Encyclopedia Astronautica

RD-270 Rocket Engine - largest single-chamber engine ever developed in the Soviet Union.
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler
NPO Enerogmash Museum, November 1992
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler
Glushko N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 6713 kN. UR-700, R-56 stage 1. Development ended 1968. Isp=322s. Developed 1962-1971, largest rocket engine ever built in the Soviet Union, answer to F-1. Tested but cancelled before combustion instability problems solved.

Authorized for development in the 1962-1971 period, the RD-270 was Glushko's answer to the US F-1 rocket engine and was the largest rocket engine ever built in the Soviet Union. It was to be used on Chelomei's UR-700 lunar vehicle or Yangel's R-56 monster rocket. The UR-700 would have used 6 RD-270 in the first stage. No design bureau would attempt anything like it today. It was the maximum possible power from the design: gas and gas mixture in the combustion chamber; two gas generators in the combustion chamber; one oxidiser rich and one fuel rich; closed cycle; staged burning; very high pressure in the combustion chamber (266 bar compared to about 80 bar in many today, except the SSME). Thrust was 640,000 kgf. Hot fire tests had started (with 40 done) and some units had been proved. Engine head testing had started. The peak of problems had almost been surmounted when all the N-1 lunar program was closed down and efforts had to stop. It never was used on a flight vehicle and funding ran out before combustion instability problems could be solved. Wet Mass: 5603 kg wet. Engine Cycle: closed staged. Feed Method: turbopump.

Application: UR-700, R-56 stage 1.


Thrust (sl): 6,272.000 kN (1,410,001 lbf). Thrust (sl): 639,573 kgf. Engine: 4,470 kg (9,850 lb). Chamber Pressure: 261.00 bar. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 153.24. Oxidizer to Fuel Ratio: 2.67.

AKA: 8D420.
Status: Development ended 1968.
Unfuelled mass: 4,470 kg (9,850 lb).
Height: 4.85 m (15.91 ft).
Diameter: 3.30 m (10.80 ft).
Thrust: 6,713.00 kN (1,509,142 lbf).
Specific impulse: 322 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 301 s.
First Launch: 1962-71.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • UR-700 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The UR-700 was the member of Vladimir Chelomei's Universal Rocket family designed in the 1960's to allow direct manned flight by the LK-700 spacecraft to the surface of the moon. However Korolev's N1 was the selected Soviet super-booster design. Only when the N1 ran into schedule problems in 1967 was work on the UR-700 resumed. The draft project foresaw first launch in May 1972. But no financing for full scale development was forthcoming; by then it was apparent that the moon race was lost. More...

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

Associated Propellants
  • N2O4/UDMH Nitrogen tetroxide became the storable liquid propellant of choice from the late 1950's. Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine ((CH3)2NNH2) became the storable liquid fuel of choice by the mid-1950's. Development of UDMH in the Soviet Union began in 1949. It is used in virtually all storable liquid rocket engines except for some orbital manoeuvring engines in the United States, where MMH has been preferred due to a slightly higher density and performance. More...

  • Vetrov, G S, S. P. Korolev i evo delo, Nauka, Moscow, 1998.
  • Salmon, Andrew, The Story Of Russian Rocket Engines - Energomash Museum, Commentary by the guide at the Energomash rocket engine museum in Khimki, April 1998 at YSC98..

Associated Stages
  • UR-700-2 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,072,000/75,600 kg. Thrust 20,182.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 322 seconds. More...
  • UR-700-1 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,210,000/222,100 kg. Thrust 40,364.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 322 seconds. Includes propellant tanks which fed stage two engines from liftoff to first stage cutoff. More...

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