15 Aug 2023 14:54

Maiden flight of Russia's Oryol spacecraft set for 2028

KUBINKA (Moscow region). Aug 15 (Interfax) - The first launch of Russia's Oryol new-generation spacecraft to the Russian space station is expected to take place from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in 2028, Russian space station chief designer Vladimir Kozhevnikov told Interfax on the sidelines of the Army 2023 Forum.

"The prospective spacecraft's first flight will include its docking to the [Russian space] station. It will be an unmanned, test flight. The deployment of the station is due to start in 2028, and the spacecraft will fly to it," Kozhevnikov said.

The Oryol will blast off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, he said. Meanwhile, launches of Progress resupply ships bound for the Russian space station will be conducted from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but "will subsequently be moved to Vostochny," he said.

A new resupply ship relying on the Oryol spacecraft's technologies could be developed to replace the Progress, he said.

"We have submitted such proposals - to create different versions of the new-generation spacecraft, a spaceship which will also include a cargo compartment. It could be passenger, cargo, cargo and passenger with a platform for carrying large amounts of cargo," Kozhevnikov said.

"These proposals are not intended for the first stage of deployment, but are for the period after 2030," he said.

Roscosmos said on July 3 that mockup tests of the Oryol reusable spacecraft are expected in 2024-2025 at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Russia is developing the Oryol reusable spaceship under the Federatsiya R&D program. The spacecraft will be delivering crews and cargo to space stations in near-Earth orbit and will serve as a key element of the lunar exploration concept.

On April 10, 2023, Roscosmos first deputy head Andrei Yelchaninov said in an interview with Interfax that the project for developing the Oryol spacecraft for missions to the Moon would be reconsidered. The groundwork done for the Oryol spacecraft project will be used to design a new, light spacecraft for flights to the prospective Russian space station.

On December 26, 2022, Roscosmos Executive Director for Manned Space Programs Sergei Krikalev said in an interview with Interfax that Russia's new Oryol spaceship can fly to the Moon only if it is propelled by a super-heavy-lift rocket.