At the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur Region, the construction of the second launch complex for the Angara space rocket complex is nearing completion. In 2023, it is from it that the heavy-class “Angara-A5” launch vehicle is launched into orbit. When Vostochny is launched in full force, it will be a modern universal cosmodrome for Russia on its own territory. It is from it that all the main launches will be carried out. About what has already been built at the cosmodrome, at what stage is the construction of the century today – in our material.
Where does Luna-25 start from?
Today, Vostochny’s calling card is the launch pad for the Soyuz-2 rocket with its mobile service tower. In the conditions of the local harsh continental climate, when temperatures drop to -50 in winter, such a tower is a real gift to the workers serving the complex.
In total, the Soyuz-2 space rocket complex has 83 structures with an area of 45 thousand square meters. This includes a unified technical complex with a fuel filling system, and technological units for storing and issuing components of this fuel, and, of course, the “brain” of the cosmodrome – its command post and the Complex of measuring instruments, collection and processing of information (KSISO), which is responsible for uninterrupted communication of the cosmodrome with spacecraft.
At present, since 2016, nine launches of the Soyuz-2 rocket have already been carried out from the first launch pad of the cosmodrome.
2021 should be the most productive year in terms of launches. Since January, three rockets with One Web satellites have already been sent into space here (36 vehicles were sent to each launch). Several more launches are planned by the end of the year.
Northern Sea Route for space purposes
The Vostochny cosmodrome, unlike Baikonur, can be called very compact. The designers of the complex itself and the designers of space technology came to the conclusion that the age of unification and optimization requires narrowing the range of launch vehicles, endowing them with modular functionality. Today, the construction of the Angara spacecraft is nearing completion at the cosmodrome.
If the launch pad for the “Soyuz-2” was delivered by railways and highways, for the “Angara” the complex was decided to be transported to the Eastern by water. We ordered a 2000-ton table colossus and a vacuum unit for it in Severodvinsk, at the Industrial Technologies enterprise. On July 17, 2020, the components of the missile system were loaded onto a ship that sailed along the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic Ocean, the Bering Strait, the Barents and Okhotsk Seas up to the Sovetskaya Gavan port. There the multi-ton colossus was loaded onto a barge and transported along the Amur and Zeya rivers to a temporary berth. By the first days of September 2020, the launch pad arrived at its destination.
The operation of unloading and transporting technological equipment from the pier to the Vostochny cosmodrome took place in stages and took four days. The vacuum unit with a diameter of more than 9 meters and large-sized parts of the launch pad were transported as safely as possible on seven road trains.
The transportation took place mainly at night, so as not to interfere with traffic.
For the “Angara” complex – everything is only Russian!
But before the installation of the equipment that arrived at the complex itself, the specialists had to first build its gas reflector. For those who do not really understand what this is for, we explain. A gas deflector is a device designed to protect equipment from a jet of incandescent reactive gases at the time of launching a rocket. In general, such a heat-resistant “apron”.
To date, specialists have completed the work, having installed more than 400 square meters of metal cladding structures for the gas reflector and having completed 550 meters of welded seams. In total, more than 280 tons (!) Of metal were assembled. Well, in the end, steel plates with a thickness of a centimeter were also imposed on this entire structure, the maximum weight of which is 8 tons. In general, the weight of the metal cladding was more than 2,100 tons.
Now you can start assembling the launch pad, which, after the water voyage, was waiting in the wings at the storage sites of the Vostochny cosmodrome.
Now the command post for the “Angara” is being completed here.
Astronauts are waiting for a new deployment
It is assumed that the new Angara space rocket complex will be universal – it will allow launching space launch vehicles of all types: Angara-A5 (aka Angara-5M), Angara-5P (manned) and Angara-5V »(Increased carrying capacity). It is Angara-5V that is currently being considered for sending a manned mission to the moon.
But back to closer goals. As we have already said, the first launch is scheduled for 2023, when they want to launch the first Angara-A5 for this cosmodrome from Vostochny. The model of the new ship “Eagle” will be sent into space as a payload. In 2025, the first manned launch from Vostochny is to take place. This will require the already manned version of the “Angara” – “Angara-A5P”. A whole infrastructure for the life and maintenance of astronauts is also being prepared at the cosmodrome. There should be built: a complex for pre-flight training of cosmonauts, a complex for pre-launch training of the crew with training equipment. Roscosmos specialists are already working on the creation of a cosmonaut search and rescue complex.
Special commissions determined the locations of all the above complexes, and the designers began to create sketches.
Baikonur residents share their experience
Now more than two and a half thousand people work at the Vostochny cosmodrome. Most of them are residents of the Amur Region. Hundreds of rocket engineers are graduates of Amur State University. They provide launches of carrier rockets. Experienced rocket scientists from Baikonur also work in Vostochny and share their experience with young colleagues. In addition, highly qualified specialists from other regions of the country come to the cosmodrome under the Labor Mobility Program. It has been in operation for several years. During this time, hundreds of specialists moved to Vostochny from Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Omsk, Saratov and other cities.
Well, for the life of employees and their families in the city of Tsiolkovsky, which is very close to the cosmodrome, for the employees of the Vostochny cosmodrome, a new microdistrict “Zvezdny” is under construction. Seven nine-storey buildings have already been commissioned, and several more new buildings are planned to be commissioned by the end of the year. Social infrastructure is also being built: in 2017, a new clinic of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency began operating, the city administration is working in a new administrative building. For several years now, a new modern kindergarten with a swimming pool has been operating in the new microdistrict.