The Russian Ministry of Defense will receive two heavy Angara launch vehicles in 2020, Roscosmos reported.
“This year, strict control is being exercised over the manufacture of the first Angara missiles, as well as their transfer to the customer, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Prior to the completion of the reconstruction of Polet production association, the Khrunichev Center plans to produce annually two types of heavy-class launch vehicles – the Angara-A5 and one light-weight class – Angara-1.2,” the statement said.
It emphasized that the first launch vehicle will be delivered before the end of the first quarter of 2020, and the second – before the end of the year.
Roscosmos is confident that after achieving sufficient design capacity, the production volume will be eight heavy-class missiles and two light-class missiles per year.
It was previously reported that rocket launches will continue throughout 2020. Earlier, the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin reported that the launch of the Angara launch vehicle could take place closer to the New Year or after the New Year holidays.
It is assumed that the Angara should completely replace the Proton-M launch vehicles in 2024.
For the first time since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia will acquire a space launcher which could deliver more payload than the nation’s current workhorse Proton rocket.
The Angara A5
Angara-5 was designed as the main carrier of satellites for the Russian Ministry of Defense, for the Russian civilian space agency and for its commercial customers around the world. When launched from Plesetsk, Angara could deliver 24.5 tons of payload to the low Earth orbit, comparing to up to 22 tons carried by Proton to a similar altitude.
Unlike Proton, whose launches are only possible from Baikonur, thus holding Russia a hostage of its agreements with Kazakhstan, Angara would be based in Plesetsk, located few hundred kilometers north of Moscow. Unfortunately, due to the geographical location of Plesetsk, Angara-5 lost much of its payload advantage over the Proton. The Plesetsk-based Angara would be taxed particularly hard when carrying satellites to the equatorial (geostationary) orbit, which is its main destination.
Angara-A5 would use four standard URM-1 boosters as the first stage and a single URM-1 booster as its second stage. A prototype of the URM-1 made three flights as a part of the South-Korean KSLV rocket and also propelled the Angara-1.2PP rocket in July 2014.
The URM-2 booster would serve as the third stage. It also performed successfully during the flight of Angara-1.2PP.
The additional upper stages on Angara-5 would be used to send satellites from their initial parking orbits to the geostationary orbit or into deep space. Initially, the Briz-M upper stage using toxic storable propellants would be employed, only to be replaced with a more powerful KVTK space tug, burning liquid hydrogen.
Additionally, Roscosmos considered equipping Angara-5 with Block-DM upper stage for missions from Vostochny. When launched with Block-DM upper stage the rocket would be topped with a 14S75 payload fairing, while a version equipped with the KVTK upper stage would be using the 14S735 fairing.
As of July 2014, the first test launch of the Angara-5 rocket from Site 35 in Plesetsk was officially planned for December of the same year. The rocket lifted off on Dec. 23, 2014, and largely completed its flight program.
In mid-2014, the first deputy to Roskosmos head Aleksandr Ivanov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that Angara-5 vehicles had already been ordered for launches of operational satellites scheduled in 2016 or 2017.
In an interview with the TASS news agency in August 2014, the head of GKNPTs Khrunichev Vladimir Nesterov said that during its second mission, Angara-5 would be carrying an operational payload, however the launch vehicle would officially remain in flight testing until 2020.
As of beginning of 2015, the second rocket was expected to leave the assembly line by November of that year.
In September 2014, officials at GKNPTs Khrunichev announced that by 2021 Angara-A5 would take over launches of all Russian government payloads, leaving Proton to deliver commercial missions. However, there appears to be a delay, as the current information is that the Angara launch vehicle family would replace the Proton by 2024.
The Angara 1.2
In addition to paving the way for the much larger Angara A5, Angara-1.2 was being positioned as the main light-weight delivery system for compact satellites of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the domestic civilian space agency Roscosmos and for international customers around the world.
The original version of the Angara-1.2 rocket was expected to have a liftoff mass of 171-tons and the capability to put 3.7 tons of cargo into the low Earth’s orbit from Plesetsk.
During the flight, the launch vehicle would be kept on course with the help of a gyroscopic system and an onboard computer derived from the Biser-6 flight control system both developed at the NPTs AP design center in Moscow. The Orbita telemetry system would process the flight data.
According to the original plans, the Angara-1.2 version would combine the standard URM-1 module with a diameter of 2.9 meters as its first stage and the URM-2 module as its second stage. The URM-2 module with a diameter of 3.6 meters derived from the already existing Block I stage, which had been developed for the Soyuz-2 rocket. As a result, the Angara-1.2’s top stage would have wider diameter than its lower rocket module.
In August 2014, the head of GKNPTs Khrunichev Vladimir Nesterov said that the light-weight version of the Angara rocket would be equipped with an “aggregate module,” which will be installed on top of the second stage and act as a space tug, completing the job of inserting satellites into their final orbits.
The new third stage was developed based on the company’s existing propulsion system and would fly for the first time in 2015 or 2016, after the first launch of the Angara-5 rocket, Nesterov said at the time.
In the first half of 2019, Roscosmos released footage of the checkout and test facility for the Angara 1.2, showing that progress was being made on the missile.
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