Sunday, July 19, 2015

Russian Angara Rocket to Launch Commercial Missions

Angara 1.2 rocket on the launch pad. Credit: Roscosmos/ILS

International Launch Services (ILS) has announced that it will use the new Russian Angara 1.2 rocket for commercial launches starting in 2017. The launches will be conducted from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia. “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.

ILS possesses exclusive rights to market the Angara vehicle to commercial customers. The company hopes that Angara will attract additional customers via the 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 can lift 3 metric tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and was successfully launched for the first time on July 9, 2014 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

Angara, 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 in 2021. It will put satellites into the geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The launches will take place at the Vostochny Cosmodrome located in eastern Russia, which is currently in construction. Angara 5 has a payload capacity of 24.5 tons. Its first 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 planned for 2016.

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