Khrunichev Space R&D Center

Khrunichev Space Center is located in Russia. It is the famous manufacturer of the Proton Rocket and Rockot. Khrunichev is also developing the Angara Launch Vehicle.

The Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre was created by an RF presidential decree of 7 June 1993 on the base of the largest producers of aerospace and rocket technology: the Khrunichev Machine-building Plant and the Salyut Design Bureau. Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre is one of the world's largest aerospace corporations leading the international market of space services.

Space Station PictureKhrunichev State Research and Production Space Center manufactured all the Russian manned orbital stations: 'Salyut', 'Mir' and 'Almaz' and also all the heavy modules that docked to the orbital stations and the three-seater recoverable spacecrafts. First generation orbital stations 'Salyut', 'Salyut 2', 'Salyut-3', 'Salyut-4' and 'Salyut-5' had only one docking port. This essentially limited the manned flight possibilities. The second generation orbital stations ('Salyut-6' and 'Salyut-7') had two docking units which significantly expanded the stations' operation capabilities. An important stage in provisioning of the 'Salyut-6' and 'Salyut-7' stations' operation was the use of "Kosmos" ferry spacecraft. The Center manufactured four such spacecrafts: "Kosmos-929", "Kosmos-1267", "Kosmos-1443" and "Kosmos-1686".

The creation of the automatic unmanned orbital station "Almaz" was an important step in spacecraft development. The first 'Kosmos-1870' was in orbit from July 25, 1987 to July 30, 1989. The high quality radar imagery of the Earth's surface, obtained from this station, was used in the interests of the Ministry of Defense and national economy. "Almaz-1" with modernized radar, allowing to obtain high spatial resolution images of the Earth, was in orbit from March 31,1991 to October 17,1992.


The experimental spacecraft "Polyus" of 100-ton class was developed on the basis of FCM (functional cargo module) using the modular design. It served as a payload during the first launch of the "Energiya" launcher on May 15,1987. Polyus spacecraft served as a dimension and mass mock-up during the flight of Energiya.

Mir Space Station

Mir Space Station, the multi-purpose permanent orbital complex was a third generation station. Its purpose was the realization of the Russian national space scientific program, the practical solution of various economic tasks and for joint work in international programs on contractual and commercial basis. The basic module - the orbital station "Mir" was launched on February 20,1986. The station had two docking ports where "Soyuz" spacecraft - delivering and changing crews and various unmanned modules including "Progress" ferries could dock to. One of the docking ports had a device which made it possible for re-docking of the docked modules to the four-side docking adapter and their stay in a fixed position during operation of the station "Mir". The basic module's construction has allowed to create a multi-purpose, modular type manned complex in space for the first time.

The astrophysical module "Kvant" was launched on March 31, 1987 and in ten days it docked to the "Mir" station. Then in five days a part of the module carrying auxiliary systems separated from the station's scientific module and after 135 days of independent flight burnt in the atmosphere dense layers. The astrophysical module "Kvant" is a multipurpose one. It includes astrophysical instrumentation, an electrophoretic plant for obtaining super-pure biologically active substances in zero gravity, equipment for visual observation of the Earth's surface and auxiliary and experimental equipment supplementary to the "Mir" station onboard systems. There was a spacious pressurized working compartment for astronauts.

In December 1989 the module "Kvant-2" joined the station. Its purpose was to additionally equip "Mir" with astronaut life support systems and to increase the orbital complex's power capabilities. The module carried load-bearing gyro attitude control systems, power supply systems, new plants for obtaining oxygen and for water regeneration and domestic appliances.

In July 1990 the module "Kristall" was docked to the complex. Its purpose was to carry out tests of new technologies for pro-ducing construction materials, semi-con-ductors and improved bio-agents, in zero gravity. The "Kristall" module's androgynous docking unit is designed for docking with reusable "Buran" and "Shuttle" type spacecrafts.

The assembly of "Mir" complex was continued in 1995.
On June 1, 1995 the complex was supplemented with the "Spektr" research module. It was integrated into the "Mir" complex in order to research the Earth's natural resources, the upper layer of the atmosphere, near station space, geophysical natural and artificial processes in the near-Earth space and in the upper layers of the atmosphere and to perform medical and biologic; studies on the joint Russian-American programs "Mir - Shuttle" and "Mir - NASA". It also equipped the station with additional power supply sources. Additionally the module "Spektr" was used as a supply ferry. It delivered fuel supplies, expendable materials and additional equipment to the station "Mir". The assembly of "Mir" was completed in 1996, when the Earth remote sensing module "Priroda" joined the station.

International Launch Services

Proton Rocket PicThe Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia joint venture was registered on April 15, 1993. The Russian participants was the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and the Energia Rocket Space Corporation. The US particirants was Lockheed company. As a result of the joint venture’s activities the Proton launcher has begun to appear on the world market. In 1994 the two US companies Lockheed and Martin Marietta amalgamated and formed Lockheed – Martin. The logical continuation of the activities of the joint venture Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia was the creation in June 1995 of the joint venture International Launch Services (ILS). ILS offers telecommunications satellite launch services in the world market, using the Atlas launch vehicle family (manufactured by Lockheed-Martin, a U.S. company) or the Proton-K LV, the Proton-M LV or the Angara LV families (manufactured by the Khrunichev Space Center, a Russian company).

The “Proton-K” launcher is a whole era in the development of Soviet launch vehicles. However some of the “Proton-K” parameters were improved – the control system and some of operational characteristics, were increased the space for payload accommodation.

Proton M’s new payload fairing accommodates larger payloads and advanced upper stage boosters. One such booster is the Breeze M (it is the upper stage booster that supports the final phase of injection into a target orbit). The Breeze M upper stage makes it possible to increase the payload-to-GTO mass to 6 tons. Breeze-M had its international debut on December 30, 2002 when Proton-M launched the Nimiq-2 telecommunications satellite.


Angara Rocket PicKhrunichev Space Center is developing an oxygen-hydrogen booster (OHB). The booster will significantly improve the Proton-M’s energy and mass characteristics and will make possible to expand the rage of tasks on the injection of various spacecraft. In August 1994 Khrunichev State Space Center was announced the winner in the competition for creation of the space rocket complex "Angara". As part of the Angara program, Khrunichev is implementing a strategy of expeditious development of a common core booster powered by LOX/kerosene engines to serve as the basis for a number of advanced environment-friendly launchers of small-, medium- and heavy-lift classes. Underpinning the Angara project is the idea to secure Russia’s assured access to space from the Russian launch base at Plesetsk and guarantee that Russia will be able to engage in space activities regardless of any trends in military-political and economic relations with other countries. The launch complex "Angara" will be situated at Plesetsk.   On December 22, 2004 an inter-governmental agreement was signed between the Russian Federation and Republic of Kazakhstan on the Development of the Baiterek Space Launch Complex at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Agreement lays down fundamental principles and terms of collaboration in the development and joint use at Baikonur of Baiterek, a new environment-friendly space launch complex. Under the Baiterek project, new processing and launch facilities will be built at Baikonur to support launches of the Angara launch vehicle.


Baikal Rocket PictureBaikal 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%.12KRB Upper StageThe 12KRB upper stage was developed and fabricated by the Khrunichev Space Center for GSLV, a new Indian launch vehicle, under a contract with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). 12KRB is used as GSLV's third stage. Its sustainer developed by the Isaev Chemical Machine Building Design Bureau is a cryogenic engine using liquid propellants (namely, the liquid oxygen and the liquid nitrogen). When integrated in GSLV the 12KRB upper stage can inject an up to 2500-kg spacecraft into geotransfer orbit from Sriharikota-SHAR, the Indian launch center.

A first successful launch of GSLV with 12KRB as a cryogenic upper stage took place on April 18, 2001 .   On October 26, 2004 a contract was signed to design and build a Space Rocket Complex with a small-lift Launch Vehicle KSLV 1. The design represents a joint effort: KhSC will build the 1st KSLV 1 Stage while the 2nd Stage is to be designed and produced in South Korea . The Contract with the Republic of Korea to develop a Space Rocket Complex with a small-lift Launch Vehicle KSLV 1 for this country has been the result of a long (more than two years) and effort-consuming exercise.

International Space Station

Khrunichev Space Center's participation in the ISS program is a logical continuation of work on creation of orbital stations. Khrunichev Center is developing and manufacturing the first element of the International Space Station (ISS) - the Functional Cargo Module (FCM) Zarya, and Service Module.  The Zarya module was successfully placed in orbit by a Proton Launch Vehicle on November 20, 1998 .The Service Module, which was being developed and designed by Khrunichev virtually in parallel with the Zarya block, is a considerably modified version of the Mir core module. A Proton K launcher carrying Zvezda ('Star'), was successfully launched from Baikonyr on July 12, 2000.

While KhSC were developing Zarya a decision was made by KhSC managers in 1995 to finance and build FGB2, a Zarya backup, that might eventually be incorporated in the Russian segment of the ISS. In compliance with Rosaviacosmos Decision dated February 16, 2004 , on “Implementation of abbreviated ISS configuration” approved by Yuri Koptev, Director General, Rosaviacosmos, as well as the Federal Space Agency Decision dated July 20, 2004 , on “Multipurpose Lab Module (MLM) implementation pr ocess using the FGB 2 backlog”, approved by A.N. Perminov, the Head of the Federal Space Agency, the MLM was included in the Russian Segment Configuration on the nadir port of Zarya Module.

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Updated: Saturday 19th, July, 2008