Perspective structure of the system

of spacecraft launch vehicles

1. The technological range of carriers based on unified rocket blocks, including layouts from monoblock to seven-block.
2. Means of delivery of fuel components or raw materials for their production.
3. Orbital refueling complex.
4. Launch tools containing a universal overclocking unit.

Non-system launchers

1. Launch vehicle for manned spacecraft.
2. Launch vehicles for payloads weighing less than ~4 tons.

The existence of non-system launch vehicles is due to the specifics of manned flights and the technological dependence of light class launch vehicles.

Components of the launch vehicles structure:

1. Technological range of launch vehicles

Requirements and tasks to be solved:

The technological range of carriers should ensure the launch of the entire range of domestic spacecraft into low orbits with minimal costs for the development of carriers, the creation of production facilities, the deployment of ground infrastructure, and moderate production and operating costs. Additional properties of the carriers should be environmental friendliness and geographical adaptability to different launch areas.

Ways to achieve the requirements:

- ensure the stable operation of the main component manufacturers;
- to make the most of the available scientific, technical and technological reserve, it is allowed to master technologies of a high degree of readiness or that do not require large costs.

Conceptual solutions:

- use basically rocket blocks that are unified in the diameter of the fuel tanks and the main control unit, having one main engine per block;
- implement multi-module carrier schemes up to and including seven-module;
- use dense, easy-to-handle, and relatively environmentally friendly fuel components: oxidizer - liquid oxygen, fuel-kerosene.

Technical solutions:

- use the RD-191 as the base engine of the units;
- implement the overflow of components between blocks;
- use a central two-tank unit and single-tank side modules;
- use the retractable nozzle nozzle on the central unit.

Technological groundwork:

- the technology of production of closed-circuit oxygen-kerosene LRE has been mastered;
- unique experience in the development and operation of batch schemes of launch vehicles.

2. Means of delivery of fuel components or raw materials for their production


supply of the orbital refueling complex with fuel components or raw materials for their production.

Basic properties:

- moderate overall reliability;
- moderate development cost;
- low start-up cost;
- high energy and optimal mass perfection;
- low unit cost of cargo delivery.

Intended properties:

- air start;
- unmanned reusable orbiter;
- low relative to reusable devices the cost of making a instance.

Main parameter:

low unit cost of delivery of fuel components or raw materials for their production to NPOs.

Proposed solution: Reusable space tanker


- supply of technical water to the orbital refueling complex and other orbital objects;
- return to Earth of valuable parts of serviced upper stages not used in the second flight.

Composition of the proposed version of the system:

- disposable two-piece external fuel tank (EFT);
- reusable space tanker (RST) - an aircraft-type orbiter that includes a dual-use tank and a three-component energy-exchange rocket engine (EeRE);
- subsonic carrier aircraft (CA).

System Parameters:

- mass of the rocket block (RST+EFT): 70-140 t;
- payload mass in the base orbit (H=200 km, i=51): 5-7 t;
- type of CA: AN-124 or special CA;
- number of launches per year: 20-50.

Technological groundwork:

- the carrier aircraft requires the production of a special modification of the AN-124 production aircraft or the development of a special CA;
- for RST, key technologies have been worked out, with the exception of EeRE.

3. Orbital Refueling Complex (ORC)


- reception and storage of fuel components;
- receiving water for storage and processing it into fuel components;
- maintenance and refueling of upper stages, maintenance of payloads and RST;
- conducting energy-intensive experiments and works, maintenance of autonomous technological platforms.

Main parameter:
      working resource.

- standard set of systems;
- special mooring and gripping device;
- water electrolysis decomposition unit;
- cryogenic unit;
- storage tanks for components;
- gas station complex;
- platform (farm) for servicing upper stage units, paylosds and RST.

The cost of operating in the mode of maintaining a manned flight:
      1/2 of the same indicator for OC "Mir".
Technological background: many years of experience in the operation of orbital stations.

4. Launch vehicles containing a universal upper stage

    A number of launch vehicles that significantly differ in load capacity and have an accelerator in their composition and use a universal upper stage (UUS) as the upper stage.
Composition: unitary or composite accelerator + UUS.
Main parameter:
Technological groundwork:
    the following elements and technologies have been developed and are ready for use:

- first - stage engines, including reusable ones;
- oxygen-hydrogen engines with a thrust of up to 8-10 t for upper stages;
- interorbital flight techniques, search, rendezvous and docking to the space station.

Universal upper stage.

Universal upper stage-a rocket unit adapted for refueling in the conditions of orbital flight and combining the functions and properties of the last rocket stage and upper stage.

delivery of the payload to the LEO with subsequent insertion into a geostationary orbit or other high-energy trajectory.


the characteristic velocity when launching to the LEO is from 2.8 to 6.0 km / s.


- upper stage, including a rocket engine, fuel tanks and a standard set of systems;
- zero-gravity propulsion system that provides the required number of turns after refueling the unit;
- corrective engine for withdrawal to the ORC and approach to it;
- search, rendezvous and mooring equipment;
- devices that provide refueling of the unit in the conditions of the ORC.

Fuel components:
      oxidizer liquid oxygen;
      fuel liquid hydrogen or liquid methane.



achieving the basic flight parameters when launching to the LEO, required to launch the UUS. It can be equipped with both an UUS and a conventional rocket stage for launching satellites into low orbits.

Fuel components:
    dense components, options:

- kerosene + liquid oxygen;
- liquid methane + liquid oxygen;
- three-component fuels.

Multiplicity of use:

It is necessary to strive for the reusable use of often popular accelerators, even if this leads to a certain increase in the cost of starting.

Advantages of the launch vehicles structure

The proposed structure has the following properties:

1) With a relatively low cost of creation and relying on the existing technological reserve, it will significantly expand the capabilities of the launch vehicles.
2) Most fully uses the structure of the domestic aerospace industry and uses its scientific and technical reserve.
3) It will allow you to get a significant economic effect with an increase in cargo traffic to space and will give a noticeable effect while maintaining it.
4) Devalues the advantages of near-equatorial spaceports over mid-latitude ones when launching satellites on GSO.
5) It is a developing factor for space activities and systematically consolidates the Russian rocket and space industry.
6) The movement to the structure can be carried out in stages, with a certain effect at each stage, if necessary, you can limit yourself to partially achieving the goal.

    The proposed structure of the launch vehicles is characterized by pronounced system properties. What is currently referred to as the Russian launch vehicles system is rather a set of launch vehicles.

System capabilities

    The proposed launch vehicles system can not only provide a solution to all tasks of the foreseeable future in near-Earth space, but will also be indispensable in such almost fantastic missions as:

- study of Mercury by a planetary rover;
- manned flights to the moon;
- manned expedition to Mars;
- contact study of the oceans of Europa, Uranus, and Neptune;
- investigation of the surface of Titanium by a mobile device.

ondition for promoting the system concept

    It is desirable that the proposed concept of the launch vehicles system is considered in competition with other ideas and developments. The RST concept revealed huge advantages in providing fuel to orbiters, and the use of EeRE made it possible to advance in the field of launch vehicles efficiency beyond the boundaries of existing ideas. But that doesn't mean there can't be even better solutions. In the meantime, our proposals are a guide for future developments.