Tag Archives: Khrunichev

Angara’s status

The competition heats up: Work on the factories that will build and assembly Russia’s new Angara rocket appear to be nearing completion.

The article is an excellent overview of the entire Angara program. It also includes a number of interesting nuggets of information that might explain events of the past as well as Russia’s future success or failure of Angara.

For example, the repeated problems with Proton’s Briz-M upper station in 2012 could have been caused by the shift of much of its production from the Khrunichev factories near Moscow to a newly absorbed company located in Siberia. The move was made to take advantage of lower costs in Siberia while letting the company sell off land in Moscow.

Beginning in 2009, PO Polyot was to take responsibility for the production of the Briz-KM upper stage for the Rockot booster, as well as Rockot’s adapter rings and the payload fairings. Also, the manufacturing of all key elements for the Angara-1.2 version of the rocket would end up in Omsk as well. Additionally, the Ust-Katav Wagon-building Plant, UKVZ, would produce components for Angara and its KVTK upper stage, along with sections of the Proton rocket and the Briz-M upper stage.

As for Angara, the article suggests that Russia is struggling to make it as inexpensive to launch as Proton:
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More problems at Khrunichev

Construction of the second Angara rocket, built by the Russian organization Khrunichev, is behind schedule by at least three months.

[T]he reason for the lag is the delay with the supply of components, as well as the production setup in Omsk, the long period of checks and the lack of certain equipment for testing. In Moscow, the units will pass additional testing and the carrier rocket will be assembled, after which the launch vehicle will be transported to the Plesetsk cosmodrome (Arkhangelsk region) for the pre-launch preparation.

It is interesting to note the circuitous route the rocket’s parts must travel before launch. Kind of reminds me of the way Congress distributed SLS, and how ESA distributed Ariane 5, in order to spread the wealth and put pork in as many places as possible, regardless of how it increased production cost.

Meanwhile, the delay suggests again that Khrunichev’s quality control problems, seen repeatedly with launch failures of its Proton rocket, have not been solved with the new Angara rocket.

The history of Russia’s new Angara rocket.

The history and origin of Russia’s new Angara rocket.

A fascinating read, as it gives some of the office politics and back-fighting that surrounded the decision to pick the builder of this new rocket. For example, when the government picked the company Khrunichev to build the rocket,

[C]ritics charged that traditional Russian nepotism had played a role — at the time, a daughter and the son and law of the Russian president Boris Yeltsin worked for Khrunichev. As a consolation prize, RKK Energia was awarded the development of the second stage for the Angara rocket.

Later, in a move reminiscent to the space shuttle’s history (where the winning contractor eventually ended up using the basic design of their losing competitor), Khrunichev dumped the design they had used to win the contract and switched over to something almost identical to what Energia had proposed. And in the process, they cut Energia out of the deal entirely.

International Launch Services ((ILS) has successfully launched its Russian Proton rocket to put another commercial communications satellite into orbit.

Tbe competition heats up: International Launch Services ((ILS) has successfully launched its Russian Proton rocket to put another commercial communications satellite into orbit.

This launch solidifies the recovery of the Proton rocket since the disastrous July launch. With the Russian government forcing a consolidation of all Russian aerospace companies into one government owned cooperation, however, it is unclear what will happen to ILS and Khrunichev (the Russian company that makes the Proton).

New quality control problems that have popped in Russia might delay its next module to ISS by more than a year.

New quality control problems that have popped up in Russia might delay its next module to ISS by more than a year.

The company building the new module is the same one that builds the Proton rocket that has had serious problems in the last few years.