Russia’s replacement for the Proton rocket costs way too much

Enlarge / Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin visits the construction site for the launch pad for the rocket boosters of the Angara family, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (credit: Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images)

In recent months, the Russian space industry has talked a good game about its plans for developing new rockets to compete on the international stage.

One of the country’s storied rocket engine manufacturers, NPO Energomash, announced it was working on developing a large, methane-fueled rocket engine, named the RD-0177. This engine was part of an overall plan for a “new generation” of rockets. The work comes as three US rocket companies, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and Blue Origin, are building their next-generation rockets around methane engines.

Additionally, Russian officials have continued to talk about developing the Soyuz 5 rocket—a medium-lift rocket that is supposed to provide affordable access to space. This booster has been linked to Sea Launch’s floating spaceport as well as human launches in the mid-2020s.

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