A meeting of the Council of Chief Designers chaired by Designer General,
member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yu.P.Semenov was held at
S.P.Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia to review the results of
the initial development phase of the project for space launcher system
Onega, which is to be operated from launch site at Plesetsk, Russia.

The system is being developed on the basis of a radical upgrade of the
highly-reliable medium-capacity launch vehicle Soyuz, building on the
experience and advances gained in the course of work on the development of
advanced space launcher systems, including such areas as rocket engine
engineering, development of on-board systems for automatic control of launch
vehicles, upper stages and spacecraft, ground infrastructure facilities.
The project envisions addressing a broad spectrum of tasks related to the
orbital insertion of spacecraft for various applications into Earth obits,
including the geostationary orbit. In order to be able to launch from
Plesetsk into high-energy orbits, it is planned to use a newly developed
third stage and a space upper stage with propulsion units using
oxygen+hydrogen as propellants.

It is planned to upgrade the launch vehicle performance in several steps, in
particular, through the use on the upper stage of a solar propulsion unit
using oxygen+hydrogen as its propellant. These measures will allow to
increase the upmass to the geostationary orbit to values that are comparable
with the performance of the existing and future modifications of heavy
launch vehicles operated from Baikonur.

The prime developer for the Onega system is RSC Energia. The project is
being developed by the leaders in the Russian rocket and space industry, who
have proven their worth in the work on Soyuz launch vehicle, Energia/Buran
reusable space launcher system, Sea Launch system and other systems.
Among the participants in the Council meeting were General and Chief
designers, managers and representatives from the companies involved in the
project, as well as representatives from organizations that provide an
independent experts’ assessment of the project.

The Council of Chief designers has reviewed and approved the presented
results of the Onega space launcher system design effort, and, taking into
account the conclusions of independent experts, has recommended that the
developers start working on the conceptual design of the system, assuming
that its flight tests are to start in 2005.