First Angara Rocket Ready to Ship to Launch Site

Source : RIA Novosti

After a seemingly endless development program stretching back into the 1990’s, the first booster in a long anticipated family of new Russian launch vehicles has completed testing and is being prepared to ship to the northern spaceport of Plesetsk. It will still be some time before launch however, as the Angara “light” is not scheduled to lift until May 2014.

The Angara 1.2PP is the pathfinder for a future family of modular rockets based on a common core, each powered by a single combustion chamber RD-191 engine built by Energomash. It is basically one half of the two chamber RD-180 engine which powers the Atlas V, which is itself 50% of the four chamber RD-171 engine which powers Ukraine’s Zenit booster. The RD-191 has already seen a test run of sorts in the Korean KSLV “Naro-3” rocket which was powered by a de-rated version of the engine, designated as the RD-151.

A much more powerful member of the Angara family, the A5, which features a core booster surrounded by four first stage strap-ons is reportedly nearing completion as well. It is intended to ultimately replace the Soyuz as Russia’s booster for manned spaceflight, equipped with a 6 person capsule, the Advanced Crew Vehicle (ACV).

An ongoing question for the global launch industry is how to respond if SpaceX is ultimately successful in developing the Falcon Reusable and introducing it into commercial service. In the case of the Angara, a mockup of a flyback version of the Angara booster, the Baikal, was put on display at the Paris airshow in 2001, but little development has taken place since that point.

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