Breaking Barriers: Angara-A5V to Revolutionize Space Exploration

Russia's Angara Rockets: Soaring Toward the Stars in 2028 and Beyond.

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Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna is a Defence & Aerospace analyst and is the Director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany with manufacturing units in Russia. He is Consulting Editor Industry and Defense at Frontier India.

The first “Angara-A5V” rocket is set to launch no earlier than 2028, following the completion of flight tests for the new Space Rocket Stage, which the Russians call KVT. Reportedly, the engine at the drawing stage was designated RD-0150. Flight tests for the “Angara-A5V” rocket at the Vostochny Cosmodrome were initially scheduled for 2027. 

Authorities in Russia say that the design of the “Angara-A5V” carrier rocket is finished. Parts of the top stage are being made to be tested independently. These parts will be tested on the ground and air to meet technical requirements. Bench-testing products, such as KVTK (Oxygen–hydrogen heavy class) systems and single units, will be made to test the top stage even more before it is put into flight.

The upper stage of the heavy-class oxygen-hydrogen Engine will be used in heavy-class Angara-A5, Angara-A5M, and Angara-A5V Rockets.

The “Angara” series includes environmentally friendly carrier rockets of various classes, including:

Light carrier

Angara-1.2 – 3.5 tons Payload in Low Earth Orbit. It was cancelled as it fell into the same payload class as the Soyuz 2.1v.

Medium carrier

Angara-A3 – alternatively known as A3M, 3P or 3.2 – can deliver 4 to 15 tons of payload into low Earth orbit. Development of this rocket was stopped recently.

Heavy carriers

Angara-A5 – capable of delivering 24.5 tons of payload into low Earth orbit.

Angara-A5M – capable of delivering 27.5 tons of payload into low Earth orbit.

Angara-A5P  – The Moscow-based GKNPTs Khrunichev, which was in charge of creating the Angara family, showed off a smaller version of a three-stage booster called Angara-5P in 2008. The designation “P” meant that piloted or manned functions were added. Surprisingly, the organisation said the rocket would be based at the launch site in Plesetsk, which is close to the polar circle. It is important to note that this facility was not used for manned trips. 

Recent information indicates that 5P will be a two-stage rocket. It was determined that reducing the operational pressure and power of the rocket’s RD-191 engines to a more explosion-resistant level would improve crew safety. It can place a crewed spacecraft weighing 18 metric tonnes into a low Earth orbit with room for four to six people. It is anticipated that Russian deep-space exploration missions may not take place until the 2030s. The Angara-5P rocket can potentially become Russia’s primary human spaceflight launch vehicle.

Expanded payload capacity 

Angara-A5V – capable of delivering 37.5 tons of payload into low Earth.

Angara-A5MV – With reusable stage.

Future Projects

Angara-A7 – There are proposals for a heavier Angara A7, weighing 1133 tonnes and capable of transporting 35 tonnes over 200 kilometres. There are no current plans to develop this vehicle, as it would require a larger URM-1 core to carry more propellant and would have to wait to develop the hydrogen-powered motor for the KVTK. In addition, the Angara A7 would need a separate launch pad.

Angara-100 – Khrunichev proposed the Angara-100 in 2005 as a heavy-lift launch vehicle for NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration. The rocket would have four boosters powered by RD-170 engines, a core stage powered by RD-180 engines, and a cryogenic upper stage propelled by a modified Energia RD-0120 engine, the RD-0122. Its LEO payload capacity would be greater than 100 tonnes.

Baikal: Khrunichev and NPO Molniya have proposed a reusable URM-1 booster called Baikal. The URM-1 would be equipped with a wing, empennage, landing gear, a return flight engine, and attitude control actuators so that the rocket booster could return to an airfield after its mission.

The Angara’s modular design allows for flexibility in constructing rockets, similar to building with Lego bricks. The operation of universal rocket modules is ensured by engines using environmentally friendly fuel components – kerosene and liquid oxygen (oxidiser). 

Various versions of the Angara launch vehicles are implemented using different numbers of universal rocket modules – URM-1 (for the first and second stages) and URM-2 (for the upper stages). The number of universal modules in the first stage determines the payload capacity of the launch vehicle. 

URM-1 is equipped with a liquid jet engine RD-191, and URM-2 is equipped with an RD-0124A engine. 

The RD-191 engine (later replaced by a more modern form of the RD-191M) was made at NPO Energomash, named after Academician V.P. Glushko in Khimki, Moscow region. It was made especially for the Angara. It is based on the RD-170 engine in the Soviet heavy launch vehicle Energia. It was used for two flights, in 1987 and 1988. 

The Chemical Automatics Design Bureau (KBHA, Voronezh) built the RD-0124A engine. This bureau is now part of the combined structure of NPO Energomash.

Test models and flying gear for the oxygen-hydrogen third stage of the “Angara-A5V” rocket will be made at Khrunichev’s factory in Moscow. Special tools are being made at the Vostochny Cosmodrome to fuel the carrier rocket.

In production, “Angara” rockets are replacing “Proton-M” rockets. “Proton-M” rockets will be removed from service after the last four units are made. Russia is constructing the third stage of the “Angara-A5” rocket so that it can be used to send supplies to the International Space Station.


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