MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – The maiden mission of a new Russian lightweight rocket was a “huge success,” the director of the factory that built the launcher said Monday.
“This is the first modern Russian rocket in the lightweight class with liquid rocket engines,” Alexander Kirilin said in an address to workers at the Progress Factory in the Volga city Samara.
The Soyuz-2.1v rocket lifted off from Russia’s northern Plesetsk space center on December 28. It can carry up to 2,800 kg of payload into orbit and is powered by rocket engines left over from the Soviet Union’s lunar program.
The Soyuz-2.1v was specifically built for Russian launches, Kirilin told RIA Novosti.
“However, considering the large demand for launching small satellites, we have already received a number of requests from potential international customers about the possibility of using the rocket for launching commercial payloads.”
The rocket, which also featured a brand new upper stage, performed flawlessly in launching a pair of radar calibration spheres and the small student satellite Aist, Kirilin said.
Russia also launches smaller payloads on rockets made from decommissioned nuclear missiles.