- Parabolic Arc
- May 26, 2023
Angara 5 Launch Successful
Russian media are reporting that the first flight test of the new Angara 5 booster was successful on Wednesday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
The rocket consisted of five Universal Rocket Modules (URM) powered by RD-191 engines clustered as the first stage. Upper stages used on other boosters were to put a dummy payload into geostationary orbit. It’s not clear whether that effort was successful.
Angara, which is produced by Khrunichev, is designed to replace a number of Soviet-era launch vehicles, including the Proton and Zenit systems. The booster will initially launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, with eventual plans to operate from the new Vostochny facility under construction in the Russian Far East.
A smaller version of the rocket, the Angara A1.2, conducted a suborbital flight test in July. That rocket consisted of a single URM as the first stage.
Angara is a modular family of launch vehicles capable of lifting from 3.8 to 35 metric tons to low Earth orbit (LEO). The vehicle number corresponds with the number of URMs used in the first stage.
|ANGARA A1.2||ANGARA A3
|Liftoff Mass (Tons)||171||481||773||1,133|
|Payload to LEO (Tons)
|Payload to GTO (Tons)
||—||3.6 (KVTK), 2.4 (Breeze-M)||7.5 (KVTK), 5.4 (Breeze-M)||12.5 (KVTK-A7)|
|Payload to GSO (Tons)||—||2.0 (KVTK), 1.0 (Breeze-M)||4.6 (KVTK), 3.0 (Breeze-M)||7.6 (KVTK-A7)|
The Angara A1.2 uses the Breeze-KM as its upper stage. Payload capability for the Angara A3 and Angara A5 rockets depend upon whether the Breeze-M or KVTK upper stage is used.
Khrunichev successfully tested Angara’s first stage three times with a less powerful engine as part of the KSLV-1 launch vehicle it developed for South Korea. Those flights occurred in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
14 responses to “Angara 5 Launch Successful”
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One wonders about that “dummy payload”. You don’t just shoot trash into a valuable GEO slot.
I think if it was trash, they would leave it in a geostationary transfer orbit with a low perigee, so that it de-orbits relatively quickly. If the orbit is to be circularised in GEO, then it must be something valuable as you’ve said.
Russian domestic payloads tend to use direct injection into GSO (e.g. Yamal 401 earlier this month); if Angara didn’t demonstrate the capability to do that, it wouldn’t be a credible Proton replacement.
first test flight, Angara-A5 is expected to demonstrate its ability to
deliver cargo into geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the
Equator, the destination for most communications satellites. However,
the maiden mission only carries a payload simulator, rather than an
operational spacecraft. After reaching its target, the dummy satellite
will be boosted into a safe “burial” orbit, away from heavy space
It wouldn’t be unheard of for the initial flight of new a new launcher to carry an actual payload. Energia’s maiden flight carried the Polyus on its back. It wouldn’t be wild speculation that the “dummy payload” will be watched closely.
More importantly, that would be in keeping with how USSR/Russia has operated.
Congrats Russia, this has been a long time in coming.
The stage might not be new, but the ground stations and other infrastructure will be. No missions like this have been flown from Plesetsk before.
At almost 63 degrees north latitude, Plesetsk is a very difficult place to launch payloads into GEO. The energy required to lower in the inclination is enormous.
Congratulations to Russia!
And I’d also add that the Briz M is still not a slam dunk yet. That two stage design is both devilishly clever and frustratingly tricky to get it to work right everytime.
I’ll bet the final design came down to the fact they’ve lost so many payloads in recent years that they were forbidden from flying anything real.
I see, in the video clip linked to below, that the president of Russia still likes to surround himself with many telephones. Of the old kind which had a cable and a shape/size/weight which you couldn’t put in your pocket. They were symbols of bureaucratic power status in the Soviet era. Showing that you were well connected. And he also has three mice on his table, how annoying wouldn’t that be? And again, what are those two guys doing trying to look over their wall/table thing? Maybe there’s a third one down there behind it. Anyway, I’m flabbergasted the Russians can launch anything to space. As long as it works, it’s good. One of the best news this year in my book.
That explains half of it! I heard that Russian soldiers are not allowed to use iPhones because the US government use them as spy machines. Maybe that’s why they still like cable phones.
This launch was performed with so-caled “3-impulse” scheme, which stresses Briz-M with longer firings and thus heavier heat soak. In the past it was prone to failure and thus all contemporary Porton missions fly “4-impulse” schemes with shorter firings (both to GTO and GSO).