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Russia developing super-heavy rocket — deputy PM

December 30, 2015, 11:10 UTC+3
The work on the new space program has been started, Dmitry Rogozin says
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© Pyotr Gridin /TASS

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. Russia has begun the work on the creation of a super-heavy space rocket, its first step will be the Fenix rocket, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

"In fact, the work on the new space program has been started, I tell you this as some serious news on the super-heavy rocket," the deputy prime minister said.

The official said that if the Angara rocket is like a jeep capable of taking to orbit 7 tons of payload in the light variant and up to 37 tons — in the heavy variant, then for major expeditions it is necessary to have a "dump truck." "The super-heavy rocket will be such "dump truck", but we are getting down to its creation like the Soviet Union had embarked on such project — first it created the Zenit rocket that was the first stage of the super-heavy rocket Energia, and only after that additional modules were created for such unique rocket," he said. "We are now creating it on a totally new technology basis, and the creation of the Fenix rocket, which will become the first stage of the super-heavy rocket, is envisaged in the new federal space program.

Rogozin added that the payload capacity of this rocket will exceed 100 tons, and maybe even 150 tons.

On Tuesday, a source in the space rocket industry said that plans for creating a new generation space rocket Fenix remained on the agenda of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and had been included in the draft of the federal space programme for 2016-2025 despite certain cuts in budget financing. "Research and development under the Fenix project has been preserved in the draft of the federal space programme, which is undergoing inter-departmental coordination. True, the possibility of removing Fenix from the programme was discussed at a certain point, but for now this promising project has remained relevant," the source said.

Fenix is part and parcel of a product research and development portfolio, its eventual aim being creation of a new space rocket for manned programmes. The Zenit-size rocket may be built according to a modular principle and consist of several modules. A super-heavy configuration is a possibility.

The RD-171 engine from NPO Energomash, already used in the Zenit rocket, is regarded as a potential first stage.

The previous federal space program draft extending till 2025 envisages feasibility studies for developing a medium class space rocket during 2016-2017. Research and development was due to begin as of 2018. Under the project Roscosmos in 2018 through 2025 was to spend more than 30 billion roubles ($430 million) for the purpose. According to earlier reports, the budget financing of the federal space programme would be slashed from 2.004 trillion to 1.4 trillion.

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