Shtil Launch Vehicle

The Russians have tried to convert submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) for use as commercial satellite launchers. The Makeyev center, the developer of Russian SLBMs, has developed the Shtil class of launch vehicles based on the R-29RM (SS-N-23) SLBM. In July 1998, a three-stage Shtil rocket became the first submarine-launched rocket to launch a satellite into orbit. The Shtil-1N, based on the liquid-fuel RSM-54 (NATO designator SS-N-23), was initially planned to begin orbital flights with payloads of up to 510 kg in 1995 from the Severkosmos ground facilities at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The larger Shtil-3N would have an increased payload of 950 kg (References 229-233).

On the base of sea-launched rocket RSM-54 is developed the family of the rocket-space complexes: "Shtil", "Shtil-2.1 ", "Shtil-2R". They are intended for the launching of small size automatic spacecraft to the near earth orbits. Launchings of carrier rockets are produced from the tubes of submarines or from above-ground launcher located on the north of Russia. The use of a submarine as the launching system permits implementation of launchings of carrier rockets Shtil practically to any orbit inclinations. Carrier rocket Shtil ensures starting to the near earth orbit of automatic spacecraft with mass to 100 kg. for an improvement in the conditions of positioning the payload it is developed the version of carrier rocket Shtil-2.1 with the nose fairing. During the equipment of rocket with the nose fairing of larger volume and by small size starting block ("Shtil-2R") the mass of payload grows to 200 kgf and volume for positioning the payload substantially increases.

Shtil' (Russian: literally "still", figuratively "Calm Weather") is a modified R-29RM (RSM-54/SS-N-23) three-stage submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) used to orbit small satellites. The launcher, offered by the State Rocket Center (also known as the Makeyev Design Bureau) of Miass, Chelyabinsk, Russia, can lift up to 160 kg into a 200 km low earth orbit when launched from a submerged Delta IV class submarine in the Barents Sea off Russia's northern coastline.

An SS-N-23 ballistic missile launched the Tubsat-N satellites from the Delfin-class submarine Novomoskovsk, submerged in the Barents Sea, at 7:15am Moscow time 07 July 1998 (0315 UT, 11:15pm ET July 6). The satellite successfully reached orbit, officials reported. Tubsat-N, built at the Technical University of Berlin, consists of two small satellites, together weighing less than 11.5 kg (25.3 lbs.). The larger Tubsat-N and smaller Tubsat-N1 were launched attached and were designed to separate once in orbit. The Russian Navy, which conducted the satellite launch, said it planned future commercial launches using its nuclear submarines as a way to raise money for the cash-strapped armed service.

In 2001, the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Waves Propagation (IZMIRAN) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. took the lead in the effort, committing to make a satellite and inviting the Makeyev State Missile Center (Miass, Urals) to convert the Shtil (SS-N-23 Skiff) military missile into a launch vehicle for the project. Later, however, Makeyev also had to develop the satellite under the effort codenamed Vulkan (Volcano) in the Russian Space Agency's 2001-2005 Federal Space Program.

An orbital launch attempt by a slightly smaller R-29R "Volna" SLBM failed in 2005. A second Shtil' orbital attempt was not made until May 26, 2006, when the 80 kg COMPASS-2 science satellite was orbited from submerged submarine "Ekaterinburg" in the Barents Sea east of Murmansk. COMPASS 2 (Complex Orbital Magneto-Plasma Autonomous Small Satellite 2) is a Russian (IZMIRAN) ionospheric microsatellite that was launched by a Shtil 1 rocket (a modified submarine-based ICBM) from a nuclear submarine in Barents Sea at 18:50 UT on 26 May 2006. It is also known as KOMPAS 2. The 80 kg satellite carries detectors for electromagnetic signatures created by/before earthquakes and volcanoes. The initial orbital parameters were period 93.9 min, apogee 525 km, perigee 402 km, and inclination 78.9.


    229. Aviatsiya i Kosmonavtika, May 1933, pp. 42-44.
  • 230. "Makeyev Offers Site", Aviation Week and Space Technology, 26 April 1993, p. 65.
  • 231. S. Tutorskaya, Izvestlya, 7 August 1993.
  • 232. G. Lomanov, "Americans To Join Missiles' Recycling Project 'Priboi"', Moscow News, 1 October 1993, p. 8.
  • 233. S. Golotyuk, Vozdushnyy Transport, September 1993, p. 5.

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