Angara (rocket family)

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Angara mock-ups at the MAKS 2009 airshow near Moscow

The Angara rocket family is a family of space-launch vehicles being developed by the Moscow-based Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. The rockets, which are to provide lifting capabilities between 2,000 and 40,500 kg into low earth orbit, are intended to become the mainstay of the Russian unmanned launcher fleet in the future and replace several existing systems.


The main purpose of the Angara rocket family is to secure Russia's independent access to space. Angara will reduce Russia's dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in the independent republic of Kazakhstan, and will allow Russia to phase out foreign — mostly Ukrainian — rocket technology.[1] Environmental issues have also played an important part in the development.[1] Angara will use environmentally friendly fuel based on kerosene and liquid oxygen as the oxidant, which will make it a much safer rocket to use.[2]

Rockets belonging to the family are intended to replace several existing launch vehicles. The light Angara 1.1 and 1.2 versions will replace the Kosmos-3M, Tsyklon and Rockot launchers;[1] Angara 3 will replace the Ukrainian Zenit, and Angara 5 will replace the heavy-lift Proton.[3] The Angara 5 version is expected to be most in demand, since this is the main version required by the Russian Ministry of Defence.[1]

Khrunichev has also been developing a super-heavy-lift version (Angara 7), which is capable of orbiting payload of between 45 and 75 tons, and for which there is no equivalent in Russia's current rocket fleet. However, currently the development of Angara 7 is not receiving government funding. In addition, Khrunichev has offered to build a version capable of launching manned spacecraft: Angara 5P.[1]


The Angara family of launch vehicles.

All Angara launch vehicles have a modular design with each module based on a common Universal Rocket Module (URM). Depending on configuration, liquid rocket boosters are added to the first stage, which then will consist of 1, 3, 5 or 7 such modules.[4] The design is similar to the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle or the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. The Angara rocket will use the same URMs for all modules (similar to the Falcon Heavy), and not solid rocket boosters (SRB) like the EELV.

The URM is a unitary structure that includes an oxidizer tank, a fuel tank (both tanks being coupled by a spacer) and a propulsion bay. Each URM will have one single-chamber RD-191 engine, using liquid oxygen and RP-1 as fuel. The RD-191 design is based on the RD-170 four-chamber engine used by the Energia launcher, as well as on the RD-171, which is currently used by the Zenit rocket.[3][5]

The second stage will be either a Briz-KM (Angara 1.1) or Block I (also called URM-2), which is powered by the RD-0124A engine developed by the KB Khimavtomatika.[6] Angara 5 will use either the Briz-M upper stage (currently used for the Proton-M rocket), or KVRB.[5] Most versions are intended for unmanned launches, but Angara A5P and Angara A7P are being designed to be capable of launching manned spacecraft.

A single launch pad can be used for launching all Angara versions except Angara A7.[5]

Launch facilities[edit]

The rockets will be launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, and the Vostochny Cosmodrome (under construction), both in Russia. Russia hopes to reduce its dependence on Kazakhstan for the use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the location from which many of the current generation of Russian rockets are launched.[5] Under the Baiterek program with Kazakhstan, commercial launches of Angara A5 may also take place from Baikonur Cosmodrome.[1] In 2009, it was reported that a shortage of funds for construction of the Plesetsk launch pad was the main obstacle in Angara's development.[7]

Production and marketing[edit]

The serial production of the Universal Rocket Modules and the Briz-M upper stages will take place at the Khrunichev subsidiary Production Corporation Polyot in Omsk. In 2009, Polyot invested over 771.4 million RUB (about $25 million) in Angara production lines.[1] Design and testing of the RD-191 engine is done by NPO Energomash, while its mass production will take place at the company Proton-PM in Perm.[1]

All Angara versions will be marketed for commercial launches, with the price for an Angara 1.1 launch estimated to be about $20 million.[3]

The Angara 1.1 version was expected to be completed first; its first launch was scheduled to take place in 2013[8] from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.[9] This version of the rocket was cancelled.[10]

The Angara 1.2 prototype is scheduled to launch in 2014.

Derivative projects[edit]

The South Korean launch vehicle Naro-1 uses Angara's URM (fitted with a lower-thrust version of the RD-191 engine called RD-151) as its first stage.

The vehicle made its maiden flight on 25 August 2009. The flight was not successful since the payload fairing on the Korean-built second stage failed to separate; however, according to Khrunichev, the first stage performed flawlessly.

A second launch on 10 June 2010 ended in failure, when contact with the rocket was lost. The Joint Failure Review Board failed to come to a consensus on the cause of the failure. A new team consisting of 30 neutral experts is being formed to investigate the cause of the failure.[11]

The third flight on 30 January 2013 successfully reached orbit.

Together with NPO Molniya, Khrunichev is also developing the reusable Baikal launch vehicle, based on Angara's URM. The vehicle consists of one URM fitted with a wing, an empennage, a landing gear, a return flight engine and attitude control thrusters, to enable the rocket to return to an airfield after completing its mission.[12]


Version Angara 1.1 Angara 1.2 Angara A3 Angara A5P Angara A5 Angara A5/KVRB Angara A7P Angara A7V
First stage 1xURM, RD-191 1xURM, RD-191 3xURM, RD-191 5xURM, RD-191 5xURM, RD-191 5xURM, RD-191 7xURM, RD-191 7xURM, RD-191
Second stage Briz-KM Block I, RD-0124A Block I, RD-0124A Block I, RD-0124A Block I, RD-0124A
Third stage (not used for LEO) Briz-M/KVSK[13] Briz-M/KVTK[13] KVRB KVTK-A7[13] KVTK-A7[13]
Thrust (at ground) 196 Mgf (1.92 MN) 196 Mgf (1.92 MN) 588 Mgf (5.77 MN) 980 Mgf (9.61 MN) 980 Mgf (9.61 MN) 980 Mgf (9.61 MN) 1,372 Mgf (13.44 MN) 1,372 Mgf (13.44 MN)
Launch weight 149 t 171.5 t 478 t 713 t 759 t 776 t 1,125 t 1,184 t
Height (maximal) 34.9 m 41.5 m 45.8 m  ? 55.4 m 64 m  ?  ?
Payload (LEO 200 km) 2.0 t 3.7 t 14.6 t 18.0 t 24.5 t 28.5 t 36.0 t 40.5 t
Payload (GTO) 2.4/3.7 t 5.4/7.3 t  ?  ?
Payload (GEO) 1.0/2.0 t 2.9/4.5 t 5.7 t 7.5 t 9 t

Development history[edit]

On August 26, 1995 the government of Russia adopted a resolution to develop the Angara launcher system.[14]

On December 12, 2007 Krunichev announced that at NPO Energomash, engineers had successfully tested flight hydraulics and steering actuators for the first stage under near-flight conditions.[14]

In cooperation with Salyut Design Bureau, Khrunichev designed a reusable flyback Baikal booster rocket, to serve as a first stage in the Angara family.[15]

On April 14, 2008, Rian news agency reported that the Flight tests of a new-generation Russian space launch vehicle will start in 2010, the director of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Center said on Monday.

On September 5, 2008, the creator of the RD-191 engine, NPO Energomash, reported that the engine has completed full cycle of development and burn tests and is ready for manufacturing and delivery.[16]

On January 10, 2009, the first completed URM was delivered to the proving grounds. Cold and burn tests were planned to be performed in the first half of 2009.[17]

On April 29, 2009 the first series of cold tests has been performed. The URM was filled with nearly 100 tonnes of liquefied oxygen to check functioning of hydraulic and pneumatic pumping systems.

On June 18, 2009, both fuel components were used for tests.

On July 30, 2009, the burn tests of the first URM equipped with RD-151 engine were performed.[18]

On August 25, 2009 South Korea launched its Naro-1 rocket, with URM/RD-151 making up the first stage.[19] With height of 30 m and weight of 140 tonnes Naro-1 is similar to Angara 1.1 configuration. The launch marked the first flight test of the URM, which successfully propelled the rocket to altitude of 196 km, where the first stage separated. However, the fairing on the Korean-built second stage failed to separate, and the satellite did not reach the correct orbit.[20][21]

On December 5, 2009 Roscosmos announced the completion of engine trials, but that the first test flight of the Angara would be postponed from 2011 to 2012 due to lack of funding.[22] The Khrunichev center has asked the government to allocate an additional 10 billion rubles (about $290 million) over the next three years to finish the development of the rocket.

On January 13, 2010 Vladimir Nesterov, Director-General of Khrunichev, announced that his company had received the required funding, and the first flight test of Angara is now scheduled for 2013. All program tasks in 2010 were completed successfully.[8]

On May 25, 2011 interdepartmental committee (IDC), formed by a joint decision of the Space Forces of the Ministry of Defence and the Federal Space Agency, signed the Act IAC, which stated that the RD-191 engine has successfully completed ground tests stage and is suitable for use in a family of launch vehicles "Angara"[23]

On April 20, 2012 ship Repair Center "Zvezdochka" successfully completed factory testing of the first - class light unit weight 197 tonnes, of the two transport-erector for launching sites "Angara". Equipment is designed for the transportation and installation of missiles light and heavy at the start.[24]

On October 25, 2012, completed transcripts tested structural elements of the launch vehicle "Angara". According to the FSUE Khrunichev. 23 October 2012, the PCF "SIC RCP" (p. Remmash) successfully completed tests on transcripts strength structural elements promising launch vehicle (LV) "Angara" (product A5A2S - build number A13) manufacturing FSUE " name Khrunichev. " Purpose of the test build number A13 was to confirm the strength of the accelerator sections III stage of the launch, as well as the design of individual units "Angara" 3A and 5A.

In May 2013 the first prototype Angara rocket arrived in Plesetsk – at that time the date for the first launch had slipped to May 2014. The rocket – a version of the Angara-1.2 configuration – was custom-built for the first launch. In November 2013 the rocket was rolled out and installed on the launch pad for the first time. It was a fully operational rocket but intended for ground testing only, not for launching.[25]

On February 2014 a spokesman of the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces announced that mockup of Russia’s new Angara carrier rocket was taken out of the assembly shop at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome and installed in the launch pad area.[26]

See also[edit]

Comparable rockets[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Vorontsov, Dmitri; Igor Afanasyev (2009-11-10). "Angara getting ready for launch". Russia CIS Observer 3 (26). Archived from the original on 1 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  2. ^ "The new rocket to replace "Proton"". Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Harvey, Brian (2007). "Launchers and engines". The Rebirth of the Russian Space Program (1st ed.). Germany: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-71354-0. 
  4. ^ The Angara-7 rocket (
  5. ^ a b c d "Angara Launch Vehicles Family". Khrunichev. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  6. ^ "Russia's Angara rocket family needs cash injection". Flight International. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  7. ^ Clark, Stephen (2009-12-04). "Russia Delays Angara Rocket Debut as Testing Progresses". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  8. ^ a b "Interview with Vladimir Nesterov, Director-General, Khrunichev Space Center". Khrunichev. RU: Marker. 2011-01-13. 
  9. ^ The first Angara launch from Baikonur is delayed (in Russian)
  10. ^ Coppinger, Rob (2012-07-19). "Russia Converts Unmanned Rocket to Carry New Crewed Spaceship". Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  11. ^ Probe into failed launch, KBS World
  12. ^ "Baikal Reusable Launch Vehicle". Khrunichev. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  13. ^ a b c d "KVTK" (in Russian). RU: Khrunichev. 
  14. ^ a b "Successful Tests of Angara Stage 1 Engine". RU: Khrunichev. 2007-12-12. 
  15. ^ Baikal booster stage, Russian Space Web .
  16. ^ "A new engine is ready for Angara" (in Russian). RU. 2008-09-05. 
  17. ^ "URM-1 is being prepared for the burn tests (in Russian)". 2009-01-29. 
  18. ^ "Fire test of RD-191 engine in stage composition". 2009-08-03. 
  19. ^ "First launch of KSLV-1 is conducted". 2009-08-25. 
  20. ^ "Satellite fails to enter orbit". Korea Times. KR. 2009-08-25. 
  21. ^ "South Korea launch of KSLV-1 – Russians claim it failed". Nasa Space Flight. 2009-08-25. 
  22. ^ Tests of Angara rocket postponed to 2012 over lack of funds, Space Travel .
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Preparations of the first Angara launch (
  26. ^ "Angara mockup installed on Plesetsk Cosmodrome’s launch pad". ITAR-TASS. 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 

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