Russian Space Agency to Equip Zenit Rocket With Methane Engine
Russia's Federal Space Agency is planning to create a methane-powered version of the Zenit carrier rocket.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos is planning to create a methane-powered version of the Zenit carrier rocket, local media reported Thursday.
'It was initially planned to fit methane engines to the Fenix rocket, but later, after considering the budgetary situation, we decided not to create a fundamentally different rocket, instead returning to recreating the Russian Zenit [rocket],' the Izvestia newspaper quoted a Russian Federal Space Program planner as saying.
The new methane-powered engine will be created on the basis of the RD-171 liquid-fuel rocket engine, the planner added, stating that Roscosmos will create a model of the engine within the 2016-2025 experimental construction plan timeframe. Over 25 billion rubles ($327 million) have been requested to fund the plan, part of which will be used to fund the initial engine.
The Zenit launch vehicle is produced by the Ukrainian Yuzhmash manufacturer using approximately 70 percent Russian-made components. Work on developing the Fenix rocket is due to begin in 2018, according to Roscosmos. The new rocket family is due to replace the Soviet-developed Soyuz launch system.
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