Article by Anatoly Zak. Interesting stuff even if he is another one of these Euro-Atlantacist sovok jew russophobic Putin-haters...Roskosmos is promoting a reusable rocket.
sourceStart preliminary design
In 2020, after nearly two decades of research, the Russian space industry embarked on the development of a next-generation mid-range rocket designed to replace the Soyuz family of launch vehicles. Unlike a number of previous Soyuz design projects relying on traditional kerosene-fueled engines, the latter is to switch to newly developed engines fueled by cryogenic-temperature liquid methane from available and cheap natural gas.
Russia's efforts reflect technological trends around the world. Methane is now considered the best fuel for reusable rockets due to its "clean" combustion process, which leaves little soot in the main engine.
In June 2020, Roskosmos approved the Terms of Reference for the outline design of the Amur-LNG rocket , previously known as Soyuz-5 or Soyuz-LNG. (LNG - Russian abbreviation - Liquefied Natural Gas ).
On October 5, 2020, Roscosmos signed a contract with RCC Progress, the manufacturer of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle, to develop a preliminary design of the Amura-LNG launch vehicle in the amount of 407 million rubles (about $ 5.4 million).
The two-stage medium-class launch vehicle was promised to be launched for the first time in 2026 from the modernized Soyuz complex at the Vostochny cosmodrome. According to the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin, financing of the construction of a filling and launching complex for the Amur rocket will be implemented in the third phase of the Vostochny construction after the completion of the second phase in 2023, which provides for the construction of a launch complex for the Angara missile family at the cosmodrome.
Due to the presence of Soyuz-2 launch sites at several cosmodromes, including Baikonur and Plesetsk, as well as the very low load on the Soyuz-2 launch pad on Vostochny, Roskosmos could probably decommission the existing complex for its conversion into the "Amur" launch pad without much influence on the launch program of the "Soyuz-2" rocket. In addition, the construction of the "Amur" site could de facto replace the much more expensive plan to build a launch pad for a super-heavy rocket, the development of which practically stopped in 2020
. [calling bullshit on this. Zak is a wanker who so loves to inject his fake prophecies of Doom
On January 9, 2021, Rogozin announced several more details about the Amur-LNG rocket. According to his Facebook post, the rocket will have a fully automated pre-launch system, make extensive use of lightweight composite materials to replace metals, and use a reusable first stage capable of up to 100 flights. Because methane fuel will be pumped into the tanks under the same cryogenic conditions as liquid oxygen (which serves as an oxidizer), the fuel and oxidizer tanks can be combined into a single structure separated by a thin bulkhead, further simplifying the design and saving weight.In the next post, Rogozin also confirmed that the Russian super-heavy project will now be based on the Amur-LNG family, rather than on the kerosene Soyuz-5. [sounds suspect to me Why build a SHLV from modules that have a 9-12.5T to LEO capacity rather than Soyuz 5 with its 17T?]
The Amur-LNG was supposed to use either the standard 81KS payload fairing inherited from the Soyuz-2 family, or the newly developed wider fairing with a diameter of 5 meters for especially large payloads. Russian experts have also begun to explore the possibility of soft landing and reuse of fairings from Amur missiles, an industry source told RussianSpaceWeb.com .Soft landing equipmen
According to industry sources, in early 2021, the Amur-LNG concept design was undergoing rapid evolution on the drawing board before its architecture was approved for a more detailed design.One of the key features that remained unchanged at the time was the first stage landing legs. Although publicly released images of Amur LNG showed the launch vehicle landing on what appeared to be a replica of SpaceX's Falcon landing legs, in fact, Russian experts were evaluating three different landing leg designs. Only one of them bore some resemblance to the system used by SpaceX, but was less likely, according to an industry source, to have been adopted for full-scale development. Another proposal reportedly included a classic look with support legs, but wider and shorter than on Falcon rockets, and a third configuration had a fixed structure integrated with the engine compartment structure.Possible payloads
With a payload of up to nine tonnes for low-earth orbit, LEO Amur-LNG will be well positioned to fulfill all federal, commercial and military missions previously performed by Soyuz-2 missiles, whose payload is limited to eight tonnes. Roscosmos argued that the Amur-LNG project is focused on commercial exploitation and should correspond to a mission price of no more than $ 22 million. It was assumed that the rocket will serve both light and medium market segments. Depending on the task, due to additional fuel, the Amur variants could have a consumable and reusable option, as well as between the return of the first stage to the launch pad or landing at a distance from the Vostochny.
In early 2021, Russian specialists also began to study possible manned spacecraft that could take advantage of the Amur-LNG rocket. One of the candidates was the reusable manned spacecraft MTKS Argo, proposed by S7 for commercial missions, and the manned spacecraft PTK-M Orlyonok, conceptualized by RSC Energia in 2020, as the first step in Russia's lunar exploration program.Methane engine
The main technical task of the Amur-LNG project was the development of a new generation methane engine, designated RD-0169. According to the formal assignment for the Amur-LNG propulsion system, the serial version of the engine must be able to operate at least 10 times or make from 25 to 50 starts. In the course of preliminary design from 2016 to 2019, the KBKhA design bureau in Voronezh has already conducted research on the processes of mixing and ignition of fuel in methane engines, and even some engine components have been brought to autonomous tests.
In May 2020, Roscosmos signed a contract with KBKhA worth 6.3 billion rubles ($ 83.66 million) for the full-scale development of the RD-0169 engine until the end of 2025. However, due to the complexity of the RD-0169 project, it was decided to develop an experimental engine demonstrator called RD-0177.
The contract for the development of RD-0177 worth 765.78 million rubles ($ 10.1 million) was awarded to the same company on September 29, 2019. This stage of work should be completed by November 15, 2021.
Although the RD-0169 engine has a thrust of 85 tons, the two-ton prototype engine will have experimental versions of the gas generator and combustion chambers designed to test key processes in these components, such as ignition and shutdown. These are the most important and difficult to predict stages in the operation of a rocket engine, when new systems that have not yet been calibrated tend to fall prey to high frequency vibrations.
On June 3, 2020 Roskosmos announced that NPO Energomash had completed firing tests of a generator model for RD-0177, having tested various nozzle designs. According to the company, these tests were to be followed by the development of the combustion chamber.
In August 2020, the head of the Russian propulsion development group, which includes Energomash and KBKhA, said that the gas generator and mixing head for RD-0177 had been tested, and the industry was switching to engine production. However, by that time, the appearance of the first working version of RD-0177 was expected not earlier than 2022 or 2023.
Demonstration engine RD-0162-D2A with a thrust of 40 tons, which made 10 test launches in December 2016.The role of RD-0169 in the Amur-SAU project
Although the nominal thrust of the RD-0169 engine was originally designed for 85 tons, the design of the engine provides for the possibility of increasing thrust well above this level. At the beginning of 2021, a throttling factor of 1.33 was specified for RD-0169. This means that the most powerful version of the engine, with a thrust of 95 tons, is suitable for the first stage of Amur-LNG.
An early design of the reusable first stage, conceptually developed in 2020, involves a group of five engines operating during launch and flight. The central motor has the ability to restart to provide the first stage braking maneuver after separation. Then the same engine was started a third time to ensure a soft landing on the landing pad. The developers also proposed a four-engine, single-use first stage option, providing a higher payload for the entire rocket due to the lack of fuel reserves for landing.
The deep throttling mode on individual engines will allow the first stage to successfully launch into orbit, even if one of the engines fails, by commanding the rest of the engines to increase thrust.
According to the initial plans, the second stage of the Amur-LNG rocket was also supposed to use a vacuum version of the RD-0169 engine with thrust from 85 to 110 tons with a modified nozzle. However, in early 2021, engineers were considering converting the second stage to kerosene fuel due to the thrust limitation provided by RD-0169, an industry source told RussianSpaceWeb.com . This decision was probably prompted by plans to use the second stage not only for entering the initial orbit, but also for subsequent maneuvers in orbit.