Russia’s new Angara launch vehicle will not be used as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) First Deputy Head Alexander Ivanov said on Monday, July 14, reports ITAR-TASS. “This will not be done. This is a space vehicle only. Because of its characteristics, it cannot be used as an intercontinental ballistic missile,” he said when asked whether Angara can be used for this purpose in the future.
The lightweight Angara-1.2PP rocket successfully blasted off from the northern Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region on July 9. Twenty-one minutes after the liftoff the test weight reached the designated area at the Kura range in Kamchatka, 5,700 km from the launch site.
A heavy version of the rocket is scheduled to go on its first flight in December from Plesetsk. In the future, the rocket will be launched from the Vostochny spaceport in the Far Eastern Amur Region.
Angara was initially scheduled to lift off from Plesetsk on June 27 but its launch was automatically cancelled and postponed for one day, but never took place. The rocket was not supposed to carry any payload. Its second stage with a test weight was to land at the Kura range in Kamchatka, 5,700 kilometres from the cosmodrome.
Angara is one of the priorities in the development of the Plesetsk spaceport. In November 2013, a full-scale mock-up of the rocket was for the first time put up on the launch pad. It was a fully operational rocket but intended for ground testing only, not for launching.
Work to create the ground infrastructure for the new rocket and prepare an Angara launch is part of the federal program for the development of Russia’s cosmodromes in 2006-2015.
A super-heavy lift launch vehicle will be able to carry a payload of 80 tones to low-earth orbits. In the future, its capacity can be increased to 160 tones and more.
Angara will allow Russia to launch all kinds of spacecraft to any orbit. Now Russia can launch heavy satellites only aboard Proton rockets from Baikonur, which it leases from Kazakhstan for about 115 million US dollars a year.
According to Khrunichev, a big advantage of the new rocket carrier is that “it is a universal space rocket system” capable of taking three types of rockets into space: light with a payload of up to 3.5 tones, medium with a payload of up to 14.6 tones, and heavy with a payload of up to 24.5 tones.
Medium lift and heavy lift launch vehicles can take payloads to the geostationary orbit as well.
The vehicle uses a unique engineering solution: the carrier can be assembled of the same modules. Their maximum number is five in a heavy version, three in a medium version, and one in a light version. They can all be launched form the same pad, not like now at Baikonur where each carrier requires its own launching pad.
The Angara class of rockets comprises four types of vehicles, with payload capacities ranging between 3.7 tones (light class, intended for low orbits) and 28.5 tones.
Angara rockets will not use aggressive and toxic heptyl-based fuel, which will make them much more environmentally friendly.
Russia launched four space rockets from three spaceports within a week, a source in the rocket and space industry told Interfax-AVN.
“The busy launch schedule of the past few days demonstrates that things are far from being too bad in the rocket and space industry,” he noted.
A Rokot LV put into orbit three satellites from the Plesetsk spaceport on July 3.
A Soyuz-2.1b LV carrying the Meteor-M2 weather satellite and several micro-satellites blasted off from Baikonur on July 8.
A test launch of the brand new Angara LV was performed from Plesetsk on July 9.
A Soyuz-ST rocket was launched from the Kourou space center in French Guiana, South America, early on Friday morning to position British O3b satellites in orbit.