Russian First Reusable Rocket Launch Set for 2020

  • Russia to launch its first reusable rocket using customized vehicle trailer.
  • The fuel that is going to be used won't be harmful to the environment.
  • SpaceX continues to be the trailblazer in the reusable rocket field.
  • China has tested its own reusable rocket this year.

Russia is developing a reusable rocket that is expected to be a competitor to the American made Falcon 9 rocket, a two-stage-to-orbit medium lift launch vehicle. The Falcon 9 is designed and manufactured by SpaceX, a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. It is powered by Merlin engines, also developed by SpaceX, burning liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene propellants. Falcon-9 is also the first ever reusable rocket.

Russia is planning to have a launch of their new rocket in the 2020. The rocket is being developed by the privately owned Russian aircraft company Laros, one of the most successful and promising private companies in the aviation and space industry.

Furthermore, the Russian rocket Laros PH-1 will have similar capabilities to the Falcon 9 rocket. The formal boundary of outer space is the 100 km mark. Hence the Russian rocket will have a 120-130 km span. The dynamic landing will allow a soft landing by liquidating the vertical speed of the engine.

The Laros-PH-1 rocket height will be 17 meters. It will be launched from a customized vehicle trailer. The fuel will consist of 90% hydrogen peroxide and 10% aviation kerosene, also known as QAV-1. Aviation kerosene is used by airplanes and helicopters equipped with turbine engines. The solution is not harmful to the environment. The engines are being produced via 3D printer.

Additionally, the new engine will require a testing polygon (testing site), since the possibility of a large magnitude explosion during the testing phase is significant. The proprietary technology developed by Laros uses electric pumps for the fuel transfer. In comparison, the SpaceX Falcon 9 uses compressed gas to displace the fuel from the tanks.

After successful Phase I testing of the Laros PH-1 rocket, Phase II will test its capability of carrying a 200 kg load into orbit.

China is testing its own reusable RLV-T5. Their rocket has already passed three testing phases. It is manufactured by Lingtai Kongjian. RLV-T5 first launch was at 20 meters, then at 40 meters and finally at 300 meters. The  RLV-T5 is eight meters in length, weighs 1.5 tonnes and has five liquid fuel engines.

Currently, there are 60 private companies globally involved in the development of reusable rocket products.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX continues to be the leader in the reusable rocket space. The market is expected to grow exponentially. The goal is to provide commercial flights and the future creation of colonies on other planets. The commercial rocket space race is on.

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Christina Kitova

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

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