12 March 2015 of the Scientific and Technical Council (NTS) of Roscosmos unanimously recommended that the Federal Space Program of the FNT-2025 should continue to work on the Angara project for another ten years, despite the fact that they have already been carried out on the 22 of the year. After bringing this decision to the public on the pages of the “Military-Industrial Courier”, a heated discussion was expectedly expected. There were a lot of negative feedback on the conclusions made by the NTS. At the same time, no one was surprised that every one of the council members voted for Angara.
The flaws of the "Angara" project were noted in a wide range and presented with serious technical arguments. Let us briefly describe the essence of these responses, claims to the plans of Roskosmos.
In the methodical part it is:
“Knockout sanctions from space will fall on Russia at the very beginning of the 2020-s with the launch of the American space system SLS / Orion”
initially the wrong choice of target, which has led today to a critical lag behind the world level in the field of space launch vehicles (CRN);
the hushing up of the overriding role of the super-heavy launch vehicle (RN) as a guarantor of our presence in orbits and the creation of parity primarily in the defense field and only then in deep space research;
the denial of the fact that knocking sanctions from space will fall on Russia at the very beginning of the 2020-s with the commissioning of the American space system SLS / Orion. From this point on, the entire worthlessness of the Angara program with its multi-launch expedition to the moon in the 2030s will manifest itself;
fake confidence that the US will not dare to use the SLS missile for military purposes.
Negative aspects of the technical side:
the helplessness of both the Angara-5 and the Angara-5В in front of the American SLS rocket in the fight for the information space;
the weakness of the first stage of “Angara-5”, as a result, the unreality of increasing the mass of the payload (PN) to thirty-eight tons;
uselessness and uselessness of the implementation of the variant "Hangars-5В". Even if a thirty-monosmiton pH is created, it will not affect the balance of forces. Waste of time and money;
the small scale of the final tasks, their vague wording, prudently removed to a safe time interval for the authors. As a result, responsibility for the result is not personalized.
Virtually any item listed above is sufficient to doubt the feasibility of this project.
That is, according to the results of the public discussion, the “Angara” project cannot be recommended as the basis of the PCF-2025.
Russia is losing the race
The significance of the identified deficiencies is largely masked by the inadequate advertising of the project, as well as the clearly favorable attitude of the top government officials towards it. The latter, unable to grasp the technical side of the process, see its main attractiveness in the fact that there is a long-awaited opportunity to complete the privatization of another huge piece of domestic industry and applied science. And this commission is the only one of all promised that will be completed to the end.
Such a modest, if not to say miserable task, like the creation of a thirty-miton missile in thirty years, does not pull to the rank of national. The limitations and far-fetchedness of the Angara-5В program, in which some of the main strategic goals are:
delivery to the 2025, the automatic vehicle on the moon and its manned flyby;
the landing of astronauts on the moon to 2030 as a result of the four-launch operation.
All this has already happened. The Soviet lunar rover walked on the moon back in the 70s. In December, 2013 threw down the Chinese "Yuytu". American lunar flights and astronauts began as early as 1969. It makes no sense to repeat this path. This will only be a visual confirmation of our sixty-year lag behind the United States and a demonstration of technical weakness. Applying a four-launch flight scheme where the rivals cost the single-start one is an act of self-humiliation. It is the same as to beat Sergey Bubka’s unique six-meter jumper record by jumping six meters by meter.
It is clear that if the Angara-5В program is elevated to the rank of the main state task in space for the next ten years, this will inevitably cause a sharp decline in Russia's rating in the eyes of foreign countries and specialists. Today, the Russian Federation ranks second in the ranks of space powers. In the future, speaking with his ridiculous plan for a manned expedition to the moon by 2030, China, France (going to launch the rover in 2018), India, and Japan will have to miss ahead. As for the USA, they are planning a manned expedition to Mars by this time on the SLS / Orion rocket and space system.
In all cases, the appearance of the FKP with Angar will be a clear signal to foreign strategists that Russia has been blown away under the pressure of sanctions and in the struggle for the information space, for the place of our spacecraft (SC) in orbits is falling out of distance.
However, the biggest "merit" of the program "Angara" is that it finally and irrevocably leads the Russian space away from the global path of development of launch vehicles (SV). Loss of time and opportunity may be irreparable. Therefore, it is necessary to find "Angara" a worthy alternative.
Was there a competition?
The undoubted task of any branch of the defense industry is to create and maintain parity with the capabilities of the likely adversary. Giant engineering forces and industrial facilities are concentrated in Roscosmos. But the results of their activities leave much to be desired. With the completion of the operation of the Space Shuttle, the parity of the launch vehicles is maintained only by the Proton. But in the near future, by the year 2020, the American SLS missile carrying capacity of 70 – 130 tons will go into low-earth orbit (NOO) against our 25 tons. Given the country's dependence on space information systems, this gap should be considered critical. Common sense and the instinct of self-preservation require the establishment of parity in the means of elimination. Moreover, this is a political task, without the solution of which Russia can become enslaved in bondage to the threats and whims of our foreign counter-partners.
It was logical to assume that all this will be reflected in the upcoming FKP-2025, primarily in the program of the competition of rocket companies. From this angle we will briefly review the content of the materials submitted for the competition.
RSC Energia in 2013 rejected the competition, but later offered a line of Energiya-K rockets with a payload of NOU from sixteen to eighty-five tons. The development was based on the intellectual and technical groundwork from the previous "Energy", simplified by eliminating oxygen-hydrogen technology, which is practically lost today. This proposal was an undoubted step forward in comparison with the "Angara", as it assumed the release of an "extra heavy" rocket and promised a reduction of four to five years. But in December 2014-th at a meeting in Roscosmos this obstacle was carefully removed from the “Angara” road.
The Progress Rocket and Space Center (RCC) will begin development of the Phoenix launch vehicle in 2018. By 2025, the creation of the Soyuz middle class RN is planned. The line includes three versions: "Soyuz-5.1", "Soyuz-5.2", "Soyuz-5.3" with a loading capacity of 9,2, 16,5 and 26,5 tons, respectively. The basic engine of the first stage is a two-chamber RD-180. Note that the Soyuz-5.3, having a starting mass of six hundred and fifty tons (one hundred and ten tons lighter than the Angara), lifts the NOU by one and a half tons more than the Angara-5, which again indicates that the latter is not optimal.
In cooperation with related enterprises, the State Rocket Center (SRC) “KB them. V.P. Makeeva presented the development of the Rossianka launch vehicle with a starting mass of seven hundred and fifty tons with a lifting capacity of twenty one and a half tons per NOU. A novelty here was a high-precision scheme for returning spent first-stage engines to Earth with a hit of three to five kilometers from the launch site to the 50x50 platform.
All contestants were invited to develop methane liquid-propellant rocket engines (LRE) - a novelty of the last century. While the proposal is not implemented by anyone, because it is in fact a high-cost and ineffective event.
The State Space Research and Production Center (GKNPT) named after MV Khrunichev for the second time history put on a twenty-two-year-old RV "Angara". For the first time, an advance project was exposed as a competitor of the finished Energy-M rocket in 1993.
From the presented materials it is clear that the TZ issued to the contestants required the development of a middle class PH with characteristics close to Angara-5. So we met in the final “Soyuz-5.3” (26 tons), “Rossiyanka” (21,5 tons) - both in the initial design stage, and “Angara-5” twenty-two years old. As a result, "Angara-5" fought with itself, won itself and was the only contender for the PCF. Moreover, the competitive offer of RSC Energia was previously rejected.
As a result, the upgrade of the Angara-5 to a loading capacity of thirty-eight tons is recommended as the main content of the FKP-2025.
From the above we can draw the following conclusions:
1. The objectives and recommendations of the competition do not correspond to the priority needs of the Russian space in the current foreign policy environment, did not meet with support in public discussion and therefore cannot become the basis of the PCF-2025.
2. The materials submitted for the competition are based on scientific and technical solutions of the last century and do not take into account current global trends in the creation of space launch vehicles.
3. It is necessary to hold an additional competition for the creation of a domestic super-heavy RN on the modern principle of a combined first stage.
The competition can be completed in three to four months. Without this, it is impossible to choose the right path for the further development of the national space and hastily set up the PCF will fire idly. It is necessary to wake up the initiative of the leading design bureaus and protect them from possible administrative opposition.
Unsurpassed 38 tons
At the presentation of the FKP in Roskosmos 22 on April 2015, the main speaker Igor Komarov said that, at the request of the Ministry of Defense, the level of modernization of the Angara rises from thirty-five to thirty-eight tons by NOU.
From this point on, according to experts, it became obvious that the Angara-5В program is like an adventure, and the promises made by its developers are technically unfeasible and they are issued in the hope that they will not have to answer for it.
As arguments we will give the calculations of the same participants of the competition, carried out at different times. The limiting factor is the low thrust of the “Angara-5” first stage, which is 980 tf. With such a launch, the mass of the rocket at the start should not exceed 830 tons, which corresponds to the overload at the start n = 1,18. If the rocket proves to be heavier, it will slowly move away from the launch pad, burning excess fuel and damaging the launch position. If it is also possible to dispute some kind of additive to 830 tons, then no more than 10 – 15 tons, and there is already a limit of limits, the rocket simply does not take off.
So what do the calculations show?
Somewhat earlier, introducing the line of Angara family of rockets, the GKNPTs them. Khrunichev launched the Angar-7.2 with a starting weight of 1154 tons as a thirty-five. At the same time, its thrust at the start was 1372 tf, which corresponds to the value of the mass efficiency coefficient 0,031.
"Angara" need weight additive (1154 - 830) = 324 tons.
It should be noted that it was not the “Angara”, but the LV from the rocket-space corporation “Energia”, that was created for the first time in domestic practice according to a modular principle. A series of rockets with a variable number of RD-170 side accelerators was proposed as a series of 2, 4, 6, 8. The main "Energy" had four side RD-170. And the “youngest” in the “Energy-M” family was obtained due to the simplest transformation of the standard “Energy” - by removing two lateral RD-170 and reducing the number of second-stage engines from four to one. Energia-M was ready to begin flight tests in the 1994 year, worked on non-toxic components and had those dimensions that we dream of now: the load capacity on the NOU is thirty tons, the mass of the rocket at the start is fifteen thousand tons. "Angara" and in comparison with this PH need weight additive (1050 - 830) = 220 tons. At the same time, at the second stage of Energia-M there was a highly efficient oxygen-hydrogen engine from the Voronezh design bureau of chemical automation RD-0120 (it is planned to recreate it for Angara-5В). However, in the year 1993, at the already mentioned competition, the hangars project “Angara” won and the practically finished “Energy-M” was put under the knife, and with it the accumulated technology of oxygen-hydrogen fuel rocket engines.
The Special Design Bureau of the Makeyev State Research Center did not carry out special calculations on this topic, but working on “Rossiyanka”, it came to the conclusion that for a thirty-five-ton monitor of the “Angara” dimension it is necessary to change it. The calculations show that we are talking about increasing the launch mass of the rocket to one thousand and fifty tons in the presence of an oxygen-hydrogen second stage and up to one thousand one hundred fifty-four tons when using only oxygen-kerosene LRE.
If we recalculate the figures from thirty-five tons to a thirty-cmiton rocket, then these figures must be raised by another ninety-six, bringing them to the mass values at the start of one thousand one hundred and forty-six and one thousand two hundred and fifty tons, respectively.
Obviously, the existing first stage of the "Angara" with a 980 mc tactile can not tear such a rocket from the launch pad.
So, speaking of the thirty-sammiton Angara-5В, we should keep in mind the creation of a completely new rocket, starting with an increase in the thrust of the first stage to the level of 1500 ts at least. This is a new and more complex development than Angara-5. But the main thing is that the country does not need a thirty-eighthsmith, as the balance of forces does not change. These facts, as well as other calculations of RSC Energia and the GKNPTs them. Khrunichev says that “Angara” is a dead end, and the proposals on “Angara-5В” in FKP-2025 do not have any technical grounds.
After the speeches of the Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Council of Roskosmos, Doctor of Technical Sciences Yuri Koptev and Doctor of Technical Sciences Yuri Kuznetsov (“MIC”, No. 32), all points above i around the Angara launch vehicle project seemed to be set. But the expert community of Russia still have questions. Which way to go further must answer the government and the political leadership of the Russian Federation.
During Soviet times, the constant rivalry between the socialist and capitalist structures for many years served as a powerful stimulus for the development of science and technology. In particular, in the space industry, this led to the development of two of the most powerful space launch vehicles in the history of mankind. Their appearance has become a landmark event in the development of world cosmonautics.
Two worlds, two ways to space
Having reached the level of 100 tonnes carrying capacity for low near-earth orbit (NOO), the USSR and the USA once again confirmed their leadership in the world, to which they came almost in the same way - by creating superheavy rockets with liquid rocket engines (LRE) at all levels.
However, after reaching this milestone, the further paths of development of cosmonautics in the USSR and the USA diverged dramatically.
The United States of America, as they have paid serious attention to increasing the carrying capacity of super-heavy LVs, continues to this day.
In the process of implementing the lunar program on the example of the Saturn launch vehicle (PH), American engineers realized that the results achieved were close to the limit. A further increase in the power of first-stage LREs led to an inordinate complication of technical problems and an increase in the cost of their solution exponentially. So at one time aircraft designers rested on the sound barrier, but found a workaround. Having created an air-jet engine and a thin swept wing, they escaped into the space of supersonic speeds.
In our case, American engineers also found a way out. It consisted in the development of powerful solid-propellant rocket engines (solid propellant rocket motors) with a 800 – 1600 ton-force, which, due to transportation conditions, were assembled from separate sections. Such solid-propellant rocket motors, being integrated into the first stage of the LV as accelerators, sharply raised the thrust-to-weight ratio at the start and opened the way to an increase in the payload capacity of the LV, reducing the cost of the payload delivery system (PF) to orbits. Solid fuel boosters (TTU) were introduced in stages in the Titan-4 and Space Shuttle missile systems, where at the start of the TTU they are switched on simultaneously with the first stage LRE (combined scheme), and in the newest SLS and Ares the Americans went even further: here is the first level is purely solid.
Thus, foreign practice has shown that the use of TTU is a method that allows abruptly increase the payload capacity of the launch vehicle and reduce the cost of delivering a launcher to orbits.
And since the "Saturn", the Americans have embarked on an increase in load capacity.
The further way from our side was chosen not by the USSR, but by the Russian Federation proclaimed 26 of December 1991. Space management was removed from the patronage of the Ministry of General Mechanical Engineering (IOM). In 1992, the Russian Space Agency (RSA) was created, its head was appointed Yuri Koptev.
In the years when the foundations of the state collapsed, many lost their sense of responsibility towards the country, and when changing moral and technical guidelines, there were also those who, in their decisions, were guided by the rule “everything that is not forbidden is allowed”. On this wave, the program “Energy” - “Buran” that started so successfully was closed. In 1993, it was announced the creation of a domestic heavy-class PH. According to the competition for this role, Angara was appointed with a starting weight of 640 tons and a lifting capacity of NOU 24,5 tons. It is unlikely that anyone will be able to explain this step today, but right now his absurdity has manifested itself. It was from this turning point that the national cosmonautics left the global path of development of launch vehicles. Over the past 22 of the year, we have achieved the appearance of the "Angara-5", which we need to finish 10 for years, and still it will be weaker than the foreign counterpart four to five times.
The USA from “Saturn” grew SLS and Ares, and in Russia from “Energy” - unfinished “Angara”.
Serious experts are wondering if we should spend time understanding the obvious: we get lost and go wrong? It remains to hope that the point of no return has not yet been reached, and the country's leadership, having objectively weighed all the pros and cons, will give the order to press the brakes.
Ten calm years we will not. Space expansion will begin earlier than the FKP-2025 is completed.
Terms of Reference from the President
During his public speeches, Vladimir Putin is often concerned with the creation of new types of military equipment. Having identified and summarized these fragments, one can clearly understand how the next stage in the development of our space is seen by the President of the Russian Federation.
Thesis first. When investing resources to use the old development, repeating the path already passed, is inefficient. Need a new idea.
In our case, such is the combined first-stage scheme (LRE + RDTT) of the super heavy CRH.
Thesis of the second. At the birth of a new model of military equipment, it is necessary to provide a way to counter possible non-nuclear threats. This is one of the main requirements of the new Military Doctrine approved in December 2014.
For us, such a non-nuclear threat is the possibility of expelling our spacecraft (SC) from orbits through the use of American super-heavy SLS and Ares PH.
The third thesis. In special cases, when the achievement of a large state political goal is required and this is in conflict with the economy, a political task is preferred.
In this sense, the achievement of parity of forces in the field of space launch vehicles of Russia and the United States is a matter of national importance.
Thesis the fourth. Looking for a super heavy RN and a cosmodrome for it.
This is no longer a general thesis, but a mature solution to a specific technical and political problem at the national level.
The persistent pushing through of the "Angara" in the FKP does not meet the requirements of any of the listed postulates and moreover, directly contradicts them. We trace the points.
The first. All the goals discussed at the Scientific and Technical Council of Roskosmos are based on a long time ago, in the last century, solved problems. The most modern and promising option with a combined first stage was not considered at all. Moreover, in 1994, Russia had a ready-made Energia-M missile with “clean” components and a payload of 35 tons.
The second. The danger of losing information space will arise in 2018 – 2020 with the launch of the SLS PH. But Roscosmos persistently and without argument argues that SLS will not be used for military purposes. This is an extremely dangerous and strange delusion.
Third. The reference to the lack of funding for the development of a serious rocket hides behind itself the stubborn desire of Roskosmos to prevent the appearance of the Russian super-heavy rocket, since its hands are tied to the task of attaching Angar. This is confirmed by the fact that in the proposals in the FKP no backlog under super heavy is not visible.
Fourth. In April, 2015, a discussion of the revised FKP-2025 project was held. Keynote speaker Igor Komarov said that, at the request of the Ministry of Finance, the volume of the PCF was cut by 844,9 billion rubles. Without waiting for the approval of the results of the competition, Roscosmos redistributed resources to the means of launching, above all, the super heavy class. As a result, the FKP-2025 project provides for the rejection of the immediate creation of an extra-heavy carrier, while retaining plans for an in-depth exploration of the Moon from orbit, as well as for landing automatic spacecraft on its surface.
So, the project "Angara-5В" does not meet the state interests of Russia and theses of the president.
We emphasize: we do not state this in a completely categorical form. But we call once again to weigh everything soberly, using the window of opportunity, which is still open.
In the discussion on the topic of "Angara" on the pages of our newspaper ("MIC", №№ 10, 14, 17, 19, 27, 32, 37) given enough facts to ensure that the situation could not only understand a narrow specialist, but also an ordinary reader interested in technology.
Critics of "Angara" believe that during the competition and the preparation of the draft program of the FKP-2025 program, not all the potential possibilities of domestic science and industry are taken into account.
The question of creating a super-heavy LV was not considered, in any case, no material on this was published. Global trends in the development of launch vehicles are ignored.
It is also easy to neglect the complicated military and political situation in the world. Therefore, before opening the purse of the FKP-2025, it is necessary to eliminate this gap by announcing an express competition for the creation of a Russian super-heavy rocket based on new principles, that is, with a combined first stage. Studies on this topic are available in several design bureaus, but they contradict the general line of Roskosmos. Accordingly, the initiative from the general designers can not wait. In the conditions of the unfolded total reform of Roskosmos it is fraught to contradict the authorities.
To resolve the stalemate, the competition must be conducted by order. The order should come from a high corporate authority. A similar precedent for a sharp turn of events in the history of Russian rocket science has already been. Then the tough administrative-party vertical of power obliged the outstanding designer Academician Viktor Makeev to develop the first solid-fuel missile system for underwater fleet. A fan of the liquid propellant rocket engine, having already achieved outstanding results in this area, managed to rebuild, led a new cooperation of enterprises and created one of the world's best solid-fuel rockets (ZM65) with an underwater launch. A similar turn of events towards the requirements of the XNUMXst century can take place now, if a firm political will manifests itself. Only after the completion of this express competition for superheavy launch vehicles and the evaluation of its results by an independent state commission, it will be possible to consider that all possible ways of developing domestic launch vehicles have been considered and the best option has been found. This choice has long and far gone beyond the competence of one particular corporation. Weaknesses of the Angara project have been identified, concrete proposals for further actions have been formulated. There is nothing more to wait.