We find out how manned and unmanned spacecraft are propelled into space from Earth
Now we like the Soyuz rocket, and we like the Delta IV rocket, but which is better? There’s only one way to find out…
See the vehicle go into space and flawlessly return to Earth
The private space company has landed its Falcon 9 on a platform at sea for the very first time
We reveal the answer to this intriguing question
A lot can go wrong in landing a rocket but Elon Musk has done it – with the promise of making space travel affordable
We shed new light on the mysterious dark matter in the latest issue of All About Space – out now!
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) has exploded within a few minutes of launching
We usually catapult spacecraft through the Solar System but how do we slow them down if we need to?
Having been with NASA for over 25 years, Bill Ingalls tells us what it’s like to take photos for the world’s biggest space agency.
Watch some amazing footage of a Saturn V rocket launching to the Moon.
Illustration by Adrian Mann
In the 1980s the Soviet Union designed and built a heavy-lift rocket known as Energia that was comparable to the Space Shuttle, and even the Saturn V, in its lifting capability of 100,000kg (220,000 pounds). It successfully launched the unmanned Soviet Buran shuttle, but was retired not long after.
Since then Russia has rarely delved into the world of super launches. Their biggest rocket currently in operation is the Proton, capable of taking 21,600kg (48,000 lbs) into orbit. That’s quite sizeable in the realm of modern rockets, but it doesn’t come close to the eventual power of NASA’s Space Launch System, which will fly for the first time in 2017.
So for the last few years the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has been drawing up ideas for a mega rocket called the Angara 7. It’s still in a concept stage, but Roscosmos is very much aware of a need for a heavy-lift launcher if they are to carry out their stated goals of taking humans to the Moon.
The rocket currently being touted, which is illustrated above, would be capable of taking at least 35 tons into orbit, although it’s likely this would be upgraded to make a lunar mission possible. Russia has a strong history in the launcher industry with its Proton, Progress and Soyuz rockets being incredibly successful for the past few decades. The Angara 7 could be the rocket Roscosmos needs to begin manned exploration beyond Earth orbit.
This huge next-generation launch vehicle could become Russia’s biggest modern rocket.
Below you can see footage of an unmanned Russian rocket exploding at the Baikonaur Cosmodrome this morning.
Is this the future of rocket travel? SpaceX wows us once again with a ‘hover slam’ demonstration of its Grasshopper technology.
Five of your burning questions about spaceflight answered, right here.