MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. An inaugural launch of a Rokot-M carrier rocket from the Plesetsk space center is planned for 2024, CEO of the Khrunichev Space Center (the rocket’s developer) Alexey Varochko told TASS.
"We are planning the launch [of Rokot-M] for 2024," he said.
Varochko also said that the inaugural launch of the Rokot-M upgraded carrier rocket with the Russian control system had been initially planned for 2022. However, he said that following a detailed audit, experts concluded that the rest of the space carrier’s equipment should be upgraded as well.
"We had to settle some issues regarding ground equipment," Varochko said. "We also made a number of decisions concerning the control system, namely - to ditch the current system, which is outdated, and to install the up-to-date equipment."
In 2018, the Khrunichev Space Center announced that it was carrying out work on creating the Rokot-2 carrier rocket with a new control system to replace the Ukrainian equipment installed on Rokot launch vehicles.
The Rokot light carrier rocket has been derived from the RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile under the program of re-converting military hardware into civil products.
The first launch of a Rokot rocket took place from the Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia in 2000. Overall, the Khrunichev Space Center produced and launched over 30 rockets with the Ukrainian control system under the Rokot project.
The last liftoff of the baseline Rokot launch vehicle took place from the Plesetsk spaceport on December 27, 2019 when it delivered Gonets-M communications satellites and a military space vehicle into orbit.