The Rokot-M upgraded carrier rocket with the Russian control system may blast off for the first time in 2022, CEO of the Khrunichev Space Center (the rocket’s developer) Alexei Varochko said on Monday.
“The first launch of the Rokot-M space rocket is planned for 2022. We consider the Rokot carrier as the optimal solution for launching low-orbit small and medium space vehicles into sun-synchronous and near-polar orbits,” the chief executive said.
Considering the prospects of developing this segment of the satellite market, “Russian and foreign operators of satellite systems, national space agencies, organizations and research institutes may be among the potential customers of Rokot-M rockets,” Varochko said.
Specialists of Russia’s Khrunichev Center have completed the technical design of an upgraded Russian Rokot-M carrier rocket that will get a domestic control system instead of the Ukrainian version installed on previous launch vehicles, the Khrunichev Center CEO informed.
“Currently, the technical design work has been completed and the issuance of working design documentation has begun. In order to implement the Rokot-M project, we are planning the same cooperation [of enterprises] but the Briz-KM booster will be outfitted with the domestic control system developed by the Academician Pilyugin Scientific and Production Center of Automatics and Instrument-Making,” the chief executive said.
The Khrunichev Space Center said in its materials presented at the Army 2018 military and technical forum in August 2018 that it was carrying out work on creating the Rokot-2 carrier rocket with a new control system to replace the Ukrainian equipment installed on Rokot launch vehicles.
The Rokot light carrier rocket has been derived from the RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile under the program of re-converting military hardware into civil products.
The first launch of a Rokot rocket took place from the Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia on May 16, 2000. Overall, the Khrunichev Space Center produced and launched 31 rockets with the Ukrainian control system under the Rokot project. The last liftoff of the baseline Rokot launch vehicle took place from the Plesetsk spaceport on December 27, 2019 when it delivered Gonets-M communications satellites and a military space vehicle into orbit.