Eastern coup. Russia leaves Baikonur, but continues to invest money in it
Material posted: Publication date: 03-04-2019

In March, Roskosmos, said the lack of plans for the construction on the East launch pad under rocket "Soyuz-5" ("Irtysh"). Instead the Corporation made the appearance on far East spaceport bench for testing the first stage of a promising carrier. The need for such a setup due to the establishment of a super-heavy rocket "Yenisei". Appropriate financing is carried out within the framework of the deployment of infrastructure for family of rockets "Angara". The feasibility of such solutions to understand".ru".

New partners

The contract on creation of the "Soyuz-5" signed in July 2018. The lead developer of the media has become rocket and space Corporation "Energia"(Korolev), manufacturer rocket and space center "Progress" (Samara), the development of engines charged scientific-production Association "Energomash" (Khimki). "Then start working on shortage. It will mobilize the entire aerospace industry, update it and use our powerful engineering and manufacturing potential," salesgeneric Director of the Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.

The Appearance Of "Soyuz-5"
Image: @Rogozin

Structurally, the "Soyuz-5" is an enlarged version of the Soviet (Russian-Ukrainian) medium family of rockets "Zenit". The claimed starting weight two-stage medium is about 530 tons, length — 61,87 meters, a diameter of 4.1 meters. The first stage of the rocket should get one engine RD-171МВ, virtually indistinguishable from RD-171М, but is equipped with an electronic construction documentation. The second stage will be powered by a pair of RD-0124МС — updated version of the engine used in "Block And the" average vehicle "Soyuz-2.1 b". The maximum mass delivered to low earth orbit from the Baikonur cosmodrome payload is estimated at 17 tons.

Optional "Soyuz-5" will receive a third stage (upper stage) DM-03 of rockets "proton-M", intended for the upper stage of the spacecraft in geostationary orbit. Declare the total budget of the Russian-Kazakhstani complex "Baiterek", involving the launch of "Soyuz-5" from Baikonur (Kazakhstan) is 14.4 billion dollars. This amount includes 240 launches planned for 40 years. Start "Soyuz-5" to the East, if possible, not before 2028.

The first flight test of "Irtysh" has to take place in 2022. By this time Kazakhstan, acting as the partner of Russia in the project, shall at their own expense to convert the pad for Zenit at Baikonur. Rocket "Soyuz-5" will launch into orbit reusable "Federation" (unmanned), initially declare as a replacement for existing manned spacecraft "Soyuz MS". Then the same "Federation" must be run three times (2023, 2024 and 2025). If successful, flight tests of missiles and spacecraft will be declared completed. All of this is proposed to carry out from Baikonur.

Rocket all

Why you need a "Soyuz-5", if the same tasks can be solved rocket "Soyuz-2"? Officials have put forward several reasons in favour of the feasibility of establishing a replacement "Zenith", which in the USSR it was planned to replace the family of R-7.

First, the development of media will support the potential designers of "Energy" and "Progress." Second, this uses the world's most powerful liquid rocket engine RD-171МВ. Third, get a chance for revival projects "Sea launch" and "Land launch", currently owned by the company S7 Space. Fourth, in the framework of the "Soyuz-5" Russia has planned the continuation of cooperation with Kazakhstan in the space industry. Fifthly, for some reason, "Irtysh" and not any of the missiles, "Angara", have to compete with heavy Falcon 9 SpaceX American company. Sixth, the existing plans of the "Roskosmos" involve the launch of "Federation" to "Union-5". Seventh, the "Irtysh" should be the basis for the Russian heavy rocket "Yenisei" and "don".

This list goes on a few paragraphs. However, existing is enough to Express doubts about the feasibility of the claimed state plans. If the first two positions on the involvement in the project, designers of rockets and engines for the sake of the project, the usual for the Russian space industry, as is shown by the Angara family, the rest look weird.

Not Atlas shrugged

Regarding the prospects of "Soyuz-5" there are some questions. First on the role of S7 in the project Space. On the one hand, the company is dissatisfied with the approved "Roscosmos" design a rocket with the other States on the development of the own vehicle "Soyuz-7" (not to be confused with another "Soyuz-7", aka — "Volga", developed as the Central unit "Yenisei"), which, however, is not too successful.

Start Zenit from Sea launch
Photo: jurvetson / Wikimedia

In November 2018, the now former CEO of S7 Space Sergey Sopov told about the bureaucracy and lack of interest in a partnership with the state-owned enterprises of the Russian space industry. According to him, "Roskosmos" has ignored the offer of the company totaling $ 2.5 billion order for 50 units of "Soyuz-5" with an advance for 10 missiles and an option for another 35 vehicles. SOPs also noted delays in the supply of components for the rocket "Zenit-3SL", caused by the slowness of the Russian authorities. It is not surprising that in March it became known that the S7 Space very likely will abandon the "Zenith".

I should add that after Rogozin was the head of "Roskosmos", the "Energy" in S7 Space left the key developers of the "Soyuz-5" (Igor Radugin) and "Federation" (Nikolai Bryukhanov). After leaving the company Sopova it was headed by the former head of TsENKI (Center for operation of ground space infrastructure objects) rano dzhuraeva.

Currently, a private company formed alternative team of professionals, able to assume competence of the Corporation related to civil and commercial space, in particular, the launch of foreign satellites and the ISS control. The latter is likely to happen when the Russian manned space program will cease to interest the Americans and thereby cease to generate income. Even greater uncertainty to the situation makes the tragic death of co-owner S7 Group Natalia Fileway.

Remembering Ukraine

Another point which causes a skeptical attitude to the "Soyuz-5", is connected with Kazakhstan. In the project "Soyuz-5" and "Federation" has no military component, and to run them, it would seem, should be ideally suited to the East, declare "Roscosmos" as the "first civilian spaceport of Russia". Instead, on the Eastern construction site to launch rockets "Angara-A5", which, of course, will not remain without attention of the Ministry of defense.

The last "proton-M" from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the interests of the military should fly in may 2019. The media, apparently, will cease to fly by 2023. After that Baikonur should remain only the current start of the tables under the "Soyuz-2" and "Sunkar" (the Kazakh name for "Soyuz-5"). The latter will be the one which will possible start "Irtysh", which begs the natural question of whether the new rocket with a new spacecraft to launch from the cosmodrome, located on the territory of a foreign state. It is particularly instructive situation with Ukraine, the current status of Russia's relations with which made it impossible for the launch rocket "Zenit".

The carrier rocket "proton" in the Assembly shop in space scientific production center Khrunichev

The stability of the current contracts between Russia and Kazakhstan in the space industry supported by the factor of the ISS, in which the leading role belongs to the United States. The participation of the United States made possible the uninterrupted supply of various kinds of Ukrainian components, particularly control systems for rockets "Soyuz-FG" with which American (and Russian) crew member are delivered into orbit. In 2020, when NASA certifies manned spacecraft SpaceX Crew Dragon and BoeingStarliner, Moscow and Nur-Sultan will lose its arbitrator in the face of Washington — the third party concerned.

Probably the "Roscosmos" not needed "Soyuz-5", and the rocket may not fly. The reasons for this are. This can be, for example, difficulties with the Kazakhstan party, including the unavailability of the launch pad for her, meets Nur-Sultan, and the deterioration of relations with Moscow.

Another reason could be the unwillingness to 2020 "Federation". In February, Rogozin said, promising that a ship does not make sense to use for regular flights into orbit, for this reason it is still launch Soyuz MS. Instead, the Federation allegedly planned to cook for the moon, a flight which would require a heavy "Angara" or heavy "Yenisei", starting with Eastern.

In any case, the launch of "Soyuz-5" depends on the simultaneous execution of too many factors. In the case of failure the Corporation will be another reason to stop spend money on manned flights and to direct more funding to the "Center Khrunichev".

Black hole

In fact, the development of "Soyuz-5" the acting head of the state Corporation wanted to slow down in June 2018. Then the Manager said that the draft project of the "Soyuz-5" with kerosene RD-171МВ will be revised, and the new missile is capable to methane engines. However, Rogozin later corrected the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, demanding the speeding up of the testing equipment.

In April, the head of Roskosmos, during a visit to Moscow manufacturer of "proton-M" and "Angara-A5" actually admitted that the "Soyuz-5" methane in the foreseeable future would be impossible. According to the head of the state Corporation, "methane engine will give us the reusability of launch vehicles", and to create this power unit can be just "a couple of years, but this requires funds that are not yet" because they invested in the program of financial recovery "of the Khrunichev Centre".

Photo: Sergey Mamontov / RIA Novosti
The launch complex at the cosmodrome "East"

Currently, the company is positioned as "one of the world leaders in the development and serial production of large orbital modules", unable not only to produce, but even dominatemeplease fuel tanks on a disposable module "Science", built almost a quarter century. The head of the "Center Khrunichev" Alex Morocco reports that the debt load of the company for the six months thanks to government subsidies, declined by more than 30 billion rubles and reached 84 billion.

Very little does the name of the rocket "Soyuz-5" proposed personally Rogozin. In addition, the Irtysh river is the dirtiest river in Siberia, which itself becomes at once three countries — China, originates, Kazakhstan and Russia, it is impossible not to take into account that you have selected to rival American Falcon 9 title, generally speaking, difficult to pronounce for English speaking people. However, foreigners are unlikely to need to utter such unusual words, and the Russians to such solutions, characterized by rationality and reasoning, known only to their authors, the stranger is not necessary.
In the meantime, "Roskosmos" gently said that maybe in two to three months to transfer the launches of cargo spacecraft from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the East. Manned launches from the far Eastern cosmodrome to prepare for half a year, which will require, in addition to active work, 6.5 billion rubles. To do this, just to finish the tower maintenance, open areas for landing craft in the Pacific in case of an accident and create a Maritime search-and-rescue teams.

Andrei Borisov

Source: https://lenta.ru/articles/2019/04/03/roscosmos/

Tags: Russia , space