Russia Eyes Launch of Progress Cargo Ship Replacement After 2020

Increased Capacity Cargo Transportation Spacecraft (Credit: RSC Energia)
Increased Capacity Cargo Transportation Spacecraft (Credit: RSC Energia)

MOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — The first launch of the Increased Capacity Cargo Transportation Spacecraft (ICCTS) for logistic support of the International Space Station (ISS) is possible after 2020.

Preliminary design work on the ICCTS is to be completed in December 2016, there are no plans to develop a cargo-return version of the spacecraft.

Launches of ICCTS will be carried out from Baikonur launch site using infrastructure originally developed for Soyuz MS and Progress MS spacecraft. Upon completion of flight tests the new spacecraft will completely replace the currently used logistics spacecraft Progress MS.

”With the new spacecraft developed, we will be able to send up more cargo per one launch. This will significantly improve the cost effectiveness of launches of logistic spacecraft to both the ISS and to the station, which is going to replace it. For us this is very important», – pointed out Director General of RSC Energia Vladimir Solntsev.

It is expected that the use of ICCTS will make it possible to reduce the cost of delivery of 1 kg of cargo by 15% as compared with Progress MS. The new spacecraft will be capable to deliver to the station 3400 kg (propellant, compressed gases, water and dry cargo) in one mission, while Progress spacecraft are capable of carrying onboard no more than 2600 kg of cargo. The layout of the new logistics spacecraft will allow to stow the delivered cargo in a larger cargo compartment with a central aisle and standard racks, which will significantly simplify the spacecraft loading and unloading operations, as well as to use it as a ‘warehouse’ when attached to the ISS.

Increased supply of deliverable propellant and the main engine with a higher thrust will allow an effective use of the spacecraft in the ISS orbital reboost maneuvers and support the space station de-orbiting after the end of its life is reached.

The question of developing a logistics spacecraft with a higher cargo capacity rose to the fore after the upgraded launch vehicle Soyuz-2.1b appeared on the launch services market offering better performance and a larger payload fairing. The significant shortening of the planned timeframe for the development of the new spacecraft bacame possible through the use of onboard systems and design solutions used in Progress MS logistics spacecraft and the module/spacecraft Progress M-UM. The preliminary design is funded out of public funds.

RSC Energia is the leader in the rocket and space industry, and the prime contractor for manned space systems. The Corporation conducts work on the development of unmanned space and rocket systems (launch vehicles and orbital transfer vehicles), and high-technology systems for various non-space applications. Since August 2014, the Corporation is headed by Vladimir Solntsev.

ROSCOSMOS is a State Corporation established in August of 2015 in order to conduct a comprehensive reform of the rocket and space industry in Russia. State Corporation Roskosmos supports implementation of Government policies in the field of space activities and provides for them a legal and regulatory framework, as well as places orders for the development, production and delivery of space hardware and space infrastructure facilities. The functions of the State Corporation also include development of international cooperation in space, and creating conditions for using results of space activities in social and economic development of Russia.