expected to be used for rocket launches.

The first launch of the Soyuz-5 carrier rocket from the Baikonur spaceport is scheduled for 2022.

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