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Russia’s Energia Space Corporation mulling a new superheavy carrier rocket in partnership with Kazakhstan and Ukraine

28 августа 2012, 10:49
Baikonur cosmodrome. RIA Novosti©
Baikonur cosmodrome. RIA Novosti©
Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh space agencies might develop a new superheavy carrier rocket capable of delivering space vehicles of up to 20 tons to the moon, RIA Novosti reported, citing Vitaly Lopota, chief designer at S.P. Korolyov Rocket and Space Corporation Energia.

“Relying on the RD-171 engine with a thrust of 800 tons, in cooperation with Kazakhstan and Ukraine we could create within 3-4 years a superheavy carrier rocket capable of sending a spaceship of up to 20 tons to the moon”, Mr. Lopota told journalists on the sidelines of the International Aerospace Congress held in Moscow August 27.

Earlier Mr. Lopota said that Energia Corporation planned to develop the new carrier rocket employing the Energia – Buran Russian Space Shuttle System technology. The shuttle system was developed in the late 1980s. The launching pad for the system is located at the Kazakhstan’s cosmodrome Baikonur.

Baikonur is the first and largest cosmodrome in the world. Located in Kazakhstan, it is rented out to Russia till 2050.

Baikonur is closer to the Equator than other launch sites – a situation that facilitates geostationary orbit or orbits less inclined to reach the International Space Station (ISS). This privileged geographic placement enables the launch of more significant payloads.

The cosmodrome has been rented out since 1994. Annual rent stands at $115 million. $100 million is transferred annually to maintain the infrastructure.

Energia is the largest company of the Russian space industry and one of its key players. It is responsible for all operations involving manned spaceflight and is the lead developer of the Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, and the lead developer of the Russian end of the International Space Station.

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