by Douglas Messier
TASS reports that Russia plans to cut the price of its Angara launch vehicle from seven to four billion rubles ($100.3 to $57.3 million) by 2024.
The high cost price of the latest Angara carrier rocket before the start of its serial production is due to the need for the Khrunichev Space Center to work at two sites, the press office of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos told TASS on Monday.
“Before the production process is fully moved to the site of the Polyot company in Omsk, the Khrunichev Space Center has to work at two production sites, which creates additional overhead costs,” a Roscosmos spokesman said.
As part of its trials, the Angara rocket is being produced singly instead of serially, he said.
“After the serial full-cycle production is launched, the item’s cost price will decrease,” the spokesman said.
The lower cost will help Russia to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters.
Angara is a modular family of boosters capable of launching light, medium and heavy payloads weighing up to 37.5 metric tons into low Earth orbit.
Russia conducted test flights of the Angara 1.2PP and Angara 5 variants in 2014 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Both boosters carried mass simulators as payloads.
A second flight test of the Angara 5 is planned for later this year.
Meanwhile, work is continuing on the Angara launch pad at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East.
“On June 11, 2020, the first standard-sized Angara launching pad sections were sent from Severodvinsk to the cosmodrome via railway as relatively small, requiring about 40 units of rolling stock,” Roscosmos said in a press release.
“In July, the large-sized components will be sent via the Northern Sea Route, as well as the vacuum unit frame. The decision to ship the launching pad and special equipment by water is unprecedented; however all the calculations proved its effectiveness,” the statement added.
Roscosmos plans to launch the first Angara rocket from Vostochny in 2023. An Angara A5 is scheduled to launch Russia’s new Orel crewed spacecraft on a flight test in 2025.