Roscosmos Moves Toward Reusable Boosters, Aims for the Moon

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Dmitry Rogozin and his team over at Roscosmos. This has been partly due to all the awesome things that are happening elsewhere that keep me busy. And partly due to the fact that Russia’s plans seem to be continuing evolving due to budget cuts to the point to where I’m never quite sure what exactly to take seriously.

The question usually is: yeah, that sounds great, but is there any money for this? I’m lacking in good sources there. And Russian media usually don’t provide enough insights into the program to allow for informed judgments.

With that caveat in mind. TASS has provided another one of its periodic bursts of updates about what Rogozin and company have been up to lately. They are making progress on reusable launch vehicles, a super-heavy booster, a spacecraft that will replace Soyuz, and plans sending cosmonauts and robots to the moon.

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Russia Working on Reusable Rocket to Compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Vladimir Koshlakov, head of the Keldysh Research Center, recently revealed details about a project by Energomash and S7 Space to develop a reusable launch vehicle, TASS reports.

“Recently, we had a conference on present-day problems of rocket engine-building. [S7 Space head Sergei] Sopov delivered a speech. He said: we need engines that can be switched on about 100 times,” Koshlakov said, adding that the question of how many launches will be optimal remains open.

According to the official, the rocket’s “cooldown” period should not exceed 48 hours.

“In other words, a rocket blasts off, then returns and is ready for the next launch with the same engine within 48 hours,” he said. “Here are the requirements set by the market.”

S7 Space, which purchases the assets of bankrupt Sea Launch, is developing a reusable rocket based on the design of the Soyuz-5 booster that NPO Energia is developing to launch the Russia’s new crewed Federatsiya spacecraft.