The existence of plans to create an extra-heavy launch vehicle Energia-5В was announced last fall. In the middle of November, 2016 in Moscow hosted a conference devoted to the problems of the development of rocket and space technology. During this event, the Director General of Rocket and Space Corporation "Energia" named after. S.P. Queen Vladimir Solntsev. According to the head of the largest organization, the plans include the creation of a promising launch vehicle of a super-heavy class. It is planned to use a very interesting approach to the formation of the appearance of the rocket.
A new rocket was proposed to be built on a modular basis. Key nodes should be borrowed from already existing or developed projects of rocket technology. So, the first and second stages should be taken from the project of a promising middle-class rocket “Phoenix”. The upper stage with engines using hydrogen fuel was planned to be borrowed from the Angara-A5B projected heavy rocket. As V. Solntsev noted, the project “Energy-5В” proposes the creation of a kind of designer, from which it will be possible to assemble the carrier of the desired configuration with the required characteristics. The purpose of this approach is to reduce the time required to complete the work and the cost of the project.
By the time of the announcement of information about the promising project “Energy-5В”, there were already certain information about two other launch vehicles that are planned to be used as a source of components and assemblies. So, it is known that the Angara-A5B rocket is a variant of another project of its family, characterized by the use of the third stage with engines on the hydrogen-oxygen fuel pair. This modernization of the existing project, according to calculations, allows to significantly increase the payload.
The second source of aggregates is the Phoenix middle-class launch vehicle. Such a rocket will be able to lift to low Earth orbit up to 17 tons of cargo, including manned spacecraft. Also, the rocket will be able to output 2,5 tons of cargo to the geostationary orbit, for which she will need a booster. The development of Phoenix is scheduled to begin in the 2018 year and be completed by 2025. Even last year, it became known that in the future, the units of this rocket can be used to create a promising carrier of a heavy or extra heavy class.
Last year, only the most general plans were announced, defining the course of further work in the field of promising launch vehicles. A few months later, some details of the future Energy-5B project became known. As it turned out, the rocket and space industry is planning to immediately offer two versions of a rocket with different characteristics and capabilities.
Information about new plans in the framework of a promising project was published at the end of January by the TASS news agency. Information was obtained from an unnamed source in the space industry. At the same time, it was noted that the press center of RSC Energia refused to comment on such news. However, in this case, the published information is of great interest.
A source from the TASS news agency reported that by that time the approximate shape of two super-heavy launch vehicles had been determined. Two versions of the rocket "Energy-5В" received their own working names "Energy-5В-ПТК" and "Energy-5ВР-ПТК". Preliminary studies on the two projects were planned to be submitted to the management of Energia Corporation, as well as to the leading organizations in the rocket and space industry.
According to the information, the missiles of both types will be built on a three-stage scheme and use liquid engines. The first and second stages of the two missiles are proposed to be equipped with engines RD-171МВ. The first should receive four such products, the second - two. The third stage will have to be completed with two RD-0150 engines using hydrogen fuel. Two variants of the rocket will be close in their characteristics, but it is supposed to foresee some difference in capabilities.
The launch vehicle Energia-5В-ПТК, according to the existing calculations, will have a launch mass of 2368 t. It will be able to put it into a low near-earth orbit up to 100 t of the payload. It will be possible to send to the near-moon orbit up to 20,5 t. The project “Energy-5BP-PTK” offers to equip the rocket with an upper stage equipped with hydrogen-fueled engines. In such a configuration, the carrier will have a starting mass of 2346 t. The use of an overclocking unit will give corresponding advantages in solving certain problems.
When using energy-5В rockets for delivery to the orbit of a manned Federation spacecraft or a promising landing module for a lunar expedition, it is possible to use so-called. interorbital tug. This product can be developed and built on the basis of one of the existing upper stages of the DM family.
Over the next few months, the enterprises of the rocket and space industry continued to work under a promising project. Among other things, the approximate terms of creating new launch vehicles and launch complexes for their operation were determined. 8 June TASS agency has published new data on plans for the rocket "Energy-5В." As before, information was obtained from an unnamed source in the industry. In addition, like previous reports, TASS officials were unable to get a comment from officials, this time from the Roscosmos State Corporation.
According to an unnamed source, the launch site for Energia-5В rockets will be built at the Vostochny space center. According to current plans, construction work will be completed in 2027. The first launch of super heavy media from the newest launch pad will be made in 2028. Also some features of the future complex were announced. As it turned out, the current plans of the rocket and space industry imply the creation of a universal launch pad.
A TASS source said that the launching table for Energy-5В will be built according to the same principles as the universal start-stand 17P31 complex for Energia carrier. This complex was built three decades ago at site No. XXUMX of the Baikonur cosmodrome and was subsequently used for two launches of the extra-heavy energy rocket. What principles of the starting table for the old “Energy” should be transferred to the new project - it was not specified.
It is stated that the launching table for the Energia-5В rocket will be universal and will allow launching of various types of equipment. With it, it will be possible to send prospective middle-class Soyuz-5 missiles into space, as well as other carriers made on their base by connecting several units. Among other things, such a launch complex can be used together with promising super-heavy rockets of the Angara and Energy-5В families.
Also 8 June became aware of plans to accelerate the development of super-heavy rocket. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, said that the leadership of the industry had made a decision to force work on the subject of a super heavy class launch vehicle. To solve such problems, research work on the new RD-0150 engine has already begun. In the near future, this project will enter the development stage.
According to the vice-premier, the promising engine will be used on the Angara-A5В rocket, and will allow to bring its payload to 37 t. In the future, this power plant is planned to be used as part of the third stage of the super heavy rocket currently being built.
After the publication of news about the planned construction of the launch complex at the Vostochny cosmodrome, the acceleration of work in general and the beginning of the development of a new engine did not appear on the promising project Energy-5В. Thus, at the moment, only the most general information about the project is known, as well as the expected characteristics of the finished equipment. It is quite clear that the previously announced calculated information about the data and parameters in the future can significantly change. In addition, the fundamental points of the project may be revised. Finally, for one reason or another, the development of super-heavy carriers can be completely canceled.
It should be noted that, despite the similarity of the names and belonging to the same class, the promising rocket "Energy-5В" is not directly related to the carrier, created three decades ago. As follows from the previously published information, the new project of the super-heavy rocket will be created on the basis of modern ideas, solutions, components and assemblies. So, to save time and money, the authors of the project are considering the possibility of extensive use of large modules borrowed from existing samples of rocket technology.
It is known that the first and second stages of the Energia-5В-ПТК and Energiya-5ВР-ПТК missiles will be built on the basis of the corresponding units planned for development as part of the Phoenix project. The third stage, in turn, will be borrowed from the heavy "Angara-A5B", which is also quite far from the tests. The rocket will be able to use existing and prospective overclocking units. Such an approach will indeed speed up and cheapen the development of the project, although it will not provide an opportunity to realize all the plans in the near future. The fact is that the first flight of the Angara-A5B rocket is scheduled for 2023 year, and the Phoenix will take to the air in about two years. In order to design and prepare for testing, "Energy-5В" will need to wait for the completion of related projects used as a source of nodes.
Similarly, the situation with the engines. According to the reports of the beginning of the year, the first and second stages of super-heavy carrier will be equipped with RD-171MB engines. As far as we know, such a modification of the already existing RD-171 is not yet ready and will appear only in the foreseeable future. The RD-0150 engine also does not exist yet, and its development is in its very early stages. Thus, the lack of the necessary engines also will not allow the project “Energy-5В” to be completed in the near future.
The announced characteristics of a promising super-heavy launch vehicle are of great interest. A few months ago it became known that rockets could send low-Earth orbit up to 100 tons of cargo, and the Moon could deliver a little more than 20 tons. With the help of booster blocks of a particular model, it will be possible to get corresponding results. At the moment, serial launch vehicles with similar characteristics are not in use in the world. Several projects are being developed, but so far they have not been able to reach the test launches.
The emergence of a super heavy rocket can have the most serious impact on the further development of the national astronautics. In the past, in our country, attempts were made to master this direction, but they, for one reason or another, did not give real results. So, the first domestic super-heavy rocket H-1, capable of putting 75 into low-Earth orbit and cargo, was tested four times, and all launches ended in an accident. In the mid-seventies, the program was closed in favor of the new project.
The next attempt to master the super heavy direction was the Energy project. The maximum payload of such a rocket was 100 t. She could put into orbit both traditional spacecraft and the reusable Buran transport ship. In 1987-88, two test launches took place, after which work had to be stopped. The project was too expensive to implement at the time. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the closure of the project.
In the future, it was repeatedly proposed to create a new project of a super-heavy launch vehicle. For example, during a certain time, the possibility of developing such a project within the Angara family was considered. However, for technical and economic reasons, it was decided to confine ourselves only to heavy class equipment. The creation of a super heavy carrier was postponed indefinitely.
Another discussion of the possibility of creating such a rocket began several years ago. Last year, specific plans were announced, and at the beginning of 2017, it became known about the formation of the technical appearance of two rockets with similar characteristics and different capabilities. According to the latest data, these projects will be brought to trial only at the end of the next decade. In 2027, the launch complex will be completed at the Vostochny cosmodrome, and the first launch will take place in 2028. At the same time, there is reason to believe that these deadlines may move to the left, since the country's leadership made a fundamental decision to accelerate the work.
To date, the domestic rocket and space industry has managed to begin the development of a number of promising launch vehicles, which in the future will have to replace existing and operated samples. Existing plans involve the creation of missiles of all classes, from light to extra heavy. This will allow not only upgrading the carrier fleet by replacing outdated technology, but also expanding the capabilities of the national astronautics, as well as increasing its competitive potential. Nevertheless, the implementation of all plans and the creation of all the desired missiles will take a long time - the first results of current programs will appear no earlier than the end of the current decade.
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