Encyclopedia Astronautica
NK-15



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NK15 engine
NK-15 / 11D51 rocket engine for first stage of N1
Credit: © Mark Wade
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NK-15 / 11D51
NK-15 / 11D51 rocket engine for first stage of N1
Credit: © Mark Wade
Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1544 kN. N-1 stage 1 (block A). Development ended 1964. On the basis of NK-9 the NK-15 was developed for the N-1 launcher. 30 were used on the Block A (Stage 1) of the N-1. Isp=318s. First flight 1969.

Application: N-1 stage 1 (block A).

Thrust (sl): 1,526.000 kN (343,058 lbf). Thrust (sl): 154,000 kgf. Engine: 1,247 kg (2,749 lb). Chamber Pressure: 78.50 bar. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 126.22. Oxidizer to Fuel Ratio: 2.52.

AKA: 11D51.
Status: Development ended 1964.
Unfuelled mass: 1,247 kg (2,749 lb).
Height: 2.70 m (8.80 ft).
Diameter: 1.50 m (4.90 ft).
Thrust: 1,544.00 kN (347,105 lbf).
Specific impulse: 318 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 297 s.
First Launch: 1962-72.
Number: 120 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • N1 1964 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle for the N1-L3 lunar landing mission as described in the draft project of 1964. Design requirement for the single-launch lunar-orbit-rendezvous lunar landing was 2750 tonnes liftoff mass and 95 tonnes low earth orbit payload. The actual N1 that flew in 1969 to 1972 had lighter first and third stages, but never demonstrated a full fuel load using superchilled propellants as planned in the draft project.. More...
  • N1 Nuclear A Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. A version of the N1 with a nuclear upper stage was studied by Korolev in 1963. It was concluded that the optimum design would allow a single N1 to launch a direct manned lunar landing and return. However for manned Mars missions, a nuclear electric engine was found to be much more efficient. This essentially killed further consideration of thermal nuclear upper stages within the bureau. More...
  • N1 Nuclear V-B Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. N1 with nuclear upper stage. This variant of the Type V nuclear engine used a very heavy radiation shield to protect the crew of any manned spacecraft payload. More...
  • N1 Nuclear AF Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. A variant of the first alternative considered in the 1963 nuclear N1 study. This was a 'high thrust' version of the Type A engine - apparently with higher propellant rate, lower specific impulse, and lower engine weight. Due to the very low density of the enormous liquid hydrogen upper stages, these immense vehicles would have been very ungainly (and had interesting stress problems during ascent!) More...
  • N1 Nuclear V Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Second primary alternative considered for the 1963 nuclear N1 study. The immense liquid hydrogen tank of the second nuclear stage would have dwarfed the N1 first stage mounted below it in the shadows. The extremely poor thrust to weight ratio of the Type V engine design compared to that of the Type A remains unexplained. More...
  • N1 1962 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Final configuration of the N1 at the time of development go-ahead in 1962. The 75 tonne payload was to consist of the Raskat dispenser, which would have delivered 17 multi-megaton nuclear warheads, essentially destroying the United States in a single launch. The design also supported the OS-1 heavy space station and TMK manned Mars flyby requirements - as opposed to any manned lunar landing project. More...
  • N1 1969 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...
  • N-IUV-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IUV-III would replace the N-IU's conventional third stage with a LOX/LH2 cryogenic third stage. This was seen at the time as the first step in exploitation of cryogenic technology in Russia. Although pursued for some time, this large stage never went into development. The more modestly-sized Block R, Block S, and Block SR instead were put into development in the early 1970's. More...
  • N-IU Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IU would be the initial production version of the N1 following the mad rush to make the lunar landings. It would have essentially the same payload but would be substantially re-engineered for sharply improved reliability, most notably with autonomously operating engines. It is interesting to note that four years before the disastorous first flight Korolev already foresaw the potential engine problems that would be the downfall of the project. More...
  • N1M Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1M was to be the first Soviet launch vehicle to use liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen high energy cyrogenic propellants. It was designed to launch payloads in support of the LEK lunar expeditions (two cosmonauts on the surface), the DLB (long-duration lunar base), and heavy unmanned satellites into geosynchronous and interplanetary trajectories. As originally conceived, the advanced propellants would be used in all upper stages. However due to delays in Kuznetsov development of a 200 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engine, the final version used an N1 first stage, with a Block V-III second stage, and Blocks S and R third and fourth stages. More...
  • N1 The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Kuznetsov Russian manufacturer of rocket engines. Kuznetsov Design Bureau, Russia. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

Associated Stages
  • N1 1962 - A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,384,000/117,000 kg. Thrust 39,420.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 331 seconds. Earlier design for the Block A. Includes 14,000 kg for Stage 1-2 interstage and payload fairing. Compared to total fuelled mass excludes 15,000 kg propellant expended in thrust build-up and boil-off prior to liftoff. Values as in draft project as defended on 2-16 July 1962. More...
  • N1 1964 - A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,942,000/192,000 kg. Thrust 49,420.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 331 seconds. First stage of the N1 superbooster. As per draft project for N1-L3, 1964. Block A modified with six additional engines and propellant increased by 550 tonnes by using chilled propellants. More...
  • N1 Block A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,880,000/130,000 kg. Thrust 50,300.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 330 seconds. Includes 14,000 kg for Stage 1-2 interstage and payload fairing. Compared to total fuelled mass excludes 15,000 kg propellant expended in thrust build-up and boil-off prior to liftoff. Values as in draft project as defended on 2-16 July 1962. More...
  • N1U 1965 - A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,934,000/195,000 kg. Thrust 49,420.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 331 seconds. As per N1 improvement study, 1965. Primarily improved reliability and produceability compared to first model. More...

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