Encyclopedia Astronautica
YaKhR-2 Core


Nuclear/Ammonia propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 180,000/22,000 kg. Thrust 1,660.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 470 seconds. Engines in development by Bondayuk and Glushko. Alternate propellants ammonia only or ammonia/alcohol mixture. Four expansion nozzles fed by single reactor. Masses calculated based on given vehicle gross weight and performance.

Status: Development ended 1949.
Gross mass: 180,000 kg (390,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 22,000 kg (48,000 lb).
Height: 37.00 m (121.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.33 m (10.92 ft).
Span: 3.33 m (10.92 ft).
Thrust: 1,660.00 kN (373,180 lbf).
Specific impulse: 470 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 430 s.
Burn time: 430 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • YaRD OKB-456 Glushko nuclear/ammonia rocket engine. 1373 kN. Development ended 1960. Isp=470s. Used nuclear reactor in cylindrical housing, operating at 3000 deg K. Propellant heated in the reactor and exhausted through four expansion nozzles More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • YaKhR-2 Russian nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. First large space launcher considered in the Soviet Union. It would have had the same layout as the R-7, but with six strap-ons increased in size by 50%. The core, igniting at altitude, used a nuclear thermal engine using ammonia as propellant. Dropped in favor of development of conventional chemical propulsion. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Nuclear/Ammonia Nuclear thermal engines use the heat of a nuclear reactor to heat a propellant. Although early Russian designs used ammonia or an ammonia/alcohol mixture as propellant, the ideal working fluid for space applications is the liquid form of the lightest element, hydrogen. Although successfully ground-tested in both Russia, they have never been flown due primarily to environmental and safety concerns. More...

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