Monday, September 7, 2009

Baikal is a future reusable launch vehicle (RLV)

Baikal is a future reusable launch vehicle (RLV) being developed jointly by KhSC and the Molniya (‘Lightning’) Research and Production Corporation. The purpose of this project is to reduce the operational launch vehicle cost and to minimize the drop fields, a problem of extreme significance now that the Russian launch bases are located well inside a continent.

Thus if the RLV integrated in an Angara launcher lifted off at Plesetsk, Russia then on its back flight this return vehicle might land onto the Plesetsk airfield.

In accordance with the Agreement on strategic armaments reduction a number of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles are to be destroyed. They include the SS-19 rocket. Within the framework of the conversion program Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center is creating the "Rockot" launcher on the basis of this missile.

The "Rocket's" technical characteristics allow to launch spacecrafts into low, middle circular and elliptic orbits (including high elliptic orbits). The “Rockot” launcher includes the third stage - the "Breeze-KM" booster. The "Breeze-KM" booster's main engine is able to multiple ignite.

This allows to realize different schemes of S/C delivery into orbit together with a piggy-back launch of several S/Cs into one or several various orbits. The "Breeze-KM" booster instrumentation is able to provide high accuracy of S/C injection into the orbit, and, if necessary, its power sup-ply during flight of up to 7 hours.

The Eurockot company was set up jointly by the Khrunichev Space Center (KhSC) and Produktbereich Raumfahrt Infrastruktur, a division of Deutsche Aerospace AG (DASA), the Joint Venture Agreement having been signed on May 16, 1994. At present, KhSC owns 49% of the Eurockot stock and EADS Space Transportation owns 51%.

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