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Russian to Spend Decade, $25 Billion on Super Heavy Launch Vehicle

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 19, 2018
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Ergonomic testing has been conducted for the new Federation spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

Russia is moving ahead with a decade-long, $25 billion (1.6 trillion ruble) program to create new super-heavy launch vehicles capable of lifting up to 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit (LEO), Tass reports.

The new boosters, known as Energia-3 and Energia-5, will incorporate technologies and elements of the Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket, which is now under development.

Soyuz-5 is designed to launch Russia’s new crewed spacecraft, Federatsiya (Federation), into Earth orbit. The Energia rockets will be used for lunar missions.

RSC Energia, which is developing the boosters, plans to test the Soyuz-5 rocket from 2022-25. The super-heavy booster would then be tested from 2028-2035 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

The initial tests will involve the Energia-3 rocket, which will be capable of lifting about 70 metric tons into LEO. The Energia-5 will be capable of launching 100 metric tons into Earth orbit and 20.5 metric tons into lunar orbit.

Between 2028-32, Roscosmos plans to launch crewed spacecraft, lunar landers and other payloads on flights to the moon to test out the technologies required for establishing a base on the lunar surface. During the 2032-35 period, Roscosmos would establish a crewed base on the moon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been insistent that Roscosmos adhere to the planned timelines.

“It is important to timely implement some large-scale and significant projects, including the creation of the super-heavy rocket system,” Putin said. “Let me stress that all the time limits that were set earlier must be complied with and the flight tests should begin in 2028 as planned.”


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