Russia looks to reduce Proton launch costs

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The competition heats up: Russian officials are considering developing a new variant of the Proton rocket that would cost less to launch and thus make the rocket more desirable in the increasingly competitive launch market.

They have not made a decision yet. As the article notes,

[G]iven the extended length of time required for even less radical upgrades of Proton and the official Russian strategy to phase out the vehicle in favor of Angara-5, it is unclear whether it would be possible to justify the Proton-Light development effort. A number of previous proposals to change the shape and size of the Proton-M rocket were deemed too expensive more than a decade earlier in the rocket’s operational career.


  • Alex

    Why not to delete second stage from Proton to save money, by streching the 2.stage? BTW, I would also stretch the first stage tankages due to the large initial T/W-ratio of the launcher (six engines RD-253), which would allow it.

  • Alex

    Addition to my comment above: It might be even possible that the Russian engineers remove two of the six RD 253/278 engines for the new design, in order to save money, because there is no need for 1,000 tons launch thrust for the lighter rocket.

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