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Russia’s Roscosmos to consider option of Angara carrier rocket with reusable stages

The flight tests of the Angara-A5M carrier rocket will begin in 2024

MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. The new version of the state contract on the ‘Amur’ experimental design work amended on Tuesday envisages upgrading the Angara carrier rocket and studying the option of developing reusable rocket stages, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced on Tuesday.

"On June 30, changes were made to the state contract on the ‘Amur’ experimental design work that envisaged upgrading and further developing this series," the statement says.

In particular, the changes envisage developing the Angara-A5M as the upgraded version of the Angara-A5 rocket and the conceptual design of the Angara-A5V increased lifting capacity vehicle (with the oxygen-hydrogen third stage).

"Also, an option will be considered to develop the Angara-A5VM carrier rocket with reusable stages," Roscosmos specified.

The flight tests of the Angara-A5M carrier rocket will begin in 2024. By that time, specialists are planning to implement some design improvements, in particular, reducing the carrier rocket’s structural weight, upgrading rocket engines and the control system and applying advanced technologies of the manufacture and trials, the statement says

Russia’s Khrunichev Space Center earlier said in notes to its 2019 financial statements that the Angara rocket’s cost price would be lowered from 7 billion rubles ($100 million) to 4 billion rubles ($57 million) by 2024.

Roscosmos earlier announced that the Khrunichev Space Center would produce several Angara carrier rockets at a price of less than 5 billion rubles ($71 million) as part of the experimental design work.

Khrunichev Space Center CEO Alexei Varochko earlier told TASS that the assembly of the first flight prototype of the Angara-A5M new Russian rocket designed for the launch of an Oryol manned spacecraft would begin from 2023.

The Angara is a series of next-generation Russian space rockets. It consists of light, medium and heavy carrier rockets with a lifting capacity of up to 37.5 tonnes. The new family of rockets uses environmentally-friendly propellant components. So far, Russia has carried out only two Angara launches, both of them from the Plesetsk spaceport: a light Angara-1.2PP blasted off in July 2014 and its heavy version lifted off in December 2014.