Russia has stopped technical design of a super-heavy rocket for flights to the Moon, but it is possible that work may be resumed after specifying the program, Dmitry Baranov, general director of the Samara Rocket and Space Center (RSC) Progress, told RIA Novosti.
In December last year, Dmitry Rogozin, the general director of Roscosmos, announced on Facebook that the project of a super-heavy rocket, which was named Yenisei (and in a heavier version, Don), would be revised to use more breakthrough technologies - methane as fuel instead of oxygen and kerosene. In January 2021, the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences recommended postponing the creation of a super-heavy rocket. And in February, Baranov told the media that the technical design of the Yenisei missile had been suspended due to the possibility of correcting its appearance. Now work on the creation of an oxygen-kerosene superheavy rocket has been completely stopped.
"RCC" Progress "really stopped work on" Elements of STK ", - said Baranov.
He clarified that the work was stopped at the technical design stage. It was previously assumed that it will end in October 2021.
The experimental design work "STK Elements" provided for the development of key elements and technologies for the creation of a super-heavy space rocket complex. It was carried out by Progress by order of Roskosmos. The rocket was to be assembled from the Soyuz-5 and Soyuz-6 missiles being developed by the Progress RCC on the RD171MV and RD-180MV oxygen-kerosene engines.
At the same time, Baranov did not rule out that in the future the corresponding work could be resumed, if such a decision is made by Roskosmos. At the same time, he noted, the enterprise, together with the state corporation, "is working to clarify the program for creating a space rocket complex for a super-heavy carrier rocket."
Earlier, a source of RIA Novosti reported that instead of an oxygen-kerosene super-heavy rocket, a methane carrier of a super-heavy class could be created in Russia: six side blocks will be placed around the central one - all with the RD-182 engine (powerful methane engines), and the upper stage based on the RD-0169 (methane engine). According to the interlocutor, the initiative to switch to methane fuel from kerosene-oxygen is a personal initiative of the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin.