Federatsiya spacecraft’s first flight may be rescheduled to 2022 - source
MOSCOW, Roskosmos plans rescheduling the first launch of the Federatsiya crewed spacecraft from 2021 to 2022 and to make it from Baikonur on the Feniks new middle-class carrier, sources at the space sector told TASS on Saturday.
Formerly, the first launch was planned for 2021 from the Vostochnyi pad on the Angara class carrier.
"Roskosmos suggests reviewing the plans to launch the Federatsiya crewed spacecraft and to relocate the launch to the Baikonur port. The launch will be made on a new carrier of the middle class, which is being made now under the Feniks project. This project will be implemented in the framework of the Bayterek complex. This would not require major changes to the spacecraft, as the new carrier would be using RD-170M forced engines, and the tests of this complex are planned for 2022," the source said.
Besides, the source continued, organization of the infrastructures for piloted launches from the Vostochnyi spaceport (assembly-testing facility for manned spacecraft, life support systems on the launch pad, infrastructures to accommodate crews) may be postponed until super-heavy carrier for Moon flights is designed.
"Due to the changed carrier for the spacecraft’s launch, the decision is to refuse from work on a piloted version of Angara-A5P carrier. Manned programs will return to the Vostochnyi cosmodrome only in the beginning of construction of the launch complex for the super-heavy carrier after 2025," the source said, stressing the new plans would not affect construction of the Angara launch complex, which is still due by 2021, though the launch now is planned not with a piloted spacecraft, but with unmanned payload.
The super-heavy carrier will be used in the piloted program to fly around the Moon and land on it. For that, the industry will be working on a heavier and bigger 20-tonn version of the Federatsiya spacecraft.
"The first stage of work on the super-heavy carrier will be implemented at the Baikonur spaceport, as the Feniks carrier and Federatsiya spacecraft are tested," the source said.
Roskosmos has given no comments.
The Federatsiya spacecraft being developed by the Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation is designed to deliver humans and cargoes to the near-Earth orbit as well as to the Moon. Its crew will comprise up to four members. In its autonomous flight, the spacecraft will be able to operate up to 30 days and up to a year as part of an orbital station. Russia intends to use heavy Angara-A5V and Angara-A5P carrier rockets for delivering the Federatsiya spacecraft into orbit.
Earlier reports said the spacecraft’s first sample will weigh 14.4 tonnes, the version for flights to the International Space Station - 19 tonnes, the Moon version - 20.5 tonnes.
New super-heavy rocket
In 2015, the chairman of the science and engineering council of the Roscosmos corporation, Yuri Koptev, said a new heavy rocket for 70-80-tonne payloads would require 700 billion rubles to make. Later, it was announced that both the super-heavy rocket and the infrastructure for it at the Vostochny spaceport in Russia’s Far East would cost 1.5 trillion rubles.
A new super-heavy space rocket would consist of the rocket Feniks and the third-stage hydrogen-fueled stage of the rocket Angara-A5B. Roscosmos’s strategy scheduled the beginning of super-heavy rocket tests for 2035.
Earlier, a source in the space rocket industry told TASS that the Energia Corporation had designed two projects of a super-heavy rocket - Energia 5V-PTK (liftoff mass of 2,368 tonnes) and Energia-5VR-PTK (launch mass of 2,346 tonnes).
Both are capable of putting payloads of about 100 tonnes into near-Earth orbits and of about 20.5 tonnes - the estimated mass of the lunar configuration of the spacecraft Federatsiya - into near-Moon orbits.