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Energia Launch Vehicle

Soviet designers did not follow the path of copying the American Shuttle. It was decided to create a universal design capable of not only delivering 30 tons into orbit and releasing 20 tons of cargo from it, like Americans, but also being able to deliver loads of up to 100 tons into orbit. A unique system "Energy" - "Buran" (general designer VP Glushko) was created. Since the design organizations of the rocket and space ministry, which was then called the Ministry of General Engineering, had no experience in developing aircraft systems, the Molniya NGO (chief designer GE Lozino-Lozinsky) was established in the structure of the Ministry of Aviation Industry, which since 1976 became the lead developer of the space shuttle Buran and conducted a large series of theoretical and experimental studies to create this unique spacecraft. When creating the space system "Energia" - "Buran", 85 new materials were developed, which by their properties are much higher than traditional ones, 20 unique automation and control systems were designed, 400 inventions were registered, 20 patents and 100 licenses were obtained. The first flight of the launch vehicle Energia was carried out on May 15, 1987. As an experimental load on the rocket was installed 75 ton spacecraft - a prototype of the orbital laser platform. The rocket worked normally, but the spacecraft was not brought into the calculated orbit due to a failure in the orientation system of the spacecraft itself. The second flight of the launch vehicle "Energy" was carried out on November 15, 1988. The space shuttle Buran (without pilots) was installed on the rocket. It was a brilliant flight. The "Buran" orbited two times skirted the Earth, then descended from orbit, turned over the Baikonur cosmodrome and landed in automatic mode with high accuracy. The deviation from the center of the runway did not exceed one meter. In the beginning of 1990, work on the Energy-Buran program was suspended, and in 1993 the whole program was completely closed. At the Baikonur Cosmodrome several carrier rockets, Energia, were in various stages of readiness. Two of them became the property of Kazakhstan, but were destroyed on May 12, 2002 when the roof of the assembly and testing building collapsed on the site 112. Three were at different stages of manufacturing at NPO Energia, but after the closure of the work, this reserve was destroyed, the shells of the missiles were either cut or thrown away, and several Buranovs were shown for a long time at all exhibitions, both here and abroad.
Background Information
First Launch:



  • Two-stage liquid fueled vehicle
  • Stage 0 strap-ons each have four-chamber engine RD-170 engine burning LO2/ kerosene propellant fed from stage 1 tank, generating a total of lb of thrust. Blocks "A" are unified with the first stage of the medium-sized carrier rocket "Zenith". The engines of both stages have a closed cycle with afterburning of the exhausted turbine gas in the main combustion chamber.
  • Stage 1 core has booster engine burning LO2/ propellant fed from stage 1 tanks, generating lb of thrust


Launch Weight:
,000 lb
Liftoff Thrust:
Payload Fairing:

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Page last modified: 09-07-2018 13:25:01 ZULU