MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti) – The NPO Energomash company has completed trials of a new engine for proposed Russian lightweight carrier rocket Soyuz 2.1 and is currently preparing it for serial production, the company’s CEO said.
“We have completed tests of the new RD-193 engine, designed for Soyuz 2.1 lightweight [rockets]. We are now preparing documents of how to integrate it with the rocket,” Energomash CEO Vladimir Solntsev said.
Soyuz-2.1V maker Progress said last month that the first launch of Russia’s new lightweight carrier rocket, scheduled for early 2013 from the Plesetsk space center, is likely to be delayed until the second half of 2013.
During its first launches, the new rocket will be equipped with the legendary NK-33 rocket engines, developed in the 1970’s to carry Soviet cosmonauts to the moon onboard the giant N1 rocket.
“Those engines have been kept in stock for several decades and are out of production now. There is approximately 20 of them, enough for a dozen of launches, and by that time the new engine should be ready,” Solntsev said.
Soyuz-2.1V is a modernized version of the Soyuz-2.1B, from which the Soyuz rocket’s trademark four external booster rockets have been removed. The rocket is capable of delivering a payload of up to 2.85 tons (6,300 lb) to an orbit at an altitude of 200 kilometers (120 miles), Progress claims.