A source from the Foundation for Advanced Studies (FPI), in a conversation with the RIA Novosti news agency, noted that the prototype of the winged stage of a reusable rocket, with the possibility of returning back to the cosmodrome at hypersonic speed, will be presented by 2023. At the moment, the technical assignment is being prepared, and the direct work on creating the stage will begin sometime in the first half of 2019.
The source noted that the project’s goal is to create a full-featured demonstrator with a rocket engine. The prototype will have to pass the whole test cycle, starting from the start, then – going to the obsolete height, having completed the test by returning and landing back to the spaceport.
“At subsonic demonstrators, which are planned to be done within the next four years, automatic landing and subsonic flight modes will be worked out, and hypersonic modes, respectively, hypersonic regimes,” the FPI representative commented.
As it became known, the “Baikal” project was used as the prototype of the returned stage, which was developed by the Center. Khrunichev. The source of the news explained that “Baikal” was chosen because of the presence of a swivel wing, which is in the folded state at the launch of the rocket. When recruiting the required height, the wing is decomposed, and the stage passes hypersonic, transonic and subsonic stages. The stage is planned to be put on the strip in automatic mode as an airplane.
“Having studied all such projects, they came to the conclusion that the most interesting thing for Russia is the return of the stage in the airplane,” the FPI specified.
It is also noted that the development of a reusable winged stage will take into account the experience of many world developments, including the American company SpaceX, whose head is an entrepreneur.