Dear Mr. Derechin,
I am a member of the Mars Society, a space advocate society. The society is very interested in manned space flight to Mars. To this end, I and the other members of the society, are interested in the Energia rocket. I would appreciate if you could spend the effort to inform me of the lift capabilities and cost of the different configurations of the Energia rocket. I am not asking for an expensive study, I am just hoping this information is on-hand.
The specifications I have read from one source indicates the Energia rocket was designed to be a flexible launch system. The configuration with two strap-on boosters was called Groza, the configuration with four strap-on boosters was called Buran, and the six booster version retained the original name Vulkan. The same document, however, states the Energia was to have a flexible configuration from two to eight boosters. The Buran configuration, it claims, can lift 88 tonnes to an orbital altitude of 200km. The maximum configuration was to have an axial configuration and an upper stage providing a total lift capability of 200 tonnes. Are these specifications true? What was the lift capability for the Groza configuration?
I have been informed by one individual in your U.S.A. office, Energia Ltd., that the Energia rocket is out of production but that you have done a study a couple of years ago that indicated it would cost between $60 million and $100 million to retool the factories in order to bring the Energia rocket back into production. Could you please confirm this is true? I also notice that you have several Energia rockets left in storage in your MIK assembly building in the Baikonur cosmodrome. Could you inform me how many are there, and if any of these are available for sale? I would also like to know how much it would cost to purchase one of these Energia rockets, if available, including the cost to launch.
If possible, I would appreciate an estimate for the cost to develop and launch a Vulkan configuration with lift capability in the 120 tonne range and the maximum configuration.
I appreciate the time you have taken to read my letter.
Chairman Winnipeg Chapter
Mars Society Canada