Encyclopedia Astronautica
VKS



vksr.jpg
VKS-R
RKK Energia's proposed solution to the Soviet government's MVKS requirement for a single-stage-to-orbit reusable aerospaceplane system was this 700-metric-ton, turboramjet/rocket mised propulsion design. Work began in 1986 but abandoned when the Soviet Union collapsed.

In reaction to US X-30 project, government decrees of 27 January and 19 July 1986 ordered development of a Soviet equivalent. The Ministry of Defense issued technical specifications on 1 September for an MVKS, a single-stage reusable aerospaceplane system. The MKVS was to provide effective and economic delivery to near-earth orbit; develop the technology for effective transatmospheric flight; provide super high-speed intercontinental transport, and fulfill military objectives in and from space. It is known that the Tupolev, Yakovlev, and Energia design bureaus submitted designs.

At NPO Energia Tsybin was appointed the Chief Designer for the project. The Energia VKS was designed as a hypersonic rocketplane with multi-regime engines. These engines were turbo-ramjet with in-line rocket chambers. The VKS was sketched out as having a 700 metric ton takeoff mass, of which 140 metric tons was structure. A 25 metric ton payload could be delivered to a 200 km / 51 degree orbit. Length would have been 71 m, wingspan 42 m, and height 10 m to the top of the fuselage.

Work was abandoned as the Soviet Union broke up. In any case the Tupolev Tu-2000 seemed the preferred solution and had been funded for development of a subscale prototype.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • VKS Russian SSTO winged orbital launch vehicle. RKK Energia's proposed solution to the Soviet government's MVKS requirement for a single-stage-to-orbit reusable aerospaceplane system was this 700-metric-ton, turboramjet/rocket mised propulsion design. Work began in 1986 but abandoned when the Soviet Union collapsed. More...
  • VKS-ZhRD+GPVRD Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Horizontal takeoff, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, launch vehicle. Mixed rocket / scramjet propulsion. More...
  • VKS-RTO+ZhRD Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Horizontal takeoff, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, launch vehicle. Mixed rocket / ramjet propulsion. More...
  • VKS-D Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Air launched from An-225. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 275,000 kg, 38.0 m length x 24.0 m wingspan, 900 kph at 9,500 m altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 270 m/s. More...
  • VKS-G Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Air launched from Kholod Mach 5 mother ship. This was a Mikoyan supersonic cargo aircraft, designed from Spiral 50-50 design. Combined-cycle turbo-ramjet engine. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 200,000 kg, Mach 5 at 25 to 30 km altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 1130 m/s. It was concluded that the extensive development would be required for the combination-cycle engines, resulting in an extended development schedule and high technical risk. The more conservative subsonic-launched MAKS was chosen instead. More...
  • VKS-O Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertical takeoff, ballistic re-entry, single-stage-to-orbit, Lox/Kerosene/LH2 tripropellant rocket engine powered, reusable launch vehicle. 550 tonne and 770 tonne gross lift-off mass versions considered. More...
  • VKS-R Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Sled launched, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, Lox/LH2 launch vehicle. 290 tonne and 550 tonne versions considered. Studied in tradeoff studies leading to MAKS. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 290,000 kg, Mach 0.5, zero altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 100 m/s. The wheeled sled would get the vehicle up to a velocity where the wings could provide lift, allowing lower-thrust engines to be used than in a vertical-takeoff design. This saved weight, but velocity losses during lifting flight to orbit almost cancelled the advantage, resulting in the approach being unattractive in comparison to pure vertical-launch or air-launch designs. More...
  • VKS-V Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertical takeoff, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, Lox/Kerosene/LH2 tripropellant rocket engine powered vehicle. 550 tonne gross liftoff mass and 1000 tonne versions studied. Analogous to NASA's Shuttle-2 and RKK Energia's VKS. More...
  • VKS-DM Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Air launched from Gerakl / NPO Molniya-1000 heavy-lift aircraft, catamaran layout, twin-fuselage triplane. Release conditions: Suspended load, 450,000 kg, 900 kph at 9,500 m altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 270 m/s. More...

VKS Chronology


1986 January 27 - . LV Family: VKS. Launch Vehicle: Tu-2000; Yakovlev MVKS.
  • Government decree orders design of a Soviet aerospaceplane - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Tu-2000; Yakovlev MVKS; VKS. Summary: In reaction to US X-30 project government decree ordered development of a Soviet equivalent..

1986 July 19 - . LV Family: VKS. Launch Vehicle: Tu-2000; Yakovlev MVKS.
  • Government decree orders development of a Soviet aerospaceplane - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Tu-2000; Yakovlev MVKS; VKS. Summary: The decree of 27 January 1986 was reaffirmed..

1986 September - . LV Family: VKS. Launch Vehicle: Tu-2000; Yakovlev MVKS.
  • MVKS specification issued - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Tu-2000; Yakovlev MVKS; VKS. The Ministry of Defence issued technical specifications on 1 September for an MVKS, a single-stage reusable aerospaceplane system. The MKVS was to provide effective and economic delivery to near-earth orbit; develop the technology for effective transatmospheric flight; provide super high-speed intercontinental transport, and fulfil military objectives in and from space.

1992 December 18 - . LV Family: VKS. Launch Vehicle: VKS-DM.
  • First flight of Molniya-1 triplane. - . Nation: Russia. Summary: Subscale proof-of-concept vehicle for Gerakl / Molniya-1000 catamaran subsonic 900 tonne aircraft design that would be used for VKS-DM spaceplane..

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