Kosmos Launch Vehicle "B"
THE SMALL UTILITY LAUNCH VEHICLE ("B")
Kosmos [B-1] Series SL-7
Overview, Supporting Facilities and Launch Vehicles of the
Soviet Space Program *
Just as the United States looked to the Redstone, Thor, Jupiter, Atlas, and Titan in the missile inventory to serve as first stages of space launch vehicles, the Russians also saw the logic of applying the results of extensive military R & D. As discussed, the original ICBM, SS-6 or Sapwood became the standard Soviet launch vehicle from 1957 to the present time, with its lift capability gradually improved to as much as 7.5 metric tons. Even with the economies of serial production, this is still an expensive way to put up every payload whose weight may be a small fraction of 7.5 metric tons.
Moscow parades of military hardware had revealed medium range and intermediate range missiles which should have been quite capable of serving as the first stage of space launch vehicles. One of these, the SS-3 or Shyster was later pictured by the Russians as the largest of four classes of vertical probe rockets used for geophysical payloads and biological flights launched at Kapustin Yar during the late 1950's. Shyster was replaced in parades by an improved version which may have a range of about 1,600 kilometers instead of about 1,000 kilometers like its predecessor. This newer model was code named SS-4 or Sandal. It was the principal rocket which showed up in Cuba during the fall of 1962, so its picture became well known in the United States .
Kapustin Yar, a primary base for test flights of the Shyster and then the Sandal missile, came into use as a space orbital launch site in March of 1962 when Kosmos 1 was announced. The small Kosmos flights, all flown at close to 49 or 48 degree inclinations would have been ideally launched by the Sandal, and that was the conclusion of Western analysts for five years. No specific weights were announced for these groups of Kosmos payloads, strongly suggesting that there would be a large military component among them. However, from a study of the replica payloads which have been put on display, this vehicle should be able to lift from 260 to 425 kilograms to orbit. A Soviet official at the Montreal Expo told David Woods the range was 280 to 600 kilograms. In 1967 at the Paris Air Show, the Russians put on display for the first time the RD-119 upper stage rocket used for this launch vehicle. It had been developed between 1958 and 1962 at the Leningrad Gas Dynamics Laboratory. Its design concept was a little like the RD-107 and RD-108 from the same source. It operates at 'a pressure of 80 atmospheres, has a thrust of 11 tons, and a vacuum Isp. of 353 seconds. It burns unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH) and perhaps liquid oxygen. The single nozzle is bell-shaped, and a single shaft turbo pump system drives the fuel and oxidizer supplies as well as fairly elaborate set of auxiliary nozzles for roll, pitch, and yaw.
Late in 1967, with the expansion of the Moscow Museum of Industrial Achievement, a total assembly of this small Kosmos launcher was put on display. This confirmed the analysts had been right: It did use a modified SS-4 Sandal first stage, with an 'added upper stage powered by the RD-119. Most of the payloads it puts up are spin stabilized, and then the carrier rocket upper stage is separated. In at least one case, the payload was not separated. In another case, two payloads were put up in a single launch. Twice, a special aerodynamic stabilization was used. More recently the first stage rocket engine has been displayed as the RD-214. It has four nozzles, burns kerosene in refined form and nitric acid. Its thrust is 72 tons, the Isp. is 264 seconds, and its chamber pressure is 45 atmospheres.
Although this study is devoted to the space program and not to military hardware per se, so much reference is made to military surface-to-surface missiles, many of which are also used for space purposes that Table 1-10 has been appended to give a quick reference check list of the better known of these.References:
1. SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS, 1971-75, OVERVIEW, FACILITIES AND HARDWARE MANNED AND UNMANNED FLIGHT PROGRAMS, BIOASTRONAUTICS CIVIL AND MILITARY APPLICATIONS PROJECTIONS OF FUTURE PLANS, STAFF REPORT , THE COMMITTEE ON AERONAUTICAL AND SPACE .SCIENCES, UNITED STATES SENATE, BY THE SCIENCE POLICY RESEARCH DIVISION CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, VOLUME – I, AUGUST 30, 1976, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON : 1976,
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|