Russia starts ambitious super-heavy space rocket project
Published time: November 17, 2013 03:26

Image via The Buran orbiter landing at the Baikonur space center.(RIA Novosti / Alexander Mokletsov)

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The Buran orbiter landing at the Baikonur space center.(RIA Novosti / Alexander Mokletsov)

On the 25th anniversary of the historic flight of the Soviet space shuttle Buran, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency has formed a working group to prepare “within weeks” a roadmap for the revival of the Energia super-heavy booster rocket.

The group led by Oleg Ostapenko, the new head of Roscosmos Federal Space Agency, is set to draw up proposals on the design of a super-heavy launch vehicle capable of delivering up to 100 tonnes of payload to the baseline orbit, former Soviet minister of general machine building, Oleg Baklanov, said on Friday.

“You have assumed the responsibility and dared to head the group, which is supposed to find an answer to the question how we can regain the position we demonstrated to the world with the launch of a 100-tonne spacecraft [Buran in 1988] within a few weeks,” the ex-minister told Ostapenko at the event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the flight of the Buran shuttle spacecraft.

The new carrier rocket Angara is set to become the base for the ambitious project that could bring Russia back to its heyday of space exploration. It could be launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome which is now being constructed in Russia’s Far East, and will replace Kazakhstan’s Baikonur as Russia’s main launchpad.

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Roscosmos Wants Only Domestic Civilian Satellite Makers
15 November 2013 | Issue 5256
The Moscow Times

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Federal Space Agency Chief Oleg Ostapenko proposed in a letter to Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin to end the practice of placing orders for the production of civilian communication satellites with foreign manufacturers, a news report said Friday.

The new head of Roscosmos sees such orders as a kind of subsidy of foreign manufacturers, Kommersant reported.

If the government heeds Ostapenko’s advice European space concern EADS may lose part of its contracts here, leaving Russia’s Information Satellite Systems Company, or ISS, as the only supplier of civilian communication satellites. Ostapenko noted in the letter that the planning for the launch of the next series of three communication satellites — Express-AMU2, Express-AMU3 and Express-AMU4 — in 2016-2025 — involves only one supplier, ISS.

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