"Roscosmos" begins work on the creation of a reusable rocket

Published on June 29, 2016

"Roscosmos" begins work on the creation of a reusable rocket

    The project team - experts who developed the system "Energy-Buran".

    Photo: RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko.

    Today it became known that the general director of the Khrunichev Center ordered to restore the department for reusable launch vehicles. It happened, however, about a month ago, but information about the event appeared only now. According to Alexander Medvedev, the general designer of Roscosmos for space rocket complexes, the specialists who created Buran in their time will be working in the new department. The head of the department was Pavel Anatolyevich Lekhov, one of the main designers of the Energia-Buran system .

    The new project has similar features with this system, they write"News". Thus, domestic engineers do not plan to learn from the experience of the company Ilona Mask, which successfully lands the first stages of the Falcon 9 rocket on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean and on land. Engineers of the Khrunichev Center will work on the creation of a “winged” first stage, which will be able to return to the cosmodrome like an airplane, landing on the runway.

    According to Alexander Medvedev, for the Russian conditions, the returned first stage is the best option. The scheme with which SpaceX works is not suitable for domestic missiles, since there is no sea next to Russian cosmodromes, therefore there is no possibility to put the barge in the right place. Yes, and the option with a barge does not seem to be optimal for the Roskosmos general designer, since lateral wind and pitching interfere in the sea.

    In Khrunichev, the idea of ​​a winged first stage has long been worked out. Created by engineers of the Center, mock-ups of rocket-airplanes in various versions were repeatedly shown at exhibitions both in Russia and abroad. According to Medvedev, they have been working on this idea for about 20 years. For the first time, some results of the practical realization of the idea were shown in the aerospace show in Le Bourget - the “Baikal” system was shown there. For several years, drafting projects were prepared, mock-ups were built, which were then tested. In this case, the engineers received positive results. “It is time to move from projects on paper to real things. I'm talking about creating a flight demonstrator, ”says Alexander Medvedev. The general director of Roscosmos, Igor Komarov, agrees with this idea. Proposals are ready, but the company will not talk about them yet.

    The first stage of the rocket is the most expensive line of the budget for the construction of a rocket. In the first stage, the main engines are installed, which determine the capabilities of this rocket. Their cost ranges from $ 10 to $ 70 million.

    Corresponding Member of the Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Cosmonautics Andrei Ionin supports the idea. He says that designing and experimenting with a returnable first stage is important. But the mass production of a new stage is a controversial issue, where everything depends on the frequency of starts. If we are talking about dozens of launches per year, then yes, you need to develop a reusable first stage. It can be very useful when working in the new field of space tourism. But at the same time it is necessary to check whether the costs of building and operating a reusable stage are economically viable. You should also consider the issue of reliability of reuse engines.

    The same "Buran", which flew into space

    As for the project "Energy-Buran", then in Soviet times, this program was considered very promising. Within its framework, engineers worked on the creation of a reusable space transportation system. This program was prepared as an alternative to the American project "Space Shuttle". The spacecraft-cosmoplan of the Buran system was created, it even made a flight. But it was the only space flight of this system, the spacecraft was launched on November 15, 1988. Unfortunately, in 1992 it was decided to stop the project and its conservation. Technical developments created during the implementation of this program are currently used in the Russian space industry.

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