Russia to Replace Legendary Souyuz Rocket

  • The first version of the methane-powered rocket is planned to be built in Russia in 2024.
  • The first launch of a new rocket will be carried out in 2025.
  • The new rocket will be more cost efficient and reliable.

On July 13, Roscosmos announced on Twitter the development of a new rocket to replace Soyuz. Work is underway on a new commercial medium-class rocket with a methane engine, which will replace the legendary Soyuz-2 family. The new methane rocket will be more cost efficient and more reliable.

The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (ROSCOSMOS) is a state corporation responsible for the wide range and types of space flights and cosmonautics programs for the Russian Federation.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and the Council of Ministers of the USSR, spoke of the need to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a thermonuclear charge at a distance of 10 thousand kilometers in 1950s.  A few years later, the task was completed, and the missile entered service in a specially created missile forces.

In 1959, the first launch of a two-stage ICBM-type rocket R-7A took place. After Yuri Gagarin flew into space, the USSR began to implement a program of longer flights. The first rocket, “Vozhod,” had flaws. Therefore, the new work started on designing a new rocket.

The new three-stage launch vehicle was 11A511 (Soyuz). It was used to launch Progress-type cargo ships and Soyuz-type manned spaceships. The first launch was carried out on November 28, 1966. In the ten year span there were 32 launches of Souyz with zero failures according to the Soviet records.

Moreover, Soyuz-2 is an enhanced version of Soyuz-U created by TsSKB-Progress. The launch vehicle is capable of placing between 2,800 and 9,200 kg into low Earth orbit, depending on the launch point.

The Progress Rocket Space Centre, formerly known as TsSKB-Progress, is a Russian joint-stock company under the jurisdiction of Roscosmos State Corporation responsible for space science and aerospace research. It was founded in the 1996 post Soviet Era.

Soyuz is a family of Soviet expendable launch systems developed by OKB-1 and manufactured by Progress Rocket Space Centre in Samara, Russia. With over 1700 flights since its debut in 1966, the Soyuz is the most frequently used launch vehicle in the world.

Additionally, the Soyuz-ST launch VEHICLE is a whole family of medium-class launch vehicles that were created on the basis of the Soyuz-2 launch VEHICLE, specifically for commercial launches.. The main differences between this rocket and the basic version are the upgraded control system designed to receive telekomands from the MCC to terminate the flight.

In addition, the telemetry here is modified specifically for European ground stations receiving telemetry information. In 2001, the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle was launched. Over 15 years, 48 launches of the manned program and 10 launch campaigns with a commercial load were carried out.

The first version of the methane-powered rocket is planned to be built in Russia in 2024, and the first launch of a new rocket will be carried out in 2025. The new rocket, unlike the Soyuz—2, will differ. It will have side blocks, but will receive a tandem scheme: one block on the first stage, one on the second. That is, it will be a “pencil.” The layout looks similar to the “Zenit.”

On the first stage of the new carrier, it is planned to use Voronezh RD-0169, on the second-the same RD-0169, but with a high-altitude nozzle. This engine will be certified for reusable use in the future according to Roscosmos.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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