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The Energia launcher familly

In May, 1974 the N1 rocket program is stopped. Mishine is fired by the direction of the study office of OKB-1. A new organization, Energia NPO, is created, directed by the former colleague of Korolev (Glushko), it groups together the 2 research departments of Glushko and Korolev. Although the Soviet citizens spent more than 2.4 billion roubles in the Lunar project they were still far from having a heavy functioning launcher. All the work on the N1 launcher was destroyed and Glushko and Yangel OKB began the development of the Vulkan launcher from scratch. This enormous launcher had to put into orbit elements elaborated for the lunar program LEK (Lunar Expedition Complex).

This new launcher was modified on February 17th, 1976 when Glushko had to take into account the new specifications for the Buran shuttle. These changes led to move the payload from the nose cone to the side of the launcher, and to modify the structure of the boosters around of the central block, as well as other numerous modifications. The Energia launcher was born.

In the 80s a new launcher of third generation was drawn, Energia M, to put into orbit loads from 20 to 30 t. It was an adaptation of the Energia launcher using 2 boosters instead of 4, with a diameter of the central block lower than the Energia one and a single engine RD-0120 instead of 4. At the beginning of the 90s a full scale mock-up was built to test the ground installations for a commercial use. But no customer was interested. Later it was proposed as an alternative to the Angara launcher, but was refused because this last one had to be completely Russian but the boosters of Energia M were built in Ukraine.

The Zenit launcher which development began in 1976 became operational in 1985 because of numerous difficulties of development and production. A version of the first stage was used for the Energia's boosters. He had to be an average modular launcher of new generation. The leader of study was V F Utkin of KB Yuzhnoye, with V P Radovskiy of KB Energomash for engines, V G Sergeyev of NPO Elektropribov was responsible for the guidance system.


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Vulkan Energia Energia-M Zenit





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