Methane-fueled engines for super-heavy launch vehicles (LV) are being developed in Russia, the head of Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Oleg Ostapenko, said in his speech in Taurida National V.I. Vernadsky University, Voenno-Promishlenniy Courier reports.
He reminded that Russia is developing heavy and super-heavy launch vehicles. According to Ostapenko, an LV with a payload of 120 tons will not be developed at first stage of the project, because today there are no missions for such rocket. «At present we are developing a rocket with a payload of 80-85 tons; it is enough for Lunar program», - he explained.
Ostapenko noted that the super-heavy LV will be upgraded “by means of replacing its engines, control systems, etc.” At the first stage of development the engine will run on oxygen, kerosene and hydrogen. It is also planned to develop methane-fueled engines, which allow placing into orbit a payload up to 190 tons, Ostapenko explained. The head of Roscosmos added that the launch facilities for the new rocket will be constructed at Vostochny cosmodrome.
In April Ostapenko said at a press-conference held by ITAR-TASS that the project for development of the new super-heavy launch vehicle has been included in the Federal Space Program for 2015-2025; however, the program has not been approved yet. The head of Roscosmos noted that the project will be implemented in two stages: at the first stage the LV with a payload of 70 - 80 tons will be developed and later the LVs with a payload varying from 120 to 190 tons will be developed. Ostapenko admitted that the results obtained in the network of Energia project will be used for this work.
Speaking of a potential main contractor, he said that an optimal decision will be made. «There are good offers from S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre and State Research and Production Space Rocket Center "TsSKB-Progress”. This may be an integrated project implemented by several enterprises», - the head of Roscosmos explained.
Ostapenko also said that no new construction sites will be created for manufacturing the rocket; the existing production capacities will be used. He mentioned the Samara-based TsSKB Progress as an instance.