Tales from the Edict 14 - The Bear Shakes off its Slumber
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
The day the political leader of Russia declared he was standing down from the presidency to run the Russian Space Agency (formerly Roscosmos) was the moment Russia stepped back into the space race. Fuelled by the prodigious fortune amassed by the former president, Russia’s intentions were made clear with the wholesale sackings of deadwood senior management across the entire Russian space and aerospace industries. Within six months the reinvigoration was beginning to show. The design arm of NPO Energomash unveiled a radically updated version of its RD-170, the RD-200 pushed propulsive efficiency to new levels while also demonstrating high levels of reusability.
Married to the re-born super heavy rocket design Yenisei, Russia once more had the 100+ ton lift capability necessary for deep space development. The building of a spaceport 100 miles south of Samara also alleviated the transportation problems that had beset the Soviet-era planning. Transportation of large components had previously been a bottleneck for vehicle delivery to central and far eastern launch facilities.
In 2026 the first operational Yenisei launch took place, sending the proven Orel space vehicle and extended cargo bay into space where a module of the ROS (Russian Orbital Station) Budushcheye was deployed into a geosynchronous orbit. Thereafter, Yenisei rockets made monthly launches to rapidly build the size and capability of Budushcheye.
After the successful deployment of Budushcheye, the timing was right and in 2028 the Russian space agency was, as anticipated since 2022, formally passed into ‘private ownership’ and became a part of the Kremlin Collective. The stated settlement of $8.4bn bought the Kremlin Collective complete ownership over all assets, including intellectual property. To the outside this move was seen as a mere name change. The Kremlin Collective, the vehicle of the former president's ambitions, had been suspected of running the show since its inception.
Soon after, the construction of ROS Laika, destined for lunar orbit, began. Using the same core modules as ROS Budushcheye helped speed the construction and Laika arrived in lunar orbit in June 2030. Laika delivered an automated cargo to the surface of the moon the following year which started the construction of the Gagarin facility.
The Kremlin Collective surprised it’s competitors with the announcement of ROS Venera-D, a Venus bound orbital platform. Having started construction in 2028, after a new direction set out by the Kremlin Collective, the programme utilised the workhorse Soyuz-Fregat rocket and the same core modules as Laika ROS. The first module of ROS Venera-D set course for Venus in February 2030. After arriving successfully an additional 2 modules were launched and attached in 2031. Plans to upgrade Venera-D to a manned orbital platform are underway with three scheduled deliveries of modules over the next 3 year before a manned flight to the space station in 2035.