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Space ships: Russia develops a new Soyuz rocket

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 | Gadgets

No rocket stands so much for Russian space travel as the Soyuz. It was named after the space ship of the same name, but rockets of the same design have been flying for 60 years on behalf of the Soviet Union and Russia. Tass, the Russian news agency, has now officially begun work on a successor, Soyuz 5. This was necessary because the current 7-ton Soyuz MS space ship was to be replaced by the new Russian vehicle Federazija in 2024, which is 16 tons too heavy for the current Soyuz 2.1 rocket.

Above all, the budgetary problems of Russian space travel make finding a suitable carrier rocket for Federazija difficult. Now a rocket concept, formerly known as Sunkar, has been renamed Soyuz 5 to solve the problem.
Originally, the space ship was to fly with the new Angara 5 rocket. But the development of the variant intended for transporting people, Angara 5P, was discontinued. The Angara 5 rockets are to start from the new Kosmodrom Vostochny, where corruption and lack of money have led to strikes and further delays in construction. As a replacement, another rocket had to be developed, which is to start again from Baikonur.

Soyuz is 60 years old
Since the new rocket is to achieve more than double the payload, the old construction of the Soyuz has to be finally abandoned. Their tanks do not take enough fuel to carry such a payload, and build larger tanks would require investment in completely new production facilities. When the rocket was developed in the 1950s, little was known about flights in the supersonic area. To avoid possible problems with aerodynamic forces, a smooth transition between the central rocket stage and the boosters was constructed.
Therefore, the boosters are conical. Compared to the surface, however, a cone has a much smaller volume than the usual cylindrical tanks and weigh more. However, the shape can not be changed without rebuilding the entire rocket. The plants and machines for the construction of the boosters would also have to be rebuilt, the integration and start-up process revised. In addition, the engine technology. The Soyuz rocket is based on the R-7 intercontinental rocket launched in 1956. The potential of technology is largely exhausted.
Modern Russian technology belongs to the world …
In order to double the payload, the rocket must be constructed from scratch. The technology for this is available. The most modern Russian engines are extremely efficient and pushy. The RD-171 is today the most powerful engine in the world, apart from the solids boosters of the space shuttle, which consume 25 percent more fuel at the same thrust. The Russian engine is used in half the strong RD-180 variant in the American Atlas V rocket. One of the few missiles, which had not had a failure even after 72 flights.
The RD-171 was used in the Soviet Zenit rocket. It would also have exactly the performance needed for the start of Federazija. But apart from the main Russian engine, the rest of the rocket was constructed in factories of today's Ukraine. Without cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, the rocket can not be built. The technology for a better rocket is thus available, and the Atlas V shows that its fundamental reliability is also not in question. The rocket has only to be developed.


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