Air Launch airborne space-rocket complex
The Air Launch airborne space-rocket complex is being developed to expand the participation of Russia in launching spacecraft on the world space service market.
The Air Launch concept is innovative with highly reliable proved solutions and provides for use of the AN-124-100 Ruslan carrier aircraft as a flying launch pad; creation of a 100-ton Polyot LV on the basis of highly reliable tried-and-true systems and engines operating on ecologically friendly fuel components (liquid oxygen + kerosene); LV launch with an air launcher when carrying out a "zoom" manoeuvre decreasing g-loads up to 0.1-0.3.
The Air Launch airborne space-rocket complex can be used for injection of low-orbit light-class communications satellites, remote sensing of the Earth surface and atmosphere; injection of light-class satellites to explore the Earth, near-earth and solar space practically into any near-earth orbits; injection of light-class telecommunications, observation and navigation satellites.
The Air Launch airborne space-rocket complex makes possible launching with no need for expensive ground launching facilities, flexibility in selecting a launch point, including subequatorial latitudes, to ensure a wide range of orbit inclinations without additional restricted zones for falling spent stages, installation of satellites aboard the rocket in the territory nearest and most suitable for the launch customer.
In 2005, by a Decree of the RF Government the Air Launch R&D project was included into the Russian Federal Space Program for 2006-2015 on the extra-budgetary basis. The Air Launch Aerospace Corporation was appointed the R&D customer and SRC was appointed the head executor by a decision of the Federal Space Agency.