The reorganization of the Russian space industry, following the failure of 4 rocket launches within the last year, has now reached the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. Vladimir Popovkin, Roscosmos Head, announced the plan to create of a new rocket building holding organization and to replace the management of the production center where the Proton and Rockot launch vehicles, as well as the Briz (Breeze) upper stage, are produced.
Roscosmos has canceled the Rus-M rocket, which was supposed to carry the new six person Perspective Piloted Transport System, which will replace the venerable Soyuz capsuled. The new vehicle will be launched on top of an upgraded Soyuz-2 rocket: “We have come to the conclusion that we do not need a new rocket, we can continue using those we already have,” sad Popovkin. Rus-M was schedule to make it first unmanned flight in 2015 from the new Vostochny spaceport, with human mission starting in 2018.
The new Soyuz-2 rocket will be the fist rocket to be launched from Vostochny, starting in 2018. According to Head Vitaly Davydov, Roscosmos Deputy Head, no decision has yet been made on launching the new Angara rocket from Vostochny. Angara is a modular family of rockets, designed to replace several existing boosters. Depending on the configuration, the Angara rocket will be able to lift up to 40.5 metric tons to LEO. The first test launch of an Angara rocket is expected by late 2013 from Plesetsk.