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BURAN Orbital

Spaceship Airframe


TUSHINSKY Machine-Building Plant

Zverev I.K., Arutyunov S.G.
TUSHINSKY Machine-Building Plant (TMZ) historical review and BUREVESTNIK Machine-Building Design Bureau activity description for a period since 30’s are given. It is also told about creating the aerospace companies cooperation for the BURAN project fulfillment, new technological processes development, industrial base expansion at TUSHINSKY Machine-Building Plant, the work on manufacturing BURAN orbiter’s units and airframe. The paper tells us about production relations between the industrial aerospace companies, Design Bureaus and scientific research institutes that took part in the works on BURAN project.

NPO MOLNIYA and TUSHINSKY Machine-Building Plant (TMZ) specialists had already worked together before they started working on BURAN project.

TMZ was found in 1932 in order to master all achievements in aircraft technologies and flying vehicle production. The history of the plant is a part of our country aviation development:

  • 1932 … 1935 – ‘Steel-2’ and ‘Steel-3’ all-metal planes production (Putilov A.I. design) with the use of stainless steel welded constructions. The planes were used on ‘Moscow - Nizniy Novgorod’ route up to World War II.
  • 1936 … 1941 – DI-6, YAK-1, YAK-3 and ANITA-1 fighter airplanes mastering and production.
  • 1942 … 1945 – YAK-7 and YAK-9 planes production during Great Patriotic War. It was produced more 3.000 planes, their repair and reconstruction were organized.
  • 1946 … 1950 – MTB-82 trolleybuses and MTB-82 trams production; TU-2 plane production mastering; consumer goods.
  • 1951 … 1965 - modern military techniques mastering and production (engines, accelerators, portable automatic control systems, aerosled) developed by Lavochkin S.A., Tupolev A.N., Isaev A.M., Servruk D.D., Privalov A.I., Kartukov I.I Head Designers. That time (1965) was formed BUREVESTNIK Machine-Building Design Bureau (on the base of former 82 DB) to provide serial production and new aircraft techniques developing. The Head Designer became Mr. Potopalov A.V. (the former engineer). In 1976 BUREVESTNIK was included into NPO MOLNIYA corporation.
  • 1966 … 1978 – antenna portable NEVA complexes and wave-guide systems production (developed by Raspletin NIIRP; Bubnov G.G. Head Designer); MIG–23 wings and fuel tanks production.

T-4 airplane construction (1966…1974) developed by Sukhoi P.O. DB was absolutely new and innovator. Its airframe was a welded one made of stainless steels and titanium alloys. BUREVESTNIK Design Bureau accompanied the construction and engine nacelle development.

When producing T-4 airplane, automatic welding titanium alloys, stainless steels mediums and titanium casting in vacuum ovens were done with VIAM, NIAT and Suhoi P.O. DB participation. Automatic welding by smelting rate, spot welding quality automatic control, elements’ production on Computer Program Control (CPC) machines, thick elements from titanium alloys and stainless steels chemical milling etc were done at the plant. These processes were serious technological problems that were successfully solved by our science and industry.

The plant had much experience in new techniques’ production. That’s why the decision to entrust the plant with BURAN airframe production was predictable one and the staff met it enthusiastically.

The Director of the plant Arutyunov S.G., first Deputy Director Zverev I.K., Head Engineers Porubinovsky V.P, Biryukov U.A., Deputy Director Romanenko V.M. worked out the main BURAN airframe production, plant reconstruction, new production sites building, wide cooperation and new technological processes creation concept.

Technological processes were developed; orbiters for statistic and all preparing stage testing, orbiter’s flying analogue and orbiters were constructed with Mr. Vostrikov M.N., Volkov N.V., Tarasov V.I., Shalimov A.S., Sobolev N.L., Neyelov V.F., Novikov P.A., Sabotsinsky E.A., Gorbachev B.V., Zuev M.I., Komolov B.P and many others leaders participation.

NPO MOLNIYA, NIAT, VIAM, Institute of Welding after Paton, SPO PROGRESS, PO ELRCTROMECHANIKA (Rzhev), PO TECHNIKA (Vladimir) helped the plant in technological processes development and orbiter production elements construction.

The engineers Christoev U.A., Altshtadt U.I., Brown S.V., Tutenkov I.T. together with NIAT and SPO PROGRESS introduced the unique CPC complex for edges working and 6 m diameter pressurized cabin panels automatic welding, tubes (including bimetallic ones) unmovable junctions welding and soldering.

It was very difficult to develop and master the technology and equipment necessary for Thermal Protection System (TPS) elements production and mounting on the airframe. Head of work Vostrikov M.N., engineers Polyakov B.D., Slutsky A.V., Radchenko P.M., Strokov A.I., Ivchenko V.I. together with NIAT and NPO MOLNIYA developed and introduced airframe surface measure complex automatic system with necessary information and program correction for the CPC machines that were used for the TPS tiles production. Engineers Zhuravlev P.V. and Marchenkov S.P. provided milling process, cutter equipment choice and working modes. The technology and the equipment introduced by engineers Kuznetsov A.S., Panshin N.V., Parfenov V.V., Rahimov T.A. and other specialists made it possible to solve all the problems when producing and mounting TPS tiles on the orbiter both at the plant and technical positions. High-qualified specialists like Mr. Korin V.M., Romanovsky A.P., Yakovlev V.M., the CPC milling machines workers and others gave the life to these technological innovations when heat shield blocks producing and mounting. The CPC equipment and felt backing cutting with the use of a laser was introduced.

A special base for BURAN orbiter assembling and necessary automatic system testing holding after its air transportation was formed at Baikonur launching site. The engineers and test experts Bistrov U.V., Kachanov V.M., Deineko V.S., Mamikin E.M. perfectly built the base. Flexible process line equipped with computers and the CPC machines for those TPS tiles that were later mounted onto the orbiter at the last stages were installed.

During orbiter creation a group of young and talented specialists appeared. There were among them engineers Fedin B.A., Komissarchuk V.C., Faradzhev F.A. and many others. It only proved engineers’ high qualification.

It is quite clear that it would have been impossible to solve such a great problem without departments’ reconstruction, new production sites building and new laboratory base creating that could provide production and necessary testing both of unit elements and of the orbiter. The following buildings were built: Number 111 for spaceship final assembling and the TPS coating; No. 112 and No. 112A for cabin module assembling and its testing for air-tightness and toughness; No. 110 for orbiter general assembling. Besides these buildings, new buildings of loft and bulk clothing assembling departments, building for materials and assembling elements. Also were built new head transformer substation, water station, low-pressure compressor station, second water lead box, factory automatic telephone system and a fire safety station. Engineer lines in an underground collector were plotted. In order to transport the orbiter by water several docks were built on HIMKINSKY water reservoir and in Zhukovsky town. Special barge was also built.

All that work was done under the control of Major Construction Deputy Director Shmakov L.K., Head Engineer Deputy Khokhlov V.I., Head Electrician Baranov B.M., Head Mechanics Tarasov M.N. and Nikolsky E.G. and constructor Slutsky A.A.

Very many organizational, control, technical and technological problems were solved during BURAN’s mastering and production.

Complex Quality Control System was developed and introduced together with the GAP Institute. It was developed the concept of design and building production sites with air medium clearness of fixed parameters, weather conditions, special power supply and conditioning.

New technological processes made it possible huge finned panels of difficult buckling (with strict air-tightness requirements) forming.

The decision of elements interchangeability was found in technological processes developed together with NPO MOLNIYA and NIAT with the use of automatic workplace on the base of building and cutting mold loft and volume clothing cross section forming computer software.

Panels’ mechanic working technological processes for later automatic welding (for units up to 6 m in diameter) with high quality requirements and weld air-tightness were developed and introduced together with NIAT.

NIAT together with SPO PROGRESS created the unique device for that aims and another assembling-welding equipment. That made it possible to create all-welded huge cabins assembling-welding production with the use of unadjusted assembling processes that exclude later change of the construction and provide weld junction and serviceability high quality.

The 0.5 mm thickness tube constructions made of titanium alloys and stainless steel and used on the orbiter demanded developing and introducing new technologies of automatic welding in neutral medium chambers.

The unique technological complex (developed and mastered at TMZ plant together with NPO MOLNIYA and NIAT) with computer support that controls the TPS tile creation and mounting made it possible the following:

  • the TPS model’s forming taking into account the orbiter surface condition and the tiles geometry description from unit and lines forming units real size;
  • about 800 control programs creation to implement the TPS production, control and necessary equipment mounting processes;
  • technological equipment control system creation on the base of computers with resources distribution and production information working paper-off technology;
  • unique technological equipment complex creation for airframe units’ and airframe itself measuring, TPS tiles mounting marking, tension effort and tiles mounting quality control;
  • TPS tiles unique working technology mastering with the use of 5 coordinated CPC machines (with special diamond instrument – VNII-ALMAZ Institute was responsible).

The developed methods, designed and produced equipment with necessary arrangement for it made it possible to hold on orbiter’s airframe air-tightness quality control works and necessary transport measures complex helped with air, water and ground transportation of the orbiter and its units.

The experience made it also possible to create first in Russia STEP version of CALS orientated technology. This technology is for computer life-support cycle of the production in accordance with ISO 13303 (STEP) and ISO 13584 (P.LIB) international standards. It provides the base for intellectual exchange about production and also its realization in the terms necessary to meet the requirements of international cooperation.

The plant was able to put into practice production interchangeability procurement on external and internal cooperation with quick technical and technological problems solving.

Only the following list of the companies, belonging to the Ministry of Aircraft Industry, that took part in the BURAN orbiter creation testifies the difficulty of the work:

  • Smolensky, Novosibirsky, Nizegorodsky and Tashkentsky Aircraft Plants;
  • Taganrogsky Machine-Building Plant;
  • GYDROMASH Plant (Nizny Novgorod);
  • Mikoyan A.I., Suhoi P.O., Yakovlev A.S., Mil M.L. and Antonov O.K. Design Bureaus.

The TMZ plant developed some technical design tasks received from the GAP Institute. The specialists from the Ministry of Special Assembling and Construction built and put into operation laboratory rooms and aerospace units’ production, assembling and mounting departments.

Both TMZ plant and NPO MOLNIYA done the work on units’ tests according to the requirements of space hygiene, temperature and medium in orbiter’s cabin.

The new technology with a thin wall and plasma proof constructions’ production was developed and mastered.

Design technology of control programs for the CPC machines, measuring and marking complex, laser cutting devices with technological operation fulfillment on workplaces in automatic mode of operation was later developed. Necessary equipment and imitation stands’ creation made it possible to work out the orbiter vehicles and their analogues with a high quality in ground conditions.

This list of developed and introduced technologies is not the full one. There were only 140 of them on TMZ plant. All the work was done together with many institutes and plants of the industry. And, of course, NPO MOLNIYA leadership understanding of the problems necessary to solve made it possible to solve them.