GK Launch Services, a Russia-based firm, highlighted the unavailability of the latest Soyuz-5 medium-lift rocket till the middle of 2020, in spite of leveraging prevailing facilities and designs. The GK Launch Services’ Sales Director Evgeny Solodovnikov, while speaking with reporters at the International Astronautical Congress, stated that the flight tests of the Soyuz-5 rocket are not supposed to be completed till 2023. This makes it impossible for the commercial launch of this rocket before 2026. In the present design of Soyuz rocket, an upgraded version of the RD-171 engine—employed on the Zenit rocket in its initial stage—is incorporated.
The launch of Soyuz-5 is supposed to be carried out from the latest Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East and the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Solodovnikov stated that Baikonur’s present infrastructure, which was initially created for the Zenit rocket, will be used by Soyuz-5. He added, “The notion is to have utmost compatibility with the infrastructure and organizational structure of the Zenit space launch system at Baikonur.” Solodovnikov stated that to offer accommodation for the Soyuz-5, those facilities together with processing facilities and a launchpad will need to go through “precise upgrades.”
On a similar note, while the U.S. is putting its strong efforts to minimize its dependence on Russia for their rockets; Roscosmos’ Chief Dmitry Rogozin recently released order to construct 2 additional Soyuz MS spacecraft. Reportedly, 1 of these rockets is supposed to be employed in sending NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. This move by Roscosmos’ chief holds the background of a letter received from NASA’s Director Jim Bridenstine. In this letter, Bridenstine alarms about a setback in starting commercial spacecraft flights from the U.S. Moreover, Rogozin highlighted that in 2020 and 2021, the U.S. might require additional seats and the additional spacecraft might assist the country to fulfill this need. Furthermore, the 2nd Soyuz rocket is supposed to be employed for a space tourist flight, which is expected to be launched in late 2021.
Stephanie White accomplished M.Sc. in Space Studies and is actively working in the Science domain from the last 5 years. She holds a strong efficiency in crafting the Science domain news reports and never misses any important aspect of a news report while checking the quality of the content to be published on The Industry Magazine portal. Under the tag of the Science Section Head, Stephanie smartly looks after all the departmental activities. The team members love to attend the training offered by Stephanie on various aspects such as how to select trending topics and write a news report that can be easily understood by the target audience.