Amur (launch vehicle)

Summary

Amur
FunctionPartially reusable orbital medium-lift launch vehicle
ManufacturerKB Khimavtomatika
Country of originRussia
Project costUS$900 million[1]
Cost per launchUS$22 million (planned)
Size
Height55 m (180 ft)
Diameter4.1 m (13 ft)
Mass360,000 kg (790,000 lb)
Stages2
Capacity
Payload to Low Earth orbit (LEO)
MassReusable: 10,500 kg (23,100 lb)
Expendable: 12,500 kg (27,600 lb)
Launch history
StatusIn development
Launch sitesVostochny Cosmodrome
First stage
Engines5 RD-0169A
FuelMethalox

Amur (Russian: Аму́р) is a partially-reusable, methane–fueled, orbital launch vehicle currently in the design concept stage of development by the Roscosmos State Corporation in Russia. Design began by 2020, with operational flights planned for no earlier than 2026. Amur is intended to substitute for the existing Soyuz-2, at a much lower per launch cost.[2]

History

The contract for the preliminary design phase of the Amur was signed on 5 October 2020, to build "the first Russian reusable methane rocket."[3] The design reference goals include high-reliability, operational launch cost target of US$22 million, and a reusable first stage, with an expendable second stage.[3] Roscosmos has budgeted a "not to exceed" program cost of 70 billion rubles (US$880 million) for the development program through the first launch.[4]

The rocket design follows the practice[when?] of SpaceX with the Falcon 9 to design the first stage for reusability.[2][5] and the rocket engine to be reused 100 or more times.[3]

Description

Amur is planned to be a 4.1 m (13 ft)-diameter two-stage-to-orbit, medium-lift[2] vehicle of 55 m (180 ft) height, with a gross liftoff mass of 360 t (790,000 lb).[4][3] It is aimed to deliver a payload to low-Earth orbit of 10.5 t (23,000 lb),[2] but could loft 12.5 t (28,000 lb) if the first stage is expended and not reused, as all traditional launch vehicles of the early space age were.[4] Amur will launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East.[6]

The first stage of the rocket will use grid fins to assist with attitude control during atmospheric reentry and is planned to be powered by five RD-0169A methane-oxygen engines,[2] which are currently being developed at the Chemical Automatics Design Bureau.[3] The long-term target is for most of the engines to fire 100 times, but the center engine, reignited for descent through the atmosphere and again for landing operations which will include extending landing legs,[2] will be aimed to eventually reach a life expectancy of 300 engine firings.[3]

The ground test program for the new methalox-propellant engines is expected to be completed by late 2024.[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ Berger, Eric. "Russian space corporation unveils planned "Amur" rocket—and it looks familiar". arstechnica. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f berger, Eric (7 October 2020). "Russian space corporation unveils planned "Amur" rocket—and it looks familiar". Ars Technica. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Trouble-free as a Kalashnikov assault rifle: the Amur methane rocket" (in Russian). Roscosmos. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Russia to spend $880 mln on Amur reusable space rocket". TASS. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  5. ^ Russia "Copies" SpaceX by Designing Reusable Rockets: Elon Musk Reacts, Tech Times, 5 October 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Russia to launch first reusable rocket with payload in 2026". TASS. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.