Encyclopedia Astronautica

Isayev, Aleksei Mikhailovich (1908-1971) Soviet Chief Designer at OKB-2, 1947-1971. Developed storable rocket engines for missiles, supplying innovative engines for Scuds, SLBM's. Leading designer of restartable space engines for satellites, manned spacecraft, and space stations.

Aleksei Mikhailovich Isayev was born in 1908 in Saint Petersburg, the son of an assistant professor at the University. In 1925 he entered the Moscow Mining Institute, and in 1932 began work at the Zaporozhtal Ferrous Metals Factory in Nizhiy Tagil. He discovered a love of aviation, becoming Director of Aviation Factory 22 on 18 August 1934. In October 1934 he began work at the V F Bolkhovitnov design bureau, where his first assignment was to design landing gear for the DB-A long range bomber. This was followed by work on the S fast bomber and I aircraft.

He was then assigned to work with A Ya Bereznyak on development of the first rocket-powered fighter, the BI. In October 1941, 40 days after work began, the Bolkhovitnov factory had to be moved to the Urals in the face of the German army advance into Russia. It was not until 15 May 1942 that G Ya Bakhchivangi made the first flight in the BI.

To replace the troublesome Dushkin D-1-A-1100 engine, Bolkhovitnov asked Isayev to head a bureau team to develop a better replacement. From that point on Isayev worked only on rocket engines. The work began from zero - there was no technical literature on the subject at the design bureau, and no engineers with rocket experience. Design materials were finally sent from the 'sharaga' (prison engineering group) Special Section No. 4 of the NKVD in Kazan, where Glushko was working. This allowed Isayev to develop the RD-1 engine which powered the BI-1 on two flights with pilot B N Kudrin.

From 3 July to 8 September 1945 Isayev was sent to Germany to acquire Nazi rocket technology. In July 1947 he was named head of his own design section, OKB-2 of the NII-1 Scientific Research Institute 1 of the Ministry of Aviation, dedicated solely to rocket technology. This became Section 9 of NII-88 in May 1949. In this period Isayev successfully developed the U-2000 engine for a surface-to-air missile and the U-4000-2 for an air-sea missile. An attempt was made to develop an 8 tonne thrust engine for the 201 missile. But Lavochkin knew from the first test attempt the idea was not achievable. The final design used four 2 tonne thrust chambers.

In 1952 Isayev developed the first practical anti-oscillation baffle for engine chamber of the Krest missile. This brought him to the attention of Korolev, who had him design the S2.253 engine for the R-11 (Scud) missile. In 1954 he was assigned the pump-fed engine for the second stage of the V-75 SAM and the 4 chamber S2.1100 engine for the Burya booster units. In December 1958 OKB-3 (D D Sevruk) was dissolved and consolidated into Isayev's OKB-2.

Isayev's work on space engines began with the retrofire engine TDU for the Vostok manned spacecraft. It was developed in 18 months and flew 104 times on Vostok, Voskhod, and Zenit spacecraft. The KTDU restartable engine was developed for use in unmanned lunar and planetary probes, and manoeuvrable manned spacecraft. These engines had to provide engine pulses ranging from a fraction of a second to many minutes. The latest KTDU-80 is used in the Soyuz TM and Progress M spacecraft.

For the N1-L3 lunar project Isayev developed the KTDU for the LOK lunar orbiter and the first Lox/LH2 engine for the L3M project. In 1967 OKB-2 was renamed KBKhM. Isayev died on 25 June 1971. He was remembered as an engineer of talent and knowledge, possessing phenomenal energy and initiative. He was a good leader of his staff and got along well with the other chief designers. His greatest innovations came in the field of submarine-launched ballistic missile propulsion, where he achieved submerging of the engines in the propellant tanks in order to minimise the length of the missile.

Birth Place: Saint Petersburg.

Born: 1908.10.24.
Died: 1971.06.10.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also

Isayev Chronology

1941 July 9 - .
  • Go-ahead for the BI-1 high speed rocket plane. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Isayev. Spacecraft: BI-1. Summary: Stalin gives the go-ahead for production of the Bereznyak-Isayev BI-1 high speed rocket plane..

1949 June - .
  • Samolyot 5 supersonic rocketplane cancelled. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Isayev. Spacecraft: Samolyot 5. After five unpowered flights, the program was cancelled. By that time better-funded turbojet-powered fighter prototypes were already achieving the 1200 km/hr top speed of the 5. Biesnovat and Isayev would elaborate the design in unmanned form into the supersonic R-1 air-to-surface missile.

1954 May 20 - . Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya.
  • Soviet government decree for full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Isayev; Glushko; Lavochkin; Myasishchev. Program: Navaho. Spacecraft: M-42; M-44. Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 957-409 'On transfer of intercontinental cruise missile work to the Ministry of Aviation Industry' was issued. Korolev had to place the highest priority on development of the R-7 ICBM. Therefore the final government decree authorised the Lavochkin and Myasishchev aircraft design bureaux to proceed in parallel with full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles. Both missiles would use ramjet engines by Bondaryuk, astronavigation systems by R Chachikyan, inertial navigation systems by G Tolstoysov, and aerodynamics developed by TsAGI (Central Hydrodynamics Institute). Lavochkin's Burya would use rocket booster engines built by Glushko, while Myasishchev's Buran would use Isayev engines. Both missiles were to deliver a nuclear warhead over an 8,500 km range. But the warhead design specified for the Lavochkin missile had a total mass of 2,100 kg, while that for the Myasishchev missile weighed 3,500 kg.

1964 July 21 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
1968 October 24 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 - lost opportunity in 1961 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Glushko; Korolev; Isayev; Mishin. Program: Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 3. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK. Glushko has a private conversation with Isayev at the N1 MIK during the Soyuz 3 launch preparations. Glushko revealed to Isayev that in 1961 he had offered Korolev a compromise - if Korolev would use the same 'packet' scheme for the N1 that he had used on the R-7, so that the individual engine modules could be individually tested on the ground before flight, Glushko would give up his insistence on the use of storable propellants. However, after checking with Mishin, Korolev would not compromise. Additional Details: here....

1971 June 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1-6L launch commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Pilyugin; Isayev. Program: Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Almaz OPS; Salyut 1; MKBS. The review of launch preparations veers off into a discussion of what the booster was now for. Pilyugin questioned the seriousness of intent of the TsKBEM staff. The digital control system priorities within the bureau were with DOS and Almaz -- why wasn't the N1-L3 the priority? Mishin had never been told that the N1-L3 development was lagging. It had no priority with the leadership. Top priority at TsKBEM was Nadiradze's solid propellant ICBM's, followed by the DOS Salyut station, and now Soyuz-Apollo preparations. Meanwhile it was finally recognised that a single-launch scenario was simply impossible, and two N1 launches would be needed to accomplish the lunar landing. But there was no political will to tell the Politburo the bad news -- that two N1's would be needed to be launched to accomplish the landing. The final conclusion was that the bureau needed a new direction, a project with national priority, like the DOS station. Strategic rocket work could be ruled out, as there were already too many players in that field. Additional Details: here....

1971 June 10 - .
  • Death of Aleksei Mikhailovich Isayev - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Isayev. Summary: Soviet Chief Designer at OKB-2, 1947-1971. Developed storable rocket engines for missiles, supplying innovative engines for Scuds, SLBM's. Leading designer of restartable space engines for satellites, manned spacecraft, and space stations..

1971 June 27 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soyuz 11 Day 22 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky; Patsayev; Volkov; Isayev; Ustinov; Smirnov; Keldysh; Mishin. Program: Salyut; Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK; Salyut 1. The shocking news of rocket engine designer Isayev's premature death is received at the Soyuz 11 control point at Yevpatoriya. This is followed by the news that the third N1 failed 57 seconds into its flight. A total of 13 N1's were built, and all three launched so far have exploded. Kamanin agreed to cancellation of the entire project three years ago, but Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Mishin continued in their grandiose charade, wasting billions of roubles in the process. Meanwhile on the 22nd day of Soyuz 11's flight, the crew is up and about. Volkov is especially active, which should improve his readaptation when he returns to earth.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use