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Russia’s Angara-A5 rocket can deliver observatory or landing craft to Moon — expert

The Angara rocket develops power at its blast-off compared to the capacity of a nuclear power plant unit, Anatoly Petrukovich noted

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russia’s Angara-A5 heavy-lift rocket will be the basic space freighter to deliver a large astronomical observatory or a lander to the Moon or carry out flights to Mars or Venus, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute Anatoly Petrukovich told the Zvezda TV Channel on Friday.

"The Angara is the future of Russian cosmonautics. This is a replacement of the Proton launch vehicle made in the sixties [of the 20th century], a heavy rocket that delivers about 20 tons of cargo into near-Earth orbit. This weight is necessary, for example, to launch some big astronomical observatory or a landing craft to the Moon, deliver soil from the Moon or fly to Venus or Mars," he said.

The Angara rocket develops power at its blast-off compared to the capacity of a nuclear power plant unit, he added.

The Angara-A5 heavy-lift rocket blasted off from the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East at 12:00 p.m. Moscow time (9:00 a.m. GMT) on April 11 after two failed attempts in the previous two days.

This was the first test-flight of the Angara rocket from the Vostochny spaceport in eastern Russia. Previously, these launch vehicles blasted off only from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwestern Russia.

The first three launches of Angara heavy rockets from the Plesetsk spaceport took place on December 23, 2014, December 14, 2020 and December 27, 2021. The launch of the light Angara rocket took place on July 9, 2014 (the suborbital test flight), on April 29, 2022 (the orbital flight) and October 15, 2022 (the orbital flight).

The Angara test-launch from the Vostochny spaceport has commenced flight development tests of the Amur rocket system that comprises the Angara carrier rocket and the spaceport’s infrastructure.

The construction of infrastructure for the Angara rocket at the Vostochny Cosmodrome began in 2019 and late last year the operational capacity of the technical compound and the launch pad was confirmed during the tests of the Angara-NZh, a full-size mockup of the Angara-A5 rocket. Technological solutions allow for launching all types of Angara rockets from one launch pad: from light to heavy carriers.

Angara family of carrier rockets

The Angara is a family of next-generation Russian space rockets. It consists of light, medium and heavy carrier rockets with a lifting capacity of up to 37.5 tons. The new family of rockets uses kerosene and liquid oxygen as environmentally friendly propellant components compared to the fuel of the Proton-M rocket, which Angara will replace in the future.

Aside from the baseline Angara-A5 rocket (a liftoff mass of about 773 tons and a carrying capacity of up to 24.5 tons into low near-Earth orbit), Russia is set to produce the Angara-A5M modification with the increased lifting capacity and the Angara-A5V launch vehicle with the first and second reusable stages and the third hydrogen-powered stage.

Russia intends to use the Angara family of carrier rockets to put automatic probes (for instance, the Spektr-UF orbital observatory) into near-Earth orbit, deliver some modules of its future Russian Orbital Station and crews to the orbital outpost aboard the next-generation spacecraft.