Russia’s First Reusable Rocket with Payload Coming in 2026

Russia's Space State Corporation Roscosmos signed on Monday a contract with the the Progress Space Rocket Center on the conceptual designing of the Amur-SPG space rocket center for a new Amur reusable methane-fueled rocket.

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"The aim of this work will be to design a new commercially-oriented space rocket complex with a booster rocket operating on liquefied natural gas and liquid oxygen. The new rocket will have a reversible first stage and reusable liquid engines. Their development has already been underway at the Chemical Automatics Design Bureau (part of the NPO Energomash integrated structure of the Roscosmos State Corporation, Voronezh) since 2016," said the press service of the Corporation.

Roscosmos said that under according to preliminary calculations, the complex being created can begin providing flight tests as early as 2026. It is intended to carry out a phased replacement of the existing family of Soyuz-2 launch vehicles.

The ground tests of the rocket’s engines based on the methane propellant are expected to be completed by late 2024. The infrastructure for the Amur reusable rocket will be built at the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East alongside the work to develop the rocket and should be completed immediately before the date of the carrier’s first launch, said the Executive Director for Long-Term Programs and Science at Roscosmos, Alexander Bloshenko to TASS on Monday.

As Roscosmos specified for TASS, Russia’s first reusable rocket will have a take-off weight of about 360 tonnes and will be 55 meters high and 4.1 meters in dimeter. The launch vehicle will comprise a reusable first stage and a non-recoverable second stage. Both of them will use methane-fueled engines.

The Amur rocket with a reusable stage will be able to deliver up to 10.5 tonnes of payload to a low near-Earth orbit while its expandable version will have the capacity to orbit 12.5 tonnes.