Spaceflight Insider

First launch of Federation spacecraft may slip to 2024

An artist's concept of the "Federation" spacecraft. Image Credit: Roscosmos

An artist’s concept of the “Federation” spacecraft. Image Credit: Roscosmos

The first uncrewed flight of Russia’s next-generation Federation spacecraft may be postponed from 2022 to 2024, according to latest remarks made by the general director of the spacecraft’s manufacturer.

Federation, being developed RKK Energia, is expected to replace Russia’s flagship Soyuz spacecraft. The next-generation vessel is designed to be capable of delivering up to four cosmonauts and cargo to the Moon as well as to space stations positioned in low-Earth orbit (LEO).

RKK Energia was expected to complete the construction of the first Federation spacecraft by 2021. The initial plan was to conduct the maiden flight of this spaceship, with no crew, in 2022. However, Sergey Romanov, the head of RKK Energia, recently said this timeline could not be met.

“At the moment, we are hammering out our proposals for Roscosmos on work that must be completed so that the spacecraft’s unmanned launch will be carried out in 2022,” Romanov said. “Otherwise, given the vehicle’s current state, it would only be possible to launch it from the spaceport in 2024. So, we need to try very hard to make it happen in 2022.”

Two years after Federation’s maiden launch, Roscosmos plans to conduct the first crewed flight of this spacecraft. Romanov said that in order to be ready to fly the first cosmonauts aboard Federation, it is essential to test eight experimental units and finish all manufacturing processes.

“The manned launch is impossible without experimental development,” Romanov said. “We cannot put people at risk.”

Federation is expected to measure some 20 feet (6.1 meters) in length and have a mass of approximately 14.4 metric tons. The spacecraft is being designed to operate autonomously for a period of up to 30 days with the possibility of staying attached to the International Space Station for up to a year.

The first launch of Federation is expected to be carried out using a medium-capacity Soyuz 5 rocket, which is also in development. The 160-foot (49-meter) tall booster is being designed to be capable of delivering up to 25 metric tons to LEO in its heaviest variant.

 

 

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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.

Reader Comments

So, after a bunch of artists flies around the moon.

Hopefully everything goes well and ahead of schedule. Hope the new space race goes well for them and other countries. I also hope their goal is for space mining.

James Lunar Miner

“The first launch of Federation is expected to be carried out using a medium-capacity Soyuz 5 rocket, which is also in development. The 160-foot (49-meter) tall booster is being designed to be capable of delivering up to 25 metric tons to LEO in its heaviest variant.” – Tomasz Nowakowski

Perhaps there could eventually be “Super” high mass LEO payloads for the Soyuz 5 launcher family.

Note:

“Soyuz-5 Super Heavy
Its first stage could be used as the boosters (and even core) of a super heavy rocket capable of launching 73 t (80 tons) to low Earth orbit from Baikonur or Vostochny. Improving the performance to 120 t (130 tons) and even 160 t (180 tons) was considered possible with this architecture.”

From: “Soyuz-5 (rocket)” Wikipedia
At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz-5_(rocket)

James Lunar Miner

For Federation spacecraft Lunar missions the efficiency and payload performance of the Super Heavy Soyuz 5 could be enhanced by using a 900+ Isp nuclear thermal rocket engine based reusable upper stage.

Note:

“The TEM Russian nuclear engine being developed today is a direct successor to the RD-0410.”

From: “Russia Might Actually Build a Nuclear-Powered Rocket”
By Avery Thompson 11/16/2018
At: https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a25173254/russia-might-actually-build-a-nuclear-powered-rocket/

The cargo payload mass sent from LEO towards the Moon by the Soyuz-5 Super Heavy could be significantly increased by the use of a reusable and super propellant efficient electric propulsion system powered upper stage with a 3,000 to 14,000+ Isp.

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