The first launch of Angara-A5 with a new modification of the RD-191 engine is scheduled for 2023. This was announced by the general director of NPO Energomash Igor Arbuzov during a visit to the Perm enterprise of PJSC Proton-PM.

“By 2023, we were tasked with creating a new modification of the RD-191M engine for the promising Angara-A5M, Angara-A5V, and Angara-A5P launch vehicles (in a manned version). And it was decided that all engines for this line should be produced at the Perm site (at the Proton-PM enterprise. - RT ). In 2023, the first engine for flight tests should leave the Perm enterprise, ”Arbuzov said, adding that a rocket launch with a new engine will take place in the same year.

In turn, the general director of Roskosmos Dmitry Rogozin, who also visited Proton-PM, said that in July this year the Angara-A5 rocket would be handed over to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

“This month, the Moscow Rocket Plant Center them. M.V. Khrunicheva is handing over the flying machine to the military; now all documents are being processed. The rocket is ready. We plan that she will be sent to the Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defense in Plesetsk in the coming weeks, ”he said.

  • © Roscosmos State Corporation

To replace the "Proton"

The Angara-5 launch vehicle will have to replace the Proton launch vehicles used today, which were developed back in the Soviet years and were subsequently upgraded several times, experts say.

“The transition to a more modern medium has been asking for a long time. Although the modernized Proton-M generally works well, it has one significant drawback - highly toxic fuel. “Angara-A5 is a more environmentally friendly carrier,” Nathan Eismont, an employee of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with RT.

As the developers explain, Angara-A5 does not use aggressive and toxic types of heptyl-based rocket fuel, which allows "significantly increasing the environmental safety indicators of the complex both in the regions adjacent to the cosmodrome and in the areas where the spent stages of launch vehicles are falling."

"Angara-5" is part of the family of the same name rockets, the creation of which began in the first half of the 1990s in the GKNPC them. M.V. Khrunicheva. At the moment, the program has two devices: the light Angara-1.2 and the heavy Angara-A5.

The starting weight of Angara-1.2 is 171 tons, Angars-A5 is 773 tons. The possibility of producing the Angara-A5V modification with an oxygen-hydrogen third stage is also analyzed. Its starting weight will reach approximately 815 tons. It is planned to launch them from the Plesetsk and Vostochny cosmodromes (after the completion of the second construction phase).

Modular system

A distinctive feature of the "Angara" is the modular construction principle. Each missile of the family is composed of ready-made universal missile modules (URM), the number of which determines the carrying capacity of launch vehicles.

“In terms of design, the Angara has gone far from Proton. If you look at the Angara assembly shop and the Proton assembly shop, the difference will be visible to the naked eye, because in fact in the Angara assembly shop they don’t make rockets: they make universal missile modules here. These are absolutely identical modules, identical in design, by typing which in different numbers we get different payloads in orbit and different modifications of the Angara. If we take one module, we will get Angara-1.2, if we take five URMs, then we will get Angara-5, ”the general designer of Salyut Design Bureau (part of the State Scientific and Production Center named after M.V. Khrunicheva) Sergey Kuznetsov.

The URM is "a complete structure consisting of oxidizer and fuel tanks connected by a spacer and an engine compartment," the Roskosmos website reported.

Universal missile modules of the first stage of the Angara are equipped with RD-191 liquid engines. NPO Energomash is engaged in their creation.

Its design was based on the Soviet RD-170/171 engines, which are considered the most powerful in the world.

“RD-191 is a very efficient engine. Probably the most efficient and most reliable in the world. This is a good decision, ”said Nathan Eismont.

RD-191 were certified in 2011. As the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said in August 2019, the number of RD-191s produced should increase multiply from 2023.

  • RD-191
  • © NPO Energomash

At the moment, work is underway to equip the Perm Proton-PM plant for the production of RD-191.

“Our task is to start mass production of the RD-191 with the possibility of producing up to 40 engines a year by 2023. To solve this problem, we are reconstructing, optimizing and commissioning new capacities, ”said Dmitry Schenyatsky, Executive Director of Proton-PM PJSC.

Price and market prospects

In June this year, reports appeared in the media citing various sources that the cost of the Angara-A5 rocket could be about 7 billion rubles. However, as reported by Roskosmos, the contract for the supply of missiles for testing at the Ministry of Defense indicated a price of less than 5 billion per unit. And after the transfer of production to Omsk, the cost should decrease to 4 billion rubles (about $ 56 million).

For comparison: according to the data published on its website, the launch price of a similar class Falcon 9 rocket of the American company SpaceX in 2020 is $ 62 million. At the same time, Angara-A5 can put 24-24.5 tons of payload into low Earth orbit, which is almost 2 tons more than the Falcon 9.

As experts recall, after launching the series, the cost of the Angara-A5 will have to decline further.

“Serial production is always cheaper than single or small-scale production. The same principle applies to the Angara, because now the cost of one launch includes all the costs of its development, ”says Eismont.

According to the analyst, Angara-5 has a chance to gain a foothold in the global space services market, although there is quite fierce competition today.

“Everyone expects that Angara-5 will be able to enter the market. Compared to the SpaceX rocket, our projects are approximately equal. Another competitor is the European carrier Ariane 5. Its characteristics are approximately the same as that of the Angara-5, but its payload is lower, ”said Eismont.

Another advantage of Angara is its modular principle. This was in an interview with RT the head of the Institute of Space Policy Ivan Moiseev.

“This provides primarily an economic advantage. We can use one start to launch missiles of all three classes. There is a heavy carrier of five modules, there is a light rocket. All classes of missiles that are needed can be closed with this one family and one engine type, ”the expert concluded.