|Space Launch Report: New Launchers - Angara|
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The Angara Family
Angara, named after a fast-flowing 1,800 km long Siberian river, is Russia's first entirely post-Soviet space launch vehicle. Khrunichev State Research and Production Center is developing a family of Angara launchers to replace existing Proton and Rokot boosters. The cash-starved, start-stop development effort officially began during the mid-1990s, but progress toward a planned inaugural launch in 2010-2011 only became apparent during the early 2000s, with inaugural launches finally taking place during 2014.
An ability to launch Russian payloads from a Russian launch site using an all-Russian rocket was an important aspect of the Angara development. The powerful Zenit launcher was partially manufactured in Ukraine. Krunichev's Proton only flies from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Angara is built in Russia and flies from Russia's Plestesk Northern Cosmodrome.
A desire to replace toxic hypergolic propellants with less hazardous, less polluting kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX) was also a factor, especially after a series of Proton failures caused ecological damage in Kazakhstan.
Angara's first stage is built around basic "Universal Rocket Module" (URM) building blocks, with each block powered by a single-chamber 196 tonne thrust RD-191 LOX/kerosene engine. RD-191 is derived from the four-chamber Energomash RD-171 engine that powered the Zenit launcher.
The smallest Angara variants (Angara 1.1 and Angara 1.2) will use one URM. The most powerful variant, Angara 5, will use a cluster of five URMs. A medium Angara 3 launcher using three URMs is also possible, but may not be immediately developed in the wake of Lockheed Martin's sale of its International Launch Services (ILS) consortium share. ILS was reportedly interested in Angara 3, but the R-7 Soyuz system can already handle payloads in that range for Russian needs.
Angara adapts several existing Russian space systems for its own use. A 30 tonne thrust LOX/kerosene RD-0124 engine powers the second stage of all but the smallest Angara version. This staged-combustion engine has already been developed to power the upgraded Soyuz-2 third stage. Briz-KM, developed for use on Rokot, will serve as the Angara 1.1 second stage and as the third stage for Angara 1.2. The Briz-M stage previously developed to fly atop Proton-M boosters serves as the upper stage for the Angara 3 and 5 vehicles. The Rokot payload fairing will be used by Angara 1.1. Angara 5 uses Proton payload fairings.
Future plans call for development of a liquid hydrogen fueled "KVRB" upper stage for Angara 5. This stage would be powered by a single 10.5 tonne thrust KVD1M3 engine with a 461 sec specific impulse.
Angara 5 launch profiles keep the core URM engine throttled back so that the strap on URMs deplete their propellant first, about four minutes after liftoff. The core URM then burns for another 89 to 111 seconds.
Payload capabilities extend from 2 metric tons (tonnes) to a 200 km x 63 deg low earth orbit (LEO) for Angara 1.1 to 24.5 tonnes for Angara 5 when launched from Plesetsk. Angara 5 can lift 5.4 tonnes to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from Plesetsk with a Briz M upper stage. Use of the KVRB stage would improve GTO performance to 6.6 tonnes or more.
Drawing of Angara 5 Horizontal at Launch Pad
Angara initially flew from Plesetsk,
800 km north of Moscow at 62.7 degrees North latitude, using a new "Area 35"
launch site built atop an unfinished Zenit complex that was abandoned after the fall of
the Soviet Union. In the future, Angara may also fly from Vostochny, Russia's
under-construction Eastern Cosmodrome, a lower latitude launch site that would allow
heavier payloads to be orbited, especially to geosynchronous orbit.
In 2004, Russia and Kazakhstan agreed
to develop an Angara launch site at Baikonur. A joint development project named
"Bayterek" was set up to build the launch site. A mothballed Proton pad at
Baikonur's Site 200 Pad 40 was originally considered for the project, but according to
some reports Site 250, the abandoned Energia launch pad, was also considered. By the
end of 2012, after Russia's government had decided to build an Angara pad at Vostochny,
the Bayterek project had been quietly shelved.
KSLV-1 at Naro
The first Angara family vehicle to fly was two-stage KSLV-1 (Korean Space Launch Vehicle), which consisted of an Angara-derived first stage topped by a small solid fuel second stage developed by South Korea's Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The 28.5 by 2.9 meter, 140 tonne first stage was very similar to Angara's URM-1, except that it was powered by an Energomash RD-151 engine that produced 170 tonnes of liftoff thrust. RD-151 was a lower-pressure, lower-thrust version of 196 tonne thrust RD-191.
Russia's KBTM developed the KSLV-1 launch systems, which included a wheeled horizontal transporter that drove the assembled missile to a fixed erector system at the pad only two days prior to launch. Autocoupler systems similar to those used by Angara were employed to simplify vehicle set up on the pad. Construction of the launch site at Naro, South Korea began in 2003. The Center included the launch pad, a launch control building, a vehicle assembly building, and test stands.
The first KSLV-1 launch took place on
August 25, 2009. It was an attempt to boost STSat-2, a 100 kg test satellite, into a
306 x 1,500 km near polar orbit. The first stage portion of the ascent was successful, but
one of the two payload fairing halves failed to separate. Orbital velocity could not be
A third attempt, on January 30, 2013,
finally produced success. The final planned KSLV-1 successfully orbited South
Korea's STSAT-2C satellite from Naro. The flight added South Korea to the list of 13
countries that have hosted orbital launches. STSAT-2C separated into a 296 x 1,513
km x 80.3 deg orbit about nine minutes after liftoff.
Vehicle Development and Flight Testing
Early Angara 1.1 Prototype at Khrunichev
Angara development began in 1994, when Krunichev beat Energia in a competition to build the new launcher. Development proceeded slowly until 2001, when NPO Energomash performed the first test-firing of an RD-191 engine. By October 2006, ten RD-191 tests had been performed. Engine development was scheduled to be completed in 2009.
RD-0124 development testing began in 1996 for Soyuz-2. Testing was completed in 2004 at Khimavtomatika in Voronezh. The first Soyuz-2-1b flight with an RD-0124 third stage engine took place during December, 2006.
In August 2006, Roskosmos officials
announced that the first Angara test flight was planned to occur in 2010 or 2011.
The first test launch would be performed by an Angara 1.1 from Plesetsk. The launch
date subsequently slipped into 2014 due to launch site preparation delays, funding issues,
and second stage design changes that enlarged the stage.
NZh Test Vehicle at Plesetsk 35/1 During 2013 or 2014
A URM-1 first stage test vehicle was
test fired during 2009. A URM-1 also performed successfully during the first launch
of South Korea's KSLV launch vehicle during that year.
Angara Flies from Plesetsk
Assembly of the first Angara A5 was completed in a horizontal fixture in the Site 35
hangar at Plesetsk during October and early November, 2014. The rocket was rolled out on a
railroad transporter to its launch pad on November 10. A propellant loading test was
performed on or before November 20. The 770+ tonne rocket may lift off, rising on 980
tonnes of thrust from its five engines, before year's end, though an early 2015 test
flight is also possible.
The first Angara family vehicle to fly was the two-stage KSLV-1 (Korean Space Launch Vehicle), which consisted of an Angara-derived first stage topped by a small solid fuel second stage developed by South Korea's Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The 28.5 by 2.9 meter, 140 tonne first stage was very similar to Angara's URM-1, except that it was powered by an Energomash RD-151 engine that produced 170 tonnes of liftoff thrust. RD-151 was a lower-pressure, lower-thrust version of 196 tonne thrust RD-191.
The first KSLV-1 launch took place on August 25, 2009. It was an attempt to boost STSat-2, a 100 kg test satellite, into a 306 x 1,500 km near polar orbit. The first stage portion of the ascent was successful, but one of the two payload fairing halves failed to separate. Orbital velocity could not be attained.
The second KSLV-1 failed on June 10, 2010. A "flash" was seen and telemetry was lost 137 seconds into the flight, about 60% of the way into the burn of the vehicle's Energomash RD-151 first stage engine. The cause of the failure was not immediately apparent, and the Russian and South Korean teams disagreed about the cause. The rocket was carrying a second engineering test satellite named STSat-2B.
A third attempt, on January 30, 2013, finally produced success. The final planned
KSLV-1 successfully orbited South Korea's STSAT-2C satellite from Naro. The flight added
South Korea to the list of 13 countries that have hosted orbital launches. STSAT-2C
separated into a 296 x 1,513 km x 80.3 deg orbit about nine minutes after liftoff.
After the second stage burned out at about the 12
minute 15 second mark (it fell into the western Pacific Ocean), the first Briz-M burn
inserted the stage and payload into a low earth orbit with a 63 deg inclination.
Subsequent burns moved the vehicle into an initial elliptical transfer orbit. The fourth
burn circularized the orbit at geosynchronous altitude. A fifth burn then moved the
vehicle out of the geostationary belt into a "graveyard orbit".
Angara A5 will be able to lift 24.5 tonnes to a 200 km x 63 deg low earth orbit (LEO), or 5.4 tonnes to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from Plesetsk with a Briz M upper stage. Use of a projected high energy KVRB stage could improve GTO performance to 6.6 tonnes. Angara A5's LEO capability is currently only exceeded by the RS-68A powered version of Delta 4 Heavy. The new rocket family is not expected to be completely certified for use until 2020, when it will likely begin to replace the long-lived Proton family. Angara will eventually fly from Russia's new, under-construction launch site at Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Angara Launch Log ================================================================================= DATE VEHICLE ID PAYLOAD MASS(t) SITE* ORBIT** --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 07/09/14 Angara 1.2PP Suborbital Test PL 35/1 SUB  12/23/14 Angara A5/Briz M A5-1 GVM Test Flight 2.0 PL 35/1 GEO  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Inaugural 2-stage Angara 1.2 suborbital test flight to Kura range.  First Angara A5. Four Briz M burns with mass simulator to GEO, then fifth burn to graveyard orbit. =================================================================================
"Angara User's Guide", International Launch
Last Update: December 23, 2014