Test launch of Russia's light LV Soyuz-2.1v due in October

The first test launch of Russia's light launch vehicle Soyuz-2.1v from the Plesetsk Space Center has been scheduled for the first ten days of October, a Space Center spokesman told Interfax-AVN.

The first test launch of Russia's light launch vehicle Soyuz-2.1v from the Plesetsk Space Center has been scheduled for the first ten days of October, a Space Center spokesman told Interfax-AVN.

"A Soyuz-2.1v rocket powered with a Volga upper stage and carrying two SKRL-756 calibration spheres and the Aist No. 1 satellite may lift off on October 10," he said.

The Soyuz-2.1v test launch was originally scheduled for the beginning of 2012 but had to be delayed after an accident during the firing tests of the rocket's first stage.

The accident occurred when the Space Industry Research Center was testing the Soyuz-2 engine in August 2011. The engine of a Soyuz rocket stage and the bench were damaged.

Alexander Kirillin, head of Samara CSKB-Progress (the designer and manufacturer of the rocket), told Interfax-AVN in late August that the first rocket which had already been delivered to Plesetsk would be replaced with the second prototype and sent back to the plant for modernization.

"We are preparing the second prototype with a slightly different pressurization system. We will coordinate this decision with the client next week and replace the first prototype with the second in October," Kirillin said.

Soyuz-2.1v is a two-stage light vehicle built to launch satellites from Soyuz-2 pads. It is a modification of Soyuz-2.1b without side boosters and with the NK-33A engine installed in the central unit and the RD0110R control engine. The Soyuz-2.1b third stage is upgraded in the new rocket.

The lightweight launch vehicle has been developed due to the increased demand for launching small satellites.

Soyuz-2.1v is capable of carrying satellites of up to 2,800 kilograms to low circular orbits from Plesetsk. The Volga upper stage can bring satellites of up to 1,400 kilograms into sun synchronous orbits.

There will be two stages in test flights of the new rocket: three launches are planned as a part of development testing and two as a part of qualification tests.

Aist is a small scientific and educational satellite built by CSKB-Progress together with the Samara Aerospace University.

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