Russian — Space Program Launches 2021

  • Russia finished 2020 at the 3rd place for the number of launches.
  • Last year, Russia completed 4 out of 11 launches to the ISS.
  • The US remains to be number 1 in the world for the number of the space launches.

The 2020 was not a good year for the Russian space program. Even though, Russia continues to be in the top 3 nations pertaining the space launches. Roscosmos  is showing a negative trend. The US remains at the number 1 spot, followed by China. Chinese launches in majority were not successful. Last year, Russia only had 4 out of 11 flights to the International Space Station (ISS). 

The International Space Station.

It is plausible, the number will decrease even further, due to the competition from the private companies.

Currently, the most  used Russian launch vehicle remains the Soyuz.. The Soyuz was used more often than the Chinese Changzheng-2 (11 launches), second only to the Falcon-9, which completed 25 successful missions.

This year, 21 launches are planned by Russia. It should be noted,  in 2020, Soyuz launched 70 satellites of the British company OneWeb, which are designed to provide access to the satellite Internet.

Next year, four more launches of British satellites are planned, but in addition to the “Unions” OneWeb plans to use competing systems. This year, the British satellites will get on board the American LauncherOne and New Glenn rockets from the  Blue Origin.

In addition to OneWeb, Russian launch vehicles will make two launches with the devices of the Korean Institute of Aerospace Development, and the March launch of Soyuz 2.1a will put into orbit a galaxy of satellites, including devices from Japan, China, the United States and Italy.

The remaining launches will be utilized for the Russian defense projects.

The Soyuz Rocket Launch.

However, Russia had a very successful lunch of the Angara-A5 launch vehicle in 2020.  The Angara-5 is almost been completed. It could also counterbalance  the completion of the Proton-M rockets.

In the 2018, Roscosmos announced the  plans to complete the operation of the rocket after fulfilling all contracts. At the end of the 2019, the production of engines for Angara-5 rocket have been completed.

In 2021, there will be  two Proton rockets launches. The Angara rocket family is a family of space-launch vehicles being developed by the Moscow-based Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.

The rockets are to put between 3,800 and 24,500 kg into low Earth orbit and are intended, along with Soyuz-2 variants, to replace several existing launch vehicles.

Initially,  the two launches of the Angara-A5 were planned for 2021 as part of the flight design tests.  The first launch is scheduled in the summer. The rocket with the DM-03 upper stage will launch a mass-dimensional mock-up (MMG) into orbit. The second model will be launched using an Angara-2.1 b launch vehicle.

At present, it is highly unlikely that Russian space launches will be competitive. The private sector start-ups can undercut the Roscosmos. However, Russia is planning the new space station to replace the International Space Station. There is also plans to develop the moon colony, Hence, the launches would increase in the future.

China continues to increase its space launches. Hence, China could become a competitor to Russia.

Christina Kitova

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

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