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TU-136 Zvezda "Star" rocket plane

Work conducted KB Tupolev during the second half of the 50s for hypersonic aircraft, showed the possibility of establishing a manned aerospace plane (according to the then accepted terminology - "rocket plane"). The theme for the CB received designation plane "136" (TU -136), the official designation of the theme was "The Star" - Zvezda. The topic covered a wide range of problems associated with the creation of an experimental aircraft adapted to perform military tasks, while it is in near space.

If successful development of the piloted system, in the future it was anticipated to move to create on its basis a series of rocket planes for military purposes: reconnaissance, missile-carrying bombers, interceptors enemy satellites. Over such a universal missile and space project on the basis of their heavy UR rockets it worked well and the OKB-52 . The program's success was to stimulate work on the creation of large reusable videoconferencing capable, after performing tasks in space back to Earth with a landing on conventional airfields.

The works on "Star" resonated with the American program of creation of rocket plane X-20 , launched in the United States, "DynaSoar" in 1958. Driving the use of such a system was as follows. Start rocket plane was carried out using a powerful rocket, capable to output into orbit loads of 10-20 tonnes. Further, after the output into space, the rocket plane carried out flight on orbit mode manned or unmanned satellite. Planting rocket plane made maneuvering, moving to lower orbits, eventually falling into the dense layers of the atmosphere, which served as a regular flight of the aircraft prior to landing on the usual chassis.

After reaching its low-Earth orbit, cosmonaut had the opportunity to correct the orbit by the power plant, consisting of two rocket engine mounted in the rear of the unit. These same engines used in the landing maneuver, to maneuver in the dense layers of the atmosphere used in the normal aircraft controls. Two rocket engine was allowed to maneuver the machine with lateral deviation of 1,000 km per hour of flight. Since that time, little was known about the long-term impact of the state of weightlessness and space radiation on humans, a rocket plane was designed for one or at most a few turns around the Earth.

The creation of the rocket plane "Zvezda" was supposed to be divided into three consecutive phases, as previously it was necessary to examine the mission specifics at hypersonic speeds in the lower and upper layers of the atmosphere, to study the conditions of entry into the lower layers of the atmosphere, landing on the ground, as well as to create a design that is capable to work in conditions of strong kinetic heating. Research on rocket planes are largely consonant with the works on the program of creation of a "unit DP " ( "130") and go as their development and a logical extension.

The first phase was supposed to use unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the configuration corresponding to the future rocket planes (model with a solid engine that runs Tu-16). They had to learn the hypersonic flight zone, work design elements, capable of operating at high temperatures (up to the speed of 9000 km / h, ceilings up to 40,000 m). At the same time we had to launch a rocket plane models using rocket launchers P-5 and P-14 (14,000 km / h, m and 45000 23000-28000 km / h, 90,000 m, respectively).

The second stage was supposed to go to work on manned hypersonic aircraft. The objective of the second phase was - the development of human specificity testing of hypersonic flight and landing on the aircraft, according to a configuration similar to the future rocket planes. Testing of manned flight at low speed was planned to carry out with the help of aircraft "136/1", a reduced scale copies of the rocket plane. The plane "136/1" was supposed to start with the aircraft carrier Tu-95K . Tests this aircraft had to occur at speeds up to 1000 km / h, an altitude of 10,000 meters and at a number of speeds of about 300 km / h, which corresponded to the planting regimes rocket plane.

The development of human features of hypersonic flight was supposed to take place by means of the aircraft " 139 " (an analogue of the American experimental aircraft X-15 ), the start had to be carried out with the Tu-95K. The plane "139" would allow for a manned mission to the maximum speed of 8,000 km / h and a ceiling of up to 200,000 m at landing speeds of 300 km / h.

Final testing of manned flight at hypersonic, transonic and subsonic speeds with the subsequent landing was to take place using the "136/2" aircraft, modernized aircraft "136/1", equipped with an additional booster rocket stage. The plane "136/2" was supposed to fly at the maximum flight speed of up to 12,000 km / h and altitudes of the order of 100,000 m.

In the third and final phase of the program "Star", it was about building a rocket plane "136", designed to achieve a maximum speed of 28500 km / h, which corresponds to orbital speed, working heights range flight 50000-100000 m and range of not less than 40,000 km (one revolution around the earth, followed by planting) in the course of the aircraft "136" in the CB considered several options aerodynamic layout rocket plane. In the scheme were, I repeat the plane "130", the options that are close to the American project under the program "Dinah Soar". The most detailed study underwent an option on the "duck" scheme - put together machinery and installations for him, powerplant, landing gear and the crew of the means of salvation.

In the course of works on the theme "Star" the KB seriously addressed the issue of rockets. Existed at the time the missile system did not satisfy the CB in their duty because it was the withdrawal of cargo into orbit with a mass of 10,000 - 20,000 kg. Work on the Universal heavy launch vehicle UR-500 in the Soviet Union had just begun and could cause actual results no earlier than the second half of the 60s. Modernization of production of carrier rockets R-7, R-14 and R-16 could not provide the necessary capacity. In this situation, under the theme "Star" in the Tupolev Design Bureau started exploring the possibility of creating a powerful launch vehicle on its own.

Variants of the two-stage and three-stage launch vehicles were considered capable of placing into Earth orbit loads with a mass corresponding to the aircraft "136". In addition, considering options output rocket plane into orbit by aerospace systems, the first step that represents a strategic supersonic aircraft ( " 135 " or "139"), and the second stage - a ballistic missile air-launched with rocketplane instead of the head of the warhead. Work on on "Star" in the KB continued until 1963, without departing from the scope of the research design study and preliminary designs, and were soon abandoned, and the KB moved on to development of an unmanned rocket plane - "137" (TU-137, "Sputnik").

Tupolev Tu-136 Tupolev Tu-136

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Page last modified: 09-07-2018 13:25:06 ZULU