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SpaceX founder Musk backs Russian space agency’s plan to develop reusable rocket Amur

Photographers prepare remote cameras to capture the scheduled launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft attached from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 26, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AFP/Joe Raedle). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Oct 6, 2020, TASS. Russia’s State Space Agency Roscosmos has made the right decision to develop a reusable rocket, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Tuesday, TASS reported.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Musk twitted, commenting on the material released by TASS on Monday on Russia’s plans to develop the Amur methane-fueled rocket with a reusable first stage.

Russia should really aim for a fully reusable rocket by 2026 when the Amur’s first launch is scheduled, Musk stressed.

“Goal should be to minimize cost per useful ton to orbit or it will at best serve a niche market,” Musk said, responding to a report with a reference to the TASS material where the configuration design of the Amur reusable rocket was unveiled.

A larger rocket would also make sense for literal economies of scale, Musk added.

Roscosmos and the Progress Rocket and Space Center signed a contract on Monday on developing the conceptual design of the Amur-SPG space rocket center for Russia’s first reusable methane-fueled rocket. The rocket will get a reusable first stage and its launches will be carried out from the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East.

The cost of the work on creating the reusable rocket will not exceed 70 billion rubles (around $880 million) while the price of a launch service is stipulated at the level of $22 million, Roscosmos told TASS.

The reusable rocket is set to blast off for the first time together with a payload in 2026. The launch vehicle will be able to orbit up to 12.5 tonnes of payload.

Roscosmos also plans to develop a larger rocket with an increased lifting capacity.

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