MOSCOW: Russian engineers have presented a prototype of Russia’s most powerful Angara A5V heavy-lift rocket that may perform its first manned flight to the Moon by 2030, according to a Russia channel.
“At the end of February we drew up a preliminary design of a heavy-lift rocket Angara A5V. It is now being reviewed by all relevant research institutes,” the channel quoted Igor Komarov who heads Roscosmos as saying.
The A5V spacecraft would add to Russia’s brand-new Angara rocket family which is based on unified Universal Rocket Modules (URM).
Angara has been in development since 1994 and became the first spacecraft family produced entirely after the Soviet era. Unlike its siblings Angara A5 rockets Angara A5V is slated to be more efficient and capable of transporting a payload of up 38 tons.
While looking quite similar, both featuring one core and four booster URMs as the first stage, due to some upgrades A5V can lift over 10 tons more than Angara A5.
The main difference between Angara A5V and Angara A5 is an oxygen-hydrogen booster, which will replace oxygen-kerosene propelled upper stages, and the upgraded engine thrust of the first stage boosters.
However, Roscosmos is still looking at years of tough work and development to make its plans a reality. “We have to complete preparations for lunar missions and for A5V by 2025,” Komarov said.
If in the future tests are successful, the Angara A5V may perform the first manned flight to the Moon sometime in 2030. The next stage would be manned lunar landing missions, which could come to fruition by 2035.
One such mission would most likely require from four to six launches of the Angara-A5V spacecraft.
In between now and then, there is also the heavy lift Angara A5, which is scheduled to deliver first useful load to orbit next year and perform the first take-off from a specially designed launch pad at Russia’s brand new Vostochny Cosmodrome by the end of 2021.
In 2014, Russia’s space agency had already test-launched Angara A5, which delivered a dummy payload right into geostationary orbit.