Roscosmos is going to start development of a new medium launch vehicle in 2018; the new rocket should replace Soyuz launch vehicles, whose development was started in Sergey Korolev’s era, TASS reports with reference to a source close to the rocket and space industry.
“Performance specifications for development of the medium launch vehicle should be elaborated by Roscosmos in 2016-2017. The start of research and development work is scheduled for 2018; the rocket is designated Feniks,” he said. The source noted that during a period from 2018 to 2025 Roscosmos is going to allocate over 30 billion rubles for this project.
Another source told TASS that development of the new rocket was suggested by the Samara-based RKTs Progress. The launch vehicle should feature a “one-piece” design and should have a payload of 9 tons; in other words, it should occupy a niche between Soyuz and Zenit launch vehicles. The Samara-based enterprise suggested using liquefied natural gas, but the traditional option with kerosene and hydrogen is also considered. In future Feniks may serve as a module for development of heavy launch vehicles. Technologies developed by NPO Lavochkin for Fregat upper stage may be used during development of an advanced upper stage.