Encyclopedia Astronautica
Alpha Lifeboat



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Alpha Lifeboat
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1995. 1995 joint Energia-Rockwell-Khrunichev design for space station Alpha lifeboat based on the Zarya reentry vehicle with a solid retrofire motor, cold gas thruster package. Five years on-orbit storage.

Design rejected in June 1996 in favor of use of a modified Soyuz TMA in short term, US X-38 in long term. Mass per crew 1560 kg.

Crew Size: 8. Orbital Storage: 1,825 days.

Gross mass: 12,500 kg (27,500 lb).
Payload: 3,000 kg (6,600 lb).
Height: 7.20 m (23.60 ft).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Rescue In the early 1960's, in the hey-day of the X-20 Dynasoar, it seemed that the US military would naturally keep building military aerospacecraft that would just keep going higher and faster. It was also supposed that the pilot would have to be given the equivalent of an ejection seat - some means of bailing out of the spacecraft in case of catastrophic failure or enemy attack. More...
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...
  • Chelomei Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Chelomei Design Bureau, Reutov, Russia. More...
  • North American American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA More...

Associated Propellants
  • Solid Solid propellants have the fuel and oxidiser embedded in a rubbery matrix. They were developed to a high degree of perfection in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. In Russia, development was slower, due to a lack of technical leadership in the area and rail handling problems. Solid propellants have the fuel and oxidiser embedded in a rubbery matrix. They were developed to a high degree of perfection in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. In Russia, development was slower, due to a lack of technical leadership in the area and rail handling problems. More...

Bibliography
  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.

Alpha Lifeboat Chronology


1996 June - .
  • Soyuz TMA, X-38 selected as ISS lifeboat over Alpha Lifeboat - . Nation: Russia. Program: ISS. Spacecraft: Alpha Lifeboat; Soyuz TMA; X-38; International Space Station. Summary: The Alpha lifeboat was based on the Zarya reentry vehicle with a solid retrofire motor and cold gas thruster package. The design was rejected in favor of use of modified Soyuz TM in short term, US X-38 in long term..

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