Russian media are reporting that the first flight test of the new Angara 5 booster was successful on Wednesday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
The rocket consisted of five Universal Rocket Modules (URM) powered by RD-191 engines clustered as the first stage. Upper stages used on other boosters were to put a dummy payload into geostationary orbit. It’s not clear whether that effort was successful.
Angara, which is produced by Khrunichev, is designed to replace a number of Soviet-era launch vehicles, including the Proton and Zenit systems. The booster will initially launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, with eventual plans to operate from the new Vostochny facility under construction in the Russian Far East.
A smaller version of the rocket, the Angara A1.2, conducted a suborbital flight test in July. That rocket consisted of a single URM as the first stage.
Angara is a modular family of launch vehicles capable of lifting from 3.8 to 35 metric tons to low Earth orbit (LEO). The vehicle number corresponds with the number of URMs used in the first stage.
|ANGARA A1.2||ANGARA A3||ANGARA A5||ANGARA A7|
|Liftoff Mass (Tons)||171||481||773||1,133|
|Payload to LEO (Tons)||3.8||14.6||24.5||35|
|Payload to GTO (Tons)||—||3.6 (KVTK), 2.4 (Breeze-M)||7.5 (KVTK), 5.4 (Breeze-M)||12.5 (KVTK-A7)|
|Payload to GSO (Tons)||—||2.0 (KVTK), 1.0 (Breeze-M)||4.6 (KVTK), 3.0 (Breeze-M)||7.6 (KVTK-A7)|
The Angara A1.2 uses the Breeze-KM as its upper stage. Payload capability for the Angara A3 and Angara A5 rockets depend upon whether the Breeze-M or KVTK upper stage is used.
Khrunichev successfully tested Angara’s first stage three times with a less powerful engine as part of the KSLV-1 launch vehicle it developed for South Korea. Those flights occurred in 2009, 2010 and 2013.