PARIS— Commercial launch-services provider International Launch Services (ILS) has begun marketing the first iteration of Russia’s new Angara rocket, adding the light-lift Angara 1.2 to its commercial portfolio for launches starting in 2017.
Reston, Virginia-based ILS, whose sole current product, Russia’s heavy-lift Proton rocket, is grounded following a May failure, said the top-of-the-line Angara 5 vehicle would be ready for missions to geostationary orbit starting around 2021.
Angara 5 will launch from Russia’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia, whose construction has met with multiple delays but remains strongly backed by the Russian government. The inaugural Angara 1.2 commercial flight from Vostochny could occur in 2025, ILS said.
Angara 1.2 will debut from northern Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome and subsequently to operate from Vostochny.
From the Plesetsk site, where it conducted a test flight in July 2014, Angara 1.2 will be able to carry 2,350 kilograms of satellite payload into a 750-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit, a common destination for Earth observation satellites.
Plesetsk’s northern latitude is not well-suited to equatorial launches, and from this spaceport Angara 1.2 will focus on high-inclination orbits.
ILS said the state-owned Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, which is prime contractor for both Proton and Angara, is still assembling a mission planner’s guide for Angara 1.2 customers that will detail performance to different orbits.
ILS said Angara 1.2’s maximum performance is 2,960 kilograms of satellite payload to a 200-kilometer circular orbit inclined at 63.2 degrees relative to the equator.
Khrunichev is positioning Angara as a modular rocket with multiple commonalities between the light-lift 1.2 and the heavy Angara 5 versions. In that sense, Angara’s model has been adopted by the 22-nation European Space Agency for its future Vega light-lift and Ariane 6 heavy-lift rockets.
“The Angara system is scalable to meet various performance requirements, and the use of common technology will reap production efficiencies in the factory,” Khrunichev General Director Andrey Kalinovskiy said in a July 16 statement. “This translates to cost savings for customers.”
ILS President Phil Slack said that with the Angara 1.2 added to the ILS portfolio, “we are able to serve the entire spectrum of satellites to all orbits and inclinations. Angara 1.2 has significantly higher performance than Vega and other small launchers, and a more-affordable price tag.”