20 August 2012, 15:25

Super-heavy carrier rocket could be created jointly with Ukraine, Kazakhstan

Super-heavy carrier rocket could be created jointly with Ukraine, Kazakhstan

The space rocket corporation Energia, based in Korolyov near Moscow, has proposed a plan to create a super-heavy carrier rocket, Commonwealth, for long-distance space missions, jointly with Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Energia President and General Designer Vitaly Lopota told reporters on Monday.

"Energia is proposing that a carrier rocket, Commonwealth, be created in cooperation with Ukraine and Kazakhstan, with the use of the Energia-Buran know-how," he said.

"The Energia-Buran project includes the launch system, which is still viable. At least it can be brought back to life. It also includes the "A" rocket units, used in the Zenit carrier rocket, and also engines made today. We proposed using oxygen-kerosene engines instead of the hydrogen central part, and make the first and second stages of five units," he said.

"Concerning the carrying capacity, it's difficult to speculate, but it could be up to 70 tonnes, which is sufficient to circle the Moon," Lopota said.

"If ambitions and political will are there, this project could be accomplished in a few years without falling behind our American colleagues," Lopota added.

The Energia rocket is a Soviet-era carrier of super-heavy class, developed by Energia Corporation in the 1980s. Two Energia launches were carried out: on May 15 1987 with a mass-volume mockup model, and on November 15 1988 with the Buran reusable shuttle. The Energia-Buran project was suspended in the 1990s, when five rocket frames at various degrees of readiness were available at the Baikonur cosmodrome and at the Energia corporation assembly premises. They were destroyed. The RD-170 rocket engine, developed for the Energia project, has been upgraded and is used in Zenit Russian-Ukrainian carrier rockets as RD-171, and in American Atlas 5 launch systems as RD-180.

The Energia carrier rocket is 59 meters long and is 16 meters in diameter. Its launch weight is 2,400 tonnes. The payload weighs 105 tonnes.

Zenit carrier rockets are serially produced at the Yuzhmash company in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. They are powered with RD-171 engines, developed by NPO Energomash, based in Khimki near Moscow.

Interfax

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