NK-33 engine has a successful start of the Soyuz-2-1v rocket

Today, December 28, at 16:30 Moscow Time from the military cosmodrome Plesetsk (Arkhangelsk region) was the first successful test start of the new light-weight rocket carrier the Soyuz-2-1v, equipped with an NK-33 engine made by Samara company Kuznetsov, a part of the United Engine Corporation (a subsidiary of Rostech’s OBORONPROM). The rocket will deliver into orbit calibration spheres and a working model of the small space apparatus Aist.

The NK-33 engine, installed in the first stage of the new rocket, worked the flight flawlessly, providing successful launch of the rocket into its intended orbit. It worked in flight for 200 seconds.

For the Kuznetsov team, the start of the Soyuz-2-1v rocket is an important event. This is the first launch of the NK-33 in a domestic project since the closure of the Soviet lunar program, where it was intended to be used.

The complex work with the NK-33 engine for future launch on the Soyuz-2-1v rocket began in 2010.Together with technical plans and the comprehensive plans for the experimental changes to the NK-33 engine over several years underwent many checks with the aim of confirming the quality characteristics. The NK-33 was tested under conditions of using other types of fuel, foreign particles, and with a three-fold increase in the intended service life.

The result was the firing test of the block of the first stage of the Soyuz-2-1v, conducted June 3, 2013 at the testing center for the air and space industry (in the city of Peresvet). In the context of the test the NK-33 demonstrated high reliability.

In the process of working to adapt the NK-33 for the Russian project, several sensors and nodes were changed in the engine, increasing flight lifespan and also changing the flight profile.

The most important task for UEC is establishing mass production of the NK-33 engine. A significant proportion of the processes in its preparation at Kuznetsov has already been completed.

Information: The NK-33 engine was created by designer Nikoay Dmitrievich Kuznetsov for the first stage of the ‘lunar’ rocket the N1-L3 in the late 1960s-early 1970s. The NK-33’s main advantage is its light weight relative to its draught. On fuel economy the engine conforms to current requirements for developing technology. In 1974 the lunar program was closed down. The existing NK-33s were ordered to be destroyed. But Kuznetsov was able to save them. In the 1990s the NK-33 engine was presented at an exhibition in Moscow, where it drew tremendous interest from domestic and foreign partners.

Work on updating the NK-33 engine since that time has taken two directions. Under foreign contract — the program to launch the Antares class rocket carrier, as well as implementing the domestic project on launching the Soyuz-2-1v lightweight rocket carrier.

2013 was a key year from the point of view of work on the NK-33. On April 22, 2013, two NK-33/AJ26 engines provided the first successful start for the Antares rocket, and its second launch took place on September 18, during which useful cargo was delivered to the International Space Station for the station’s summer crew.

Kuznetsov is one of the largest companies in aviation and space engine-building. It is a part of the United Engine Corporation.

United Engine Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of OBORONPROM. More than 85% of the leading companies specializing in the development, mass production, and aftersales servicing of gas turbine technology are integrated into UEC, as well as key companies — selectors of the industry. One of UEC’s priority directions is implementing comprehensive programs for developing companies by implementing new technologies that meet international standards

United Industrial Corporation OBORONPROM is a multi-faceted machine-building group founded in 2002. It is part of the Russian Technologies group of companies. Its primary areas of business are helicopters (Russian Helicopters) and engine-building (UEC).

Rostech is a Russian corporation founded in 2007 to facilitate the development, production, and export of high-tech industrial products for civil and military applications. Altogether, Russian Technologies encompasses 663 organizations. The corporation includes 8 in the military-industrial complex, and five in civilian industry. The corporation works in 60 constituent regions of the Russian Federation and supplies products to more than 70 countries around the world. Its 2012 turnover 931 billion rubles, with net profit of 38.5 billion rubles. It paid a total of 109 billion rubles in taxes at all budget levels.