Continuation of the first part:
Underwater launch systems: how to get from under water into orbit or into space?
-> A short preface-explanation to the second part (who is not interested under the spoiler, may not read it)
Page 1 + Page 2
Priboi marine rocket and space system
For a more complete coverage of the LEO market, a study of new carrier rockets was carried out. One of them was a booster rocket created by project "Surf".
The Priboy rocket uses the technologies of previously developed SLBMs: at the first stage - the engine of the RSM-52 rocket, the second and third stages use the propulsion systems of the RSM-54 rocket (R-29RMU2 Sineva (START code RSM-54, according to NATO classification - SS -N-23 Skiff)), the fourth sustainer stage and the fifth development stage are also created on the basis of the RSM-54 rocket technology.
Video clip dedicated to the "best in the world (in terms of energy and mass characteristics)" ballistic missile RSM-54 "Sineva":
Main carrier: Project 667 BDRM submarines. Missile launch R-29RMU Sineva missile launch video.
The energetic capabilities of the Priboy rocket satisfy the upper range of LEO payloads. According to preliminary estimates, when taking off from the equatorial regions, it outputs a payload, the mass of which (in kg), depending on the orbit altitude, is given in the table.
The indicated capabilities of the Priboy launch vehicle make its development promising.
In 1993, a new impulse appeared in the Priboi work, which, firstly, accelerated the progress of work and, secondly, supplemented the previously considered options for launching from a ground stand and a mobile floating craft. Such an impulse was the proposal of the American company Investors in Sea Launches, Inc. (President - Admiral Thomas H. Moorer) to develop, in a very short time, a commercial launch vehicle, launching directly from the sea surface, for launching spacecraft weighing up to 2000 - 2500 kg. The water surface is a versatile launch pad that, from many points of view, provides the best parameters for launch systems. However, the practical implementation of this starting method is associated with serious technical difficulties.
The joint Russian-American commercial project was based on the Priboy carrier rocket, in connection with which the project retained the name “Surf”. An agreement was reached on the development within three months of a conceptual engineering project for the rocket and the system as a whole. The design bureau was faced with the task of solving complex technical problems in a short time regarding the launch vehicle, its transportation to the launch site, the assembly of the rocket and its launch from the water surface. Since the rocket cannot be operated in the assembled state on the ground, it was proposed to load it in parts onto the ship and already on the ship to carry out the final assembly and testing of all systems, i.e. the ship had to be turned into an assembly shop. As a result of preliminary studies, two types of ships were selected: an amphibious assault ship of the Ivan Rogov type or a container ship of the Sevmorput type (Fig. 2, 3).
These ships, with the necessary modifications, will be able to take on board the component parts of several missiles, the complex equipment and the necessary technological and assembly equipment for the missiles.
To implement the proposed technology, it was necessary to develop a unique unit - a transport and launch platform, which has special devices for loading individual parts of the rocket and their subsequent assembly. Each of the devices, in addition to the fastening and damping elements, has three degrees of freedom, which is necessary for centering the individual parts of the rocket relative to each other when assembling into a single structure.
A general idea of the transport and launch platform is given in Fig. 4. A rocket assembled on this platform can be transported by ship to almost any point in the World Ocean.
During the research, a large number of options for ensuring the necessary positive buoyancy of the rocket were considered: from pressurized elastic balloons to special sliding catamaran devices. As a result, a fairly simple solution was found: since the payload in any case had to be protected by a fairing, he partially solved this problem too (free air volume under the fairing). On the other hand, ensuring the launch of the rocket engine in the water, the design bureau came to the need to install a special pallet in the tail of the rocket, which, in conjunction with the front protective fairing, guaranteed the necessary positive buoyancy of the rocket.
It was necessary to choose the best way to evacuate the prepared missile from the ship to the water surface. Two of the many options were left for further analysis and choice.
The first method is for the Sevmorput ship (Fig. 5). The assembled rocket on the transport and launch platform was fed to the tilter installed in the aft part of the ship, the platform was unfastened on the tilter. The tilter moved the platform from horizontal to vertical and then lowered the platform with a special lift to the level of the natural position of the Priboy rocket on the water. Subsequently, the rocket was separated from the platform for free floating on the water surface.
The second way is to use the airlock of the Ivan Rogov-class ship. The airlock, in which the transport-launch platform with the assembled and prepared rocket is located, is flooded with sea water. When a certain level of flooding of the airlock is reached, the rocket separates from the platform (floats up), after which it is evacuated from the ship to a free sea surface using a smelter.
The second method was chosen as the main one.
Russian and foreign experience in the development of missile systems with an underwater launch shows that the launch of a rocket's power unit at launch is carried out into a certain air volume (or cavity). This volume was organized earlier (during prelaunch preparation) or was created directly at the start, i.e. when launching individual elements of the propulsion system. This circumstance led to the need to install a special pallet on the aft part of the rocket (Fig. 6), which was already mentioned above. For normal horizontal navigation of the rocket and its subsequent transfer from a horizontal position to a vertical one, a pallet volume of 8 - 15 m³ is sufficient.
To ensure the engine start, the pallet had to be seriously complicated. As a result, it performs several functions on the Priboy rocket:
Solutions for the launch system and organization of the Priboy rocket launch from the water are illustrated in Fig. 7, 8.
A significant number of problematic issues were resolved on the Priboi launch vehicle itself. These problems are due to both the peculiarities of the rocket layout scheme and the originality of the scheme of its passage and, most importantly, the launch. It is enough to limit ourselves to the list of these questions:
- development of a system for pressurizing the rocket stages and interstage (1 and 2) compartments, which ensures the safety of the rocket, the operability of the engines of the second and third stages and the strength of the structure;
- ensuring the tightness of the on-board cable network;
- creation of a sealed nose fairing and its separation system, providing the required acoustic loads on the payload;
- solving the issues of ensuring the operability of the on-board missile control system during operations that were previously absent in the logic of functioning (evacuating the rocket from the ship's airlock, bringing the rocket to a vertical position), performed in autonomous navigation and lasting up to 10 minutes;
- development of a remote rocket launch system.
During the development of the conceptual engineering project, it was possible to solve the main technical problems and show the possibility of creating a commercial marine rocket and space system with fundamentally new schemes of the elements of the launch vehicle, the launch system and the organization of the launch.
In the future, the program for the creation of the Priboy launch vehicle had to be closed due to lack of funding.
For the same reason, the re-equipment for space tasks of the NSK at the Nyonoksa test site, where new modifications of SLBMs were previously tested, was discontinued.
Note: according to the ROC "Priboy", a patent of the Russian Federation RU2543436 "Pseudo simulator of the launch complex" was developed and issued.
The pseudo-simulator of the launch complex, hereinafter referred to as the complex, refers to missile technology, namely to sea-based military missile launch complexes. The complex is autonomous, covert, mobile and underwater, provides the launch of ballistic or cruise missiles capable of carrying a nuclear charge or striking elements to suppress anti-missile defense (ABM) systems. The complex can serve as a beacon for the orientation of submarines and simulate a submarine.
The disadvantages of the prototype ("Surf") include the fact that the ship "Ivan Rogov" is a military surface landing ship, and the possibility of finding ballistic missiles on board implies that its location is being monitored, and, therefore, this ship will be attacked first. queue. It takes a long time to evacuate a rocket and prepare it for launch, while the rocket will be relatively close to the ship and, most likely, when attacking the ship, it will become impossible to launch the rocket.
The essence of the invention lies in the fact that the structure of the complex consists of a waterproof module with a transport and launch container with a rocket placed in it. The module is moved by cargo, fishing or any other, incl. by a submarine, hereinafter referred to as a transport-ship, in the underwater and surface positions, on the deck or inside the hull of the transport-ship. At the required time, the module is separated from the ship-transport and becomes autonomous. At the same time, an imitation of a submarine is created, everything else: the launch complex, the launch of the rocket, the rocket with the warhead are real. The warhead can carry not only a nuclear charge, a feature of the invention is the ability to carry destructive elements to destroy the missile defense elements of a potential enemy to protect other warheads, for example, carrying a nuclear charge and launched by other launch complexes
Truly they say:
The Russians, here at least give me spare parts for the Mercedes -
as they begin to assemble, a Kalashnikov assault rifle or a tank comes out anyway. /A bearded Soviet joke.
It should be noted that in the USSR a similar program was launched back in August 1964 - the rocket ship, designed on the basis of the project 550 Aguema ice navigation vessel, received the working name "Scorpion" (project 909):
Eight launchers of R-29 missiles were supposed to be on board, and the appearance differed only in the presence of additional antennas. According to the calculations, while patrolling the Arctic waters of the Soviet Union, such a ship could hit targets almost throughout the United States with its missiles.
In addition, TsKB-17, already on its own initiative, also designed a rocket carrier disguised as a hydrographic vessel (project 1111, "four stakes"). The first in a series of ships of these projects in 1964 prices would cost the state budget 18, 9 and 15, 5 million rubles, respectively.
It's funny, but the "peacekeepers" the Americans already in 1963 proposed to NATO countries to create a whole flotilla of such "ships with a surprise" on the basis of transports of the "Mariner" type.
/ again "moved" off the topic /
Sea rocket and space system "Rickshaw"
With the expectation of a long-term prospect SRC “KB im. Academician V. P. Makeev "jointly with NPO Energomash, Design Bureau of General Engineering, NPO Automation and Instrumentation and State Enterprise" Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant "began to develop the Riksha rocket and space complex designed to launch small spacecraft - this is the third direction of our space activities.
Analysis of the promising market for space services shows that small spacecraft predominate in foreign and Russian space programs designed for low-orbit communication systems, Earth sensing, exploration of near-earth space, and the implementation of space technologies. The growing interest in small spacecraft is largely due to their advantages such as low cost, efficiency in creation and deployment, the ability to quickly respond to the latest scientific and technological advances and market needs.
In order to be most in demand on the launch vehicle market (10 - 15 launches per year), the launch vehicle must ensure the launch of communication satellites (voice transmission) weighing about 800 kg into orbits up to 800 km high, observation satellites weighing 350 - 500 kg to orbits with an altitude of 500 - 800 km, returned satellites with a mass of about 1000 kg to orbits with an altitude of 350 km.
Spacecraft of a small class, due to the variety of tasks being solved, require launching into orbits from equatorial to sun-synchronous. It is problematic to cover such a wide range of orbital inclinations by stationary complexes from the territory of Russia. The task can be solved by a transportable complex based on a light-class launch vehicle. In addition, it is necessary to note the recently increased requirements for the environmental safety of rocket and space technology, the cost of its creation and operation. From this point of view, the use of liquefied natural gas paired with liquid oxygen as an oxidizer for launch vehicles is very promising, which allows:
- to ensure the minimum ecological load on the environment in case of falls of the spent stages and in emergency situations;
- to achieve high energy and overall-mass characteristics of the rocket;
- to use liquefied natural gases from other countries - potential consumers, which will increase the market attractiveness of a commercial launch vehicle.
The Rickshaw complex is being developed as a means of launching into low-earth orbits and suborbital trajectories of light-class spacecraft for various purposes from any previously agreed areas of land and sea.
The main concept of the development of the Rickshaw complex is the maximum satisfaction of the launch customers' needs. Based on this, the complex is being built in a transportable design, which allows realizing a wide range of orbital inclinations with optimal energy costs for launching payloads and using the territory of the customer countries (at their request) for launching. For the Rickshaw complex, there are two options for launching systems with unified subsystems (Fig. 2):
The launch vehicle has two sustainer stages. Depending on the tasks to be solved, it can be equipped with an apogee propulsion system. On the sustainer stages, modifications of the same liquid-propellant engine are used. A package of six engines is assembled at the first stage, and one engine is installed at the second stage. Fuel tanks of the first and second stages - all-welded wafer construction made of aluminum-magnesium alloy. Single-layer dividing bottoms. The production of such structures has been mastered by the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant. The onboard equipment of the control system is located in a sealed instrument compartment with the possibility of its replacement at the launch position. The missile control system is inertial with correction for external reference points (Navstar and Glonass systems). The payload is located under the fairing, the design of which ensures its dust and moisture protection and has hatches for supplying pneumatic and hydraulic lines to the payload systems and making electrical connections with ground equipment. The volume of the payload area is 9 m³.
A number of original technical solutions (absence of inter-tank and interstage compartments, placement of engines in fuel tanks) have been introduced into the design of the rocket, the length of which is 24.5 m, diameter 2.4 m, launch weight 64 tons, which justified themselves in ballistic missiles of submarines of several generations and allow: to reduce the passive mass of the rocket and thereby increase its power-to-weight ratio; simplify the process of cooling down engines before starting; improve the rigidity parameters of the rocket as an object of stabilization; use existing vehicles to transport the launch vehicle; reduce the size of the rocket and vehicles.
In fig. 3 shows the energy capabilities of the launch vehicle:
The Ricksha-1 launch vehicle can launch both foreign spacecraft and a significant part of modern and promising Russian-made spacecraft. During the creation of the Rickshaw-1 launch vehicle, modernization capabilities are laid down. Thus, equipping the rocket with two lateral boosters based on the first stage tanks ensures the launch of a payload weighing up to 4 tons into low-earth orbit.
It is a pity (from an engineering and economic point of view) that these rocket and space systems were not fully implemented.
There were three reasons for this:
1. Environmental component:
"The rocket fuel saga is the other side of the coin"
I can imagine how farts would be torn at Greenpeace and Bellona, and the latter would howl like a beluga from such a prospect.
Still, a "wet start" SLBM is not environmentally friendly enough.
2. The collapse of the USSR and a decrease in the need to launch a large number of military and civil satellites into orbit.
3. Some satellites and components can be launched exclusively from the territory of the manufacturer / customer of launches.
And, as you know, the launch vehicle is prepared exclusively by the manufacturer's specialists.
"Putting in the hands" the specialists of one of the most formidable enterprises of the military-industrial complex of the USSR high technologies - not everyone will dare to do this.
… not only everyone can, very few people can do it. 
4. Great competition from Russian and Ukrainian manufacturers of rocketry.
All of the above explains why "GRTs Makeyev" celebrates not only the birthdays of modern domestic rocketry, machine builders, missile forces and artillery, a submariner and chemist's day, but deservedly the Miass rocket builders consider April 12 their professional holiday.
With which I cordially and in advance congratulate them
Primary sources and citations:
© Ivan Tikhiy 2002
Photos videos, graphics and links: