BRUSSELS (EU PR) — Following an in-depth review, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Arianespace by Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), a joint venture between Airbus and Safran. This approval is subject to conditions.
Following a successful suborbital flight of the Angara 1 booster in July, Russian space officials are gearing up to test the larger Angara 5 launch vehicle by the end of the year.
The Khrunichev-built Angara is a modular family of rockets on which additional boosters are added to the first-stage core. Angara 5 is designed to place 24.5 metric tons of cargo into low Earth orbit (LEO). The smaller Angara 1 can loft 3.8 metric tons to LEO.
The Russian government’s proposal to consolidate the nation’s rocket industry to deal with serious quality control problems in its space industry is getting a decidedly chilly reception:
Russian space rocket corporation Energia head Vitaly Lopota on Wednesday rejected as a “non-market” measure the idea of establishing an engine holding company in the domestic space industry.
“This proposal would completely eliminate the competitive environment in the country,” Lopota said….
Russian Space Agency Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin had previously said Russia planned to create a single holding company for booster rocket production to integrate the country’s leading space vehicle producers Khrunichev and TsSKB Progress, and also an engine-building sub-holding company to include engine makers Energomash, the Khimavtomatiki design bureau, the Voronezh mechanical works, Proton PM and other firms.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government in summer to work out a plan to improve Russia’s space industry organizations, after a string of mishaps that he said have compromised Russia’s image as a leading space power.
Two Russian companies moved forward over the past week on development of a pair of new launch vehicles. TsSKB-Progress conducted a major test of the new light-class Soyuz-2-1c booster while Khrunichev shipped Angara components to the Plesetsk spaceport for testing.
TsSKB-Progress completed a cold bench test on the first stage of the new booster on June 22. RussianSpaceWeb.com reports that the three-day test “reportedly rehearsed all processing and fueling procedures with the rocket all the way up to the liftoff command. It involved loading of 33.8 tons of kerosene fuel and 85.2 tons of liquid oxygen oxidizer onboard the first stage of the Soyuz-1 vehicle. The second cold test cleared the way to the test firing of the rocket’s propulsion system, which at the time was preliminary scheduled for August.”