Russia’s Roscosmos has signed a new state contract envisaging upgrade of the Angara carrier rocket and studying development of reusable rocket stages.
"On June 30, amendments were made to the Amur state contract. This includes development of modernized Angara-A5M from Angara-A5 rocket and the conceptual design of the Angara-A5V increased lifting capacity vehicle (with the oxygen-hydrogen third stage),” the country’s state space corporation said in a statement.
Roscosmos added that “an option to develop the Angara-A5VM carrier rocket with reusable stages will be considered.”
The Angara-A5M carrier rocket will undergo flight tests starting 2024. It could come with a price tag of $57 million per unit. The rocket is expected to have reduced structural weight, upgraded rocket engines and control systems.
The Angara series of rockets consists of light, medium and heavy carrier rockets with a lifting capacity of up to 35 tonnes. Engines of these rockets run on environmentally-friendly kerosene and oxygen. So far, Russia has carried out only two Angara launches, both of them from the Plesetsk spaceport: a light Angara-1.2PP blasted off in July 2014 and its heavy version (Angara-A5) lifted off in December 2014.
The first launch of a spacecraft with cosmonauts on board from the Vostochny Cosmodrome using an Angara rocket will take place in 2023, according to Rostec.