Recently we were informed about variety of proposed new rockets by Russian space industry. It seems that only one, Phoenix rocket project was lucky – it will be developed for sure (at least for the present moment) in following years.
Yesterday, on 20 January 2016, TASS news agency announced that new Federal Space Program for years 2016-2025 includes developing new medium rocket which will be Phoenix – with total budget of $367 million. It is less than in previous planned budget, when it was considered to support Phoenix with $430 million and maybe there will be more cost cutting, which became recently sign of Roscosmos announcements. Project will start on 2018 and all ground tests should be finished to 2025. Phoenix will be medium weight rocket able to lift up to 17 t to LEO. Rocket will be developed by Progress State Research and Production Rocket Space Center. It seems that other project by RCC Progress, Soyuz-5 rocket will be suspended or eventually it will be adopted for Phoenix program. You can read more about Phoenix and Soyuz-5 here.
Phoenix will be also treated as beginning and base (and eventually as the first stage) to be utilized in project of new heavy rocket which development will start on 2018. According to Igor Komarov, director general of the state corporation “Roscosmos”, it is possible to develop new heavy rocket with LEO payload capability at approximately 100 t. Still, decision about future of new Russian heavy rocket will be taken in 2017. So for the moment it is known that Roscosmos will work under new project of medium rocket, while separate program of super heavy rocket will be started after technical specification for Phoenix will be ready. At the moment it seems that Roscosmos will try to reach first stage of rocket fleet modernization and replace Soyuz and Zenith with Phoenix which could be also potential first stage for super heavy rocket. At the same time Angara rocket family, which is present on the market, will be used for current missions until Phoenix will not be ready.