Koreans, French Funded New Russian Angara Booster

Russia's new Angara rocket

There’s an interesting sidelight to Wednesday’s upcoming launch of South Korea’s first rocket, KSLV-1 (Nano-1), that gives some valuable insights into how Russia conducts its space business.

The Russian-made lower-stage is actually the first stage of that nation’s new Angara family of rockets. The Korean government paid for the development, although the Russians are not sharing any of the technical details with them. (The Koreans have built the KSLV’s second stage using their own technologies.)

Another interesting fact about Angara:  it will use the Block I upper stage that was developed for the new Soyuz 2.1-b rocket. The French helped pay for the development of this commercial rocket, which is being launched out of both Baikonur and French Guiana.

A pretty clever way of building a new rocket with other people’s money. Wikipedia has a nice summary of Angara:

The Angara rocket family is intended to become the mainstay of the Russian rocket fleet in the future. Angara rockets are intended to replace several existing launch vehicles. The Angara 1.1 will replace Cosmos-3M, while Angara 3 will replace the Zenit (thus ending the need to purchase Zenits from Ukraine), and Angara 5 will replace the heavy-lift Proton. Khrunichev has also stated that the center could, if necessary, develop a new super-heavy-lift Angara rocket capable of putting into orbit payloads of between 45 and 175 tons.