Encyclopedia Astronautica
Polyblock UR-500



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UR-500 Polyblock
The original selected UR-500 'polyblock' configuration. This had the advantage of a much shorter vehicle than the conventional design, with a slight but acceptable weight penalty. The original vehicle would use four large fixed Glushko RD-253 motors surrounded by four smaller gimballed UR-200 motors. During development this was abandoned in favour of six Glushko motors, making for an even simpler and more compact vehicle.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Universal Rockets
Chelomei's Universal Rocket Family. From left to right: UR-100 (three variants) and UR-100N (three variants). UR-200. Original UR-500 configuration, composed of clustered UR-200's. Conventional UR-500 monoblock configuration. Selected UR-500 polyblock configuration. UR-500 two-stage configuration - ICBM version and as flown. UR-500K configuration with LK-1; with Block D upper stage and L1; with Block D upper stage for satellite launch. UR-700.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian orbital launch vehicle. UR-500 design studies considered two variants of the first stage: polyblock and monoblock. The polyblock variant consisted of a centre large diameter oxidizer tank surrounded by several smaller diameter fuel tanks. This version could be assembled in a special rig with the lateral blocks being sequentially mounted on the centre. In January 1962 this design was chosen as most advantageous, following studies that indicated improved wind loads and bending moment characteristics compared to the monoblock design. The developed version of the design would become known as the Proton.

This had the advantage of easier installation of the upper stages and payload due to the smaller length of the first stage. This variant was studied in Filial 1 under the lead engineer E. T. Radchenko. The polyblock design received patent number 36616 in 26 July 1966. Named on the patent were V N Chelomei, V N Bugayckiy, V A Birodov, G D Dermichev, N I Yegorov, V K Karrask, Yu P Kolesnikov, Ya B Nodelman, and E T Radchenko.

The design mass and engine performance figures for this version have been given; the calculated payload is 12,000 kg. This is coincidentally very close to the 12,200 kg payload mass given (incorrectly) at the time of the launch of the two-stage variant of the launch vehicle, Proton 1.

LEO Payload: 12,000 kg (26,000 lb) to a 200 km orbit.

Stage Data - Polyblock UR-500

  • Stage 1. 1 x UR-500 Polyblock Stage 1P. Gross Mass: 378,900 kg (835,300 lb). Empty Mass: 26,900 kg (59,300 lb). Thrust (vac): 8,989.700 kN (2,020,965 lbf). Isp: 310 sec. Burn time: 119 sec. Isp(sl): 280 sec. Diameter: 4.10 m (13.40 ft). Span: 7.40 m (24.20 ft). Length: 21.20 m (69.50 ft). Propellants: N2O4/UDMH. No Engines: 4. Engine: 8D43 + 11D43. Status: Study 1962. Comments: Original 'Polyblock' design for Proton first stage. This was selected configuration; although somewhat greater in dry mass, it had the advantages of shorter length.
  • Stage 2. 1 x UR-500 Stage 2. Gross Mass: 137,700 kg (303,500 lb). Empty Mass: 16,000 kg (35,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 3,183.200 kN (715,612 lbf). Isp: 320 sec. Burn time: 119 sec. Diameter: 4.10 m (13.40 ft). Span: 4.10 m (13.40 ft). Length: 10.90 m (35.70 ft). Propellants: N2O4/UDMH. No Engines: 4. Engine: RD-0213. Status: Study 1962. Comments: Original Proton second stage design.
  • Stage 3. 1 x UR-500 Stage 3. Gross Mass: 23,940 kg (52,770 lb). Empty Mass: 2,180 kg (4,800 lb). Thrust (vac): 613.110 kN (137,833 lbf). Isp: 320 sec. Burn time: 110 sec. Diameter: 4.10 m (13.40 ft). Span: 4.10 m (13.40 ft). Length: 3.70 m (12.10 ft). Propellants: N2O4/UDMH. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-0212. Status: Study 1962. Comments: Original Proton third stage design.

Status: Design 1962.
Gross mass: 554,940 kg (1,223,430 lb).
Payload: 12,000 kg (26,000 lb).
Height: 43.00 m (141.00 ft).
Diameter: 4.10 m (13.40 ft).
Thrust: 8,119.80 kN (1,825,404 lbf).
Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • 11D43 Glushko N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 1642 kN. Developed 1960-64. Isp=316s. Low-expansion ratio gimbaled variant for Proton stage 1 concept. Configuration 4 x 8D43 clustered with 4 x 11D43 abandoned in favor of 6 x Glushko 11D48 in final Proton design. More...
  • 8D43 Kosberg N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 559 kN. UR-500 stage 1 original concept. Hardware. Isp=316s. In early Proton design would be clustered with 4 x Glushko 11D43. Abandoned in favor of 6 x Glushko 11D48, but later developed into the RD-0208 and RD-0210. More...
  • 8D43 + 11D43 Kosberg N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 2247.450 kN. Design 1962. Isp=310s. Originally the first stage of the Proton was designed for 4 x fixed 11D43 and 4 x gimballed Kosberg 8D43; replaced by 6 x 11D48 from Glushko in final Proton design. More...
  • RD-0212 Kosberg N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 613 kN. Proton stage 3. Engine unit consisting of 1 RD-0213 maine engine and 4 RD-0214 vernier/steering engines. 8D48 essentially similar to 8D411 and 8D412 and has the same combustion chamber. Isp=324s. First flight 1967. More...
  • RD-0213 Kosberg N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 582.1 kN. Proton stage 3. Design 1962. Version of RD-0210. Staged combustion cycle (Oxidizer pre-burner gas routed to main chamber after driving turbine). Main engine for Proton Stage 3 in system RD-0212. Isp=326s. More...

See also
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. More...

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

Associated Stages
  • UR-500 Polyblock Stage 1P N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 378,900/26,900 kg. Thrust 8,989.70 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 310 seconds. Original 'Polyblock' design for Proton first stage. This was selected configuration; although somewhat greater in dry mass, it had the advantages of shorter length. More...
  • UR-500 Stage 2 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 137,700/16,000 kg. Thrust 3,183.20 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 320 seconds. Original Proton second stage design. More...
  • UR-500 Stage 3 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 23,940/2,180 kg. Thrust 613.11 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 320 seconds. Original Proton third stage design. More...

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