UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



"KORONA" launch vehicle (LV) - single-stage reusable launch vehicle with vertical take-off and landing. Single-stage reusable launch vehicles may be the result of the near-Earth space exploration. Development was carried out of "SRC Makeyev" from 1992 to 2012. The level of work carried out complies predeskizny. Design studies were carried out, created by the development of the concept of pH, identify key technical and technological solutions. As of the 2013 work was curtailed due to lack of funding, but the project was revived in 2017.

The Advanced Research Foundation proposed the Makeyev State Rocket Center to create a demonstration of a light launch vehicle with a reusable first stage. Research on space rocket complexes with reusable first stages of various schemes, including vertical landing, is registered in the Avangard / Flagman research project, which TsNIImash will begin to carry out by order of Roscosmos in 2018.

According to designers, unlike Space X's Falcon 9, the KORONA is not just a rocket, but a spacecraft, capable of takeoff and landing, with its development effectively opening the path to interplanetary flights with crew onboard. Work on the KORONA, a launch vehicle designed for vertical takeoff and landing, started in the 1990s, but was frozen in 2012 due to lack of funding. The KORONA project has seen a variety of iterations since its inception in 1992, with earlier iterations planning to make use of the Buran, the Soviet answer to the US space shuttle, before that project was dropped. Since the mid-1990s, new designs have been developed and gradually tweaked.

The KORONA project calls for the creation of a single-stage, completely reusable carrier rocket which has no detachable intermediate stages. As a true vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, the KORONA will be equipped with shock absorbers, according to Molchanov. Its most energy intensive components are being designed to be used up to 25 times, with the system as a whole intended to have a useful life of 100 flights. he vehicle is expected to be made of carbon fiber, reinforced by ceramic tiles for thermal protection upon reentry. The KORONA's external engine is set to include a modular combustion chamber burning an environmentally friendly fuel, with kerosene and liquefied oxygen presently being considered.

Engineers from the Makeyev Design Bureau's Rocket Center in Miass, Chelyabinsk region confirmed that the spacecraft will be able to carry up to seven tons of cargo into space, or 12 tons into low Earth orbit. Engineers expect the KORONA to prove highly useful for piloted cosmonautics, including for the shuttling of cosmonauts and astronauts to orbital space stations. According to unconfirmed reports, the vehicle has a total launch weight of 300 tons, and dimensions including a height of 30 m, and a diameter of 10 m.

KORONA is one of several historic designs for a reusable, single-stage space carrier; which also include the McDonnell Douglas DC-X system in the US, and Japan’s RVT project. The Russian robotic vehicle, ironically, was not intended to be a reusable rocket, as suggested by its name. The acronym KORONA stands for a phrase in Russian meaning “One-use space rocket, single-stage carrier for spacecraft.” Designers later suggested reusing the expensive rocket in the interest of economic efficiency.

Up to the 1990s, there was no logistical ability to create such carriers - to enter into low Earth orbit requires a characteristic speed (the speed of removal operations in the amount of all losses: gravity, aerodynamics, etc.) is not less than 8.5 km / from. According to Tsiolkovsky rocket equation is easy to calculate that for oxygen-hydrogen engines with exhaust velocity of about 4500 m/s, the required design perfection is not less than 0.15 (the ratio of the dry weight of the weight of the missiles tucked). And it is - without taking into account the mass of the payload and fuel costs for the return. At the beginning of the XX century Tsiolkovsky KE , realizing the difficulties of contemporary engineering in building missiles with such perfection, he invented the "missile train" (multi-stage boosters). The use of modern materials and technologies should allow to realize the idea of a single-stage vehicle with no detachable parts. In 2013 there were a number of similar projects (in the style of "single stage to orbit") - Delta Clipper (DC-X), to the New Shepard company, and the Blue Origin.

It is intended for the launch of space vehicles (SV) and the spacecraft with the upper stage (RB) in the low-Earth circular orbits of 200-500 km. The launch weight of about 300 tons. The weight of the payload (PI) to 7 m, depending on the latitude of the launch, inclination and altitude of the orbit formed by the support (some sources mention "special breeding scheme" in which the engine can output up to 11-12 tons, details unknown). Fuel oxygen / hydrogen. Sustainer engine of external expansion with a central body (modular combustion chamber) - similar in design engines Series J-2T) Rocketdyne, the rocket engine designer is unknown.

The possibility of creating a single-stage rocket to fly into orbit did not appear immediately. The main difficulty lies in the fact that a single-stage orbital rocket must have a very light construction - no more than 15 tons for every 100 tons of take-off weight, and taking into account the need to remove the payload and even less. The rest of the weight should fall on high-energy oxygen-hydrogen fuel. It was problematic for the technologies of the last century - given the fact that, for example, on a lunar rocket "Saturn-5", the electronic control system alone weighed about 2 tons! But now microelectronic systems have become almost weightless and modern composite materials have appeared, which make it possible to reduce the weight of the rocket design to that required in single-stage carriers.

Taking into account new opportunities, the development of single-stage orbital rockets began in the 1990s - the Delta Clipper in the USA, the RVT in Japan and the KORONA in Russia. All these projects have quite a lot in common and are based on the principle of vertical (rocket) launch and landing. Their fate was difficult, because the bosses of the space industry, without much enthusiasm, perceived the new trend. The most advanced American project Delta Clipper, embodied in the flying prototype was roughly, using administrative resources, was closed at the initiative of the management of Lockheed Martin. Currently, work has been resumed on the Russian KORONA; as for the competing American project, his team has become private and has switched to the two-stage project New Glenn.


The abbreviation CORONA stands for "Space Rocket, Single Stage Carrier". SRC Makeeva has been developing this rocket since 1992. In the course of creating a single-stage rocket, several designs were developed, differing from each other in starting mass, using wings, additional starting accelerators, etc. The current scheme of the KORONA 2000 is based on three innovative solutions.

The rocket scheme of vertical take-off and landing, the most famous supporter of which was the first cosmonaut engineer KP. Feoktistov. The vertical takeoff and landing apparatus does not have wings that do not operate at hypersonic speeds and only worsen the thermal regime of the structure when returning from orbit to Earth. The wedge-shaped view of the KORONA body allowed to reduce the mass of thermal protection up to 6% of the total mass of the rocket design. For comparison, on the obsolete winged American "shuttle" the relative mass of high-temperature thermal protection is more than 20%.

The Makeev designers opted for the latter and say they want a new aerospike engine to be developed for KORONA. This type of engine uses a spike-shaped plug instead of a traditional expanding bell-shaped nozzle to direct the engine exhaust. The design has been studied for years and was even considered at one point for the main engine of the Space Shuttle. However, no commercial model is available at present. The Bureau says the rocket would use liquid hydrogen and oxygen for propellant and oxidizer.

A powerful oxygen-hydrogen rocket engine with a central body that works equally well at different heights combines the properties of a liquid and direct-flow jet engines - the gas jet in such a rocket engine adjusts to atmospheric pressure and effectively operates both at the surface and in the stratosphere. This is a fundamental requirement for creating a truly single-stage rocket without the use of starters. This rocket engine is the only element of the KORONA design that has not yet been developed in practical cosmonautics.

Lightweight carbon fiber body with a central payload between the large tanks for liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. This is done to improve alignment when returning cargo from orbit. Heavier tank (with oxidizer) is located at the top of the rocket.

The reusable KORONA has a starting mass that is traditional for Russian middle-class missiles - about 300 tons. At the same time, the payload at low earth orbit is up to 6 tons when launching from Russia and up to 7 tons when launching from a sea platform at the equator - this is close to the capabilities of the popular three-stage Soyuz rocket.

A feature of the layout is a cone-shaped body compartment location in the central part of the carrier rocket. Upon returning to Earth PH controlled jet thruster produces an active maneuvering with the help of a lifting body strength in the upper atmosphere to exit the area of the spaceport. Take-off and landing is carried out with the use of simplified structures starting from the runway area. Start and landing with takeoff and landing shock absorbers placed in the rear part. The pH of this type can be used to launch offshore platforms, because it does not need a runway for landing and can use the same platform for takeoff and landing.

According to various reports the value of the development is estimated between 2.1 and 3.0 billion dollars. In the prices of 2012. If this information is correct, RN could seriously compete with the modern disposable launch vehicle. The degree of reusability as a whole - 100 flights, its individual elements - not less than 25. The most similar to this booster rocket development McDonnel of Douglas - Delta Clipper (DC-X), is a model unit of reusable launch vehicle and committed in the 1990s aa ttoal of 12 test flights within the earth's atmosphere.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 16-01-2019 13:15:42 ZULU