60 Years. TsAGI — to the Universe: Angara, Russian Launch Vehicle
17 March 2021
The Angara is a glorious name of one of the main rivers of the Siberia; this river is the only one to flow out of the Baikal lake. This name is given to the new Russian launch vehicle which includes a family of low-earth-orbit launch vehicles, from small- to heavy-lift.
The new launch vehicle creation started in 1992. Two years later, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center was assigned as a leading developer organization. In March 1997, the Center administration proposed a radical review of the initially-accepted Angara design. Step-by-step, its current arrangement was being elaborated, based on universal rocket modules.
The new launch vehicle is being collectively created by Russian industrial enterprises and builders. TsAGI contributed greatly into creation of Angara. The specialists of the institute actively solved the problems related to Angara’s aerodynamics, heat and flight mechanics.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the scientists of TsAGI—S. Drozdov, V. Brazhko, A. Skuratov, D. Fyodorov—performed a comprehensive aerodynamic-heating test cycle for Angara 5, the multi-block heavy-lift launch vehicle of a new-generation. The wind tunnel tests in TsAGI T-117 and UT-1M WTs used fusible thermal indicators, fluorescent paints and sensors. The particular attention was paid to the heat transfer between the blocks and at the communication centers. Pressure pulsations in open areas were also studied. This work contributed to the successful launch of the vehicle in December 2014 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
Furthermore, TsAGI specialists—N. Blagoveschensky, I. Belov, S. Zadonsky participated in research on the creation of the Baikal reusable booster for the Angara launch vehicle. Baykal has a movable straight wing as well as fully-deflectable fin and tailplane.
The developers faced the task of enabling the vehicle to separate from the rocket launcher and automatically return to the launch site, and land on the airstrip as a winged UAV. Baykal may be used with small-lift, medium-lift and heavy-lift launch vehicles from Angara rocket family, as well as a part with other launch vehicles.
Currently Angara is an up-to-date Russian launch vehicle, which includes a family of environmentally friendly launch vehicles with different payload capabilities and allow the launch of up to 37.5 tons of payload to low-earth orbit (Angara A5V modification). Among the key features of the complex are the use of exclusively Russian components; the possibility to create launch vehicles of different payload capabilities based on universal rocket modules; environmentally safe fuel components — kerosene and liquid oxygen.