Spaceflight Insider

Russian Angara rocket to launch commercial missions

International Launch Services (ILS ) has announced that it will offer the new Russian Angara 1.2 rocket for commercial launches starting as early as 2017. The launches will be conducted from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia and could mark a major change in terms of what type of boosters that the launch service provider uses to deliver payloads to orbit.

“We are excited about these new offerings. Angara 1.2 has significantly higher performance than Vega and other small launchers, at a more affordable price tag,” said Phil Slack, ILS President.

Roscosmos Russian Angara Heavy rocket launch from Baikonur Cosmodrone Ria Novosti photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

The Russian Angara A5 rocket could eventually replace the Russian workhorse, the Proton due to a higher reliability and the use of more environmentally safe fuel. Photo Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense

ILS possesses exclusive rights to market the Angara vehicle to commercial customers. The company believes the Angara family of launch vehicles will attract customers with their ability to support virtually all spacecraft to all orbits, altitudes and inclinations for the low, medium and heavy-lift spacecraft market.

“Now, with Angara available for the small- and medium-lift segment, combined with our continued offering of Proton for the heavy-lift requirements, we are able to serve the entire spectrum of satellites to all orbits and inclinations,” Slack added.

The Angara 1.2 launch vehicle is capable of lifting three metric tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and it has been successfully launched for the first time from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome this past year.

The Angara rocket, named after a river in Eastern Siberia, is a family of space-launch vehicles being developed by the Moscow-based Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the majority owner of ILS.

ILS will also use Angara 5, the heavy-lift variant of the rocket, starting as early as 2021. It is designed to put satellites into the geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). These launches will take place at the Vostochny Cosmodrome located in eastern Russia, which is currently under construction. Angara 5 will have a payload capacity of 24.5 tons. Its first test flight was conducted on Dec. 23, 2014.

“The Angara system is scalable to meet various performance requirements, and the use of common technology will reap production efficiencies in the factory. This translates to cost savings for customers. We look forward to passing along the benefits of Angara to satellite operators who require a high-performance option with effective lifting capacity for their low to medium-class spacecraft,” said Andrey Kalinovskiy, General Director of Khrunichev.

The Angara family of rockets is based on the Universal Rocket Module (URM) system. Powered by a single RD-191M engine, the URM-1 forms the first stage of all Angara configurations. The system was flown successfully as the first stage of KSLV (Korean Space Launch Vehicle) during its first three missions in 2009, 2010, and 2013.

Angara rockets will also deliver launches for the Russian Federal government.

The next ILS launch will lift the British Inmarsat 5 F3 satellite into orbit, using a Proton-M rocket. The launch is planned for September 2015.

The next Angara 5 flight is currently planned for 2016.



Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

⚠ Commenting Rules

Post Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *