MOSCOW, May 7. /TASS/. The Progress Space Rocket Center is ready to start work on developing a full-fledged conceptual design of a rocket with a reusable stage, Progress Space Rocket Center CEO Dmitry Baranov told TASS on Thursday.
"Considering the experience accumulated to date, the Progress Space Rocket Center is ready to develop a full-scale conceptual design of a promising space rocket system with a launch vehicle and a reusable stage," the chief executive said.
The work on a methane-powered rocket with a reusable stage has been going on since 2015, the chief of the Progress Space Rocket Center said.
The issue of reducing the new carrier rocket’s weight will be resolved by way of "optimally distributing primary structural elements in the stage’s design," the chief executive said.
"Also, the stage’s weight improvement depends to a larger extent on the parameters of the powerplant - in this regard, specialists of the Progress Space Rocket Center are actively working with the developer of the promising oxygen-methane engine," he stressed.
The Progress Space Rocket Center is exploring the possibility of eventually using composite materials for fuel tanks in the upper stages, he added.
Roscosmos Executive Director for Long-Term Programs and Science Alexander Bloshenko told TASS in November 2019 that the first launch of a new Russian medium-class carrier rocket with the methane propellant might take place in 2025. The Progress Space Rocket Center has developed the rocket’s layout and launch pad options for it.
Compared to the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle, the methane-powered rocket will have a smaller lift-off weight but a larger lifting capacity: it will be able to deliver up to 10 tonnes to a low near-Earth orbit upon its launch from the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East.