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From SPIRAL to MAKS

Missions of the Aerospace Systems

Tsarev V.A.
A range of the missions solved in the space by the Aerospace Systems with the subsonic Carrier-Plane for the purposes of national economy and ensuring national safety is considered.

Considerable strains of every advanced-industry countries fulfilling space activity are directed on providing of guaranteed access to space and increasing of aerospace systems’ application. And what is more, the USA came to the conclusion that achievement and maintenance of domination in space is one of the major conditions for national safety maintenance in the present moment. Such position is the same in Russia.

Only technological advantages and exceptional role of quality in aerospace system development unconditionally can provide the achievement of mentioned-above aims. That’s why many countries deployed study on all-round complicated scientific and technical researches of prospects of aerospace activities. The main trend of these researches is determination of optimal methods for creation of reliable and effective aerospace systems with relatively low creation costs and maintenance charges. First of all it is caused by limited capabilities of aerospace systems based with expandable launcher, high operating costs when in space, necessity to increase space flight activities and maintenance of domination in international space service market. At that it is necessary to indicate that nowadays one of the most important factor limiting space activity is economical situation.

At present-day situation of Russia economical problems of space activity is sharper than in other countries. Besides well-known problems of our economy they, at great extent, became sharper due to additional expenses concerning Baikonur cosmodrome lease, necessity of additional equipping of Plesetsk proving ground and planned building of new cosmodrome in the Far East. These circumstances are serious obstacles for space activity expansion in the nearest future.

The research and development (R&D) works fulfilled by NPO MOLNIYA together with several leading institutes and design bureaus of our country showed that creation of the reusable aerospace systems providing solution the next problems:

  • relatively cheap access into space, increasing of launch rate;
  • considerable expansion and addition of capabilities of domestic aerospace systems.

Completely or partially reusable aerospace systems have properties peculiar to air launch systems with orbital stages. They are indicated below:

  • possibility to inject into artificial-satellite orbits payloads practically without limitation of launch azimuths and orbit inclinations, including geostationary;
  • high immediacy of task solution;
  • slight, in comparison with launcher, pollution of the environment due to use of safe fuel components and considerable reduction of acoustic loads near earth;
  • possibility of maximum use of the operation experience and the infrastructure of aerospace engineering;
  • absence of alienated fields on the ground for falling of used construction elements.

Considering all mentioned the next wide range application of the aerospace systems in the interests of science, national economy, country security and commercial exploitation can be outlined.
The major missions fulfilled by aerospace systems divide into following classes:

  • injection into near-earth orbit and recovery from space of payloads of several purposes;
  • transport maintenance service of space objects;
  • fulfilling of rescue actions, scientific, technical and technological experiments in near-earth space;
  • earth and near-earth space monitoring;
  • express exploring of areas of industrial and natural emergencies;
  • fulfilling of special programs in the network of international co-operation and collective safety maintenance.

The MAKS multipurpose aerospace system developed by NPO MOLNIYA meets all requirements of the creation strategy of reusable aerospace system.

Possibility to create this system in three general modifications: with manned or unmanned orbital plane (with exchangeable equipment modules) – MAKS-OS, and transport modification with launch unit (LU) – MAKS-T - extends the range of tasks solving by the MAKS system.


Transport Missions

The solution of these missions is provided by all MAKS modifications. The principal difference between the MAKS-OS system and the systems with expandable launchers is a possibility not only to inject into near-earth orbits satellites of different using but to provide their recovery to earth for maintenance service, repair and replacement of faulty units.

The MAKS system is quite effective facility for enlarging and restoring of information systems and space-based means.


The Transport Maintenance Service (TMS) of Space Objects

The mission of TMS is a maintenance of MIR-type manned space stations used for the scientific and technical researches and as well as of automatic space stations (platforms) used for industrial production of unique materials and biologicals in conditions of weightlessness and deep vacuum.

In first case the MAKS-OS is used for delivery and recovery of crews, equipment and results of experiments, fuel and expenditures and to provide repair works. In second case MAKS system is used for:

  • delivery of crew in space station for fulfilling start-and-adjustment and repair works and recovery them to earth;
  • delivery of half-finished products for industrial processes, return to earth of products fabricated on orbit;
  • assembling of large-scale space objects from modules delivered on orbit and other actions.


Emergency-Rescue Operations

The mission to rescue crew of the emergency manned space stations is becoming more and more important along with aerospace activity evolution. The saturation of near-earth space by flying objects, broken or waste space equipment, elements of launcher last stages and so is a threat for crews of manned space objects.

The MAKS-OS capabilities to provide rapid launch preparation and docking with distressed space vehicle in short time allow to increase efficiency of this mission.


Additional Missions of Aerospace Systems

The solution of wide range of scientific, practical and special tasks is provided by aboard installation of exchangeable equipment modules or payloads for execution of particular flying mission.

A different type of equipment can be installed aboard of the orbital plane. They can be used for:

  • exploration of natural resources, areas of industrial and natural emergencies, natural disasters after-effects;
  • distressed expedition and ship search;
  • operational ecological monitoring and earth surface space sounding;
  • astronomical investigations;
  • supplying of operational information for region geographic information system;
  • fulfilling of scientific and technological experiment, including receiving of unique materials and biologicals;
  • operational control of international agreements about space use and armament limitation, hotbeds of local wars as well as check-up of space objects in the network of consistent programs;
  • operational transmission of target designation for solution of mentioned-above missions;
  • navigation, communication and so on.

Practically all mentioned-above missions can realized on commercial basis. Besides, the missions in the network of international cooperation and collective safety maintenance under the aegis of CIS countries, Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) or United Nations Organization (UNO) are not excluded.

The major advantages of the MAKS system (reusable application, multipurpose and properties peculiar only to aerospace systems) provide to achieve aims stated before domestic designers of prospect aerospace systems in XXIst century. They are as follows:

  • ensuring of space system profitability and ecological safety;
  • considerable enlarging of space mission range;
  • possibility of basing in Russia;
  • fulfillment of independent access of Russia to space in the interest of national safety maintenance;
  • providing of leading position of our country in space exploration and competitive ability of domestic launch facilities on international space service market.

It will allow to enlarge participation of Russia in international programs, considerably reduce maintenance charges, construction and additional equipping cost for grounds, create scientific and technical reserves, get practical experience in development of the completely reusable one-stage aerospace systems and sufficiently improve the national safety of our country.

It is obvious that geopolitical and strategic interests of Russia in space require more active works in the field of development of the aerospace systems.