... our tracks will remain
Once again, the general situation in the Russian space and rocket industry makes no sense. The situation is frankly deplorable, although it is obvious that the country will not abandon space exploration either now or in the foreseeable future. The most important thing, which is perhaps worth talking about in this connection: after the appointment of Rogozin as head of the space department, a course was taken on a "utilitarian" space. To be more precise, the industry was placed at the service of the army and policy, generally. This is well evidenced long saga with the launch of the Nauka module, the launch of which was scheduled for the ISS back in 2007. Even more vague are the plans for the exploration of the Moon, and especially Mars.
Far space is generally impossible in the current economic and political realities. As mentioned above, the industry will launch satellites in the interests of state-owned companies, and launch vehicles in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of the country, however, scientific breakthroughs here, to put it mildly, should not be expected.
For the existing “mundane” tasks, Russia actually has and will have all the tools in the future.
In our light class, the unit is Angara, the middle class is Soyuz-5, the heavy class is Angara-A5, and the heavy class is Angara-A5V,
- said earlier the head Dmitry Rogozin.
The latter from the usual Angara-A5 will be distinguished by the presence of an additional oxygen-hydrogen stage: the truth, in the framework of the existing official classification, the rocket will belong to the heavy class, and not to the "heavy", as the head of Roscosmos said.
Regardless of the fate of the most powerful Angara, even the three carriers mentioned above will be enough to achieve all the real goals facing the military-political leadership. No one here will consider how much more expensive the Angara-A5 is Proton-M or Falcon-9: having decided to curtail production of Protons, Russia voluntarily withdrew from the competition for the global space launch market, objectively losing it to SpaceX.
Of course, one can argue about the correctness of this decision, but hardly anything can already be changed. And do not worry too much about the "Proton": sooner or later, this carrier would still be squeezed by someone. Including, due to its dangerous fuel in the face of asymmetric dimethylhydrazine or simply heptyl.
We built, built
It would seem that the concept is understandable, and the plans are quite feasible, however, apparently, even this “minimum program”, most likely, will not be completed on time. The most striking example is, again, the Angara. Since the development of the Angara-A5 rocket, the first and so far the only launch is on December 23, 2014. Instead of the real payload, the overall weight model of the spacecraft was then used.
As it became known now, the Poet enterprise producing carriers of this family, which is part of the Khrunichev Center, has broken the deadlines for completing the order. This refers to work within the framework of one carrier of heavy and one carrier of light classes of the Angara family. Previously, they planned to build them this year, but now this obviously should not be expected, because the delay from the target date can reach a year. It is also noteworthy that the management of "Flight" did not take long to choose the wording and itself recognized the situation as "critical."
“The reasons for the emergence of such a critical situation were: poor organization of work in the workplace, untimely resolution of issues by the design service (Design Bureau“ Salyut ”) and technological services (department of the chief technologist), untimely provision of production (department of the chief technologist, tool production, auxiliary production, supply service), failure to meet the deadlines for the delivery of components (Rocket Space Plant, Voronezh Mechanical Plant) ",
- says the order of the enterprise "Flight", signed by its leader Viktor Shuliko.
In this case, a somewhat contradictory situation arises, because since the backlog is purely internal, this supposedly does not play a decisive role, if we talk about the timing of the supply of finished missiles.
“There is no lag behind the established deadlines for the manufacture of missiles, we are aimed at delivering products on time”
- said the head of "Flight".
So what is happening with the Angara? And can the situation on the Flight affect future launches? In fact, answering these questions is very difficult, but the situation can be considered from one more side. The fact is that de facto there is already nowhere to significantly shift the timing of missile launches: they have already been transferred more than once, but they decided to abandon the rocket analogue in the face of the heavy Proton-M, as already noted above. According to the statement of Rogozin himself, by 2025 the Angara should completely displace the Proton, and the production of the Soviet missile will be stopped in 2020-2021. As of 2018, the current contract implied the construction of another 20 of these carriers.
Now the engineers have to prepare Anagaru-A5 for the next test launch, which is scheduled for 2020. Then two more launches will follow as part of flight design tests and only then, in the second half of the 2020s, it will be possible to expect the launch of the launch vehicle in full operation. It is difficult to imagine where exactly by that moment the world rocket science will be located, and which missiles will be commissioned by Europe and the USA. However, in our case, again, this will not play a significant role: “Hangar” is a product for “internal” use. Under its circumstances, it will not be possible to conquer the international market with its help.
In general, there is almost no doubt that the carriers of the Angara family will continue to produce: the only question is how exactly these tasks will be performed. It is no secret that the Khrunichev Center is the most problematic enterprise in the entire Russian space and rocket industry. Earlier it was reported that his debt amounted to more than 100 billion rubles, although in recent years it has been partially repaid. Of course, this amount would not seem so intimidating if the other space enterprises showed good results. However, in the conditions of actual political isolation and rapid development of competitors, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do this every year, and the financial damage caused to the Russian budget for the period from 2010-2018 due to space accidents exceeded 35 billion rubles, of which more than uncovered losses accounted for 10 billion. That is, there are few reasons for joy. At least for now.