Searching for details:
The author of this page will appreciate comments, corrections and imagery related to the subject. Please contact Anatoly Zak.
Russia's future Moon rocket
During 2014, the concept of a Moon rocket proposed at RKK Energia around a year earlier continued to evolve. By that time, the project had received the designation Energia-5KV, where "V" stood either for "Vostochny launch site" or "vodorod," a Russian term for hydrogen. In the latter case, the name would emphasize more reliance on hydrogen fuel in the latest incarnation of the vehicle.
Previous chapter: Energia-5K rocket
Above: RKK Energia's concept of the Energia-5KV rocket as of 2014.
In the 2014 configuration, the lower stages of the Energia-5K rocket remained largely unchanged -- four boosters of the first stage with RD-170MV engines and a core booster of the second stage with an RD-171MV engine. All five boosters still shared a diameter of 4.1 meters. (The boosters were now distributed evenly around the core, instead of being attached in pairs as in the 2013 version of the rocket.)
However the rest of the vehicle saw a major revamp. The third stage was enlarged and switched from kerosene to the more potent hydrogen fuel. It would now be powered with four 40-ton-thurst engines instead of a single one, producing a total thrust of 160 tons. Possibly, these powerplants would derive from the 11D57M engine developed in the Soviet period.
This upgrade alone increased the vehicle's payload to be delivered into a low Earth orbit from 75 tons in the original concept of the vehicle to 93 tons. Further improvements apparently promised to bump the payload to 95 tons.
The latest configuration of the orbital section of the rocket entering an initial parking orbit now included a two-stage space tug attached to a manned PTK NP spacecraft. The lower (fourth) stage dubbed Impuls-V relied on hydrogen fuel, even though its architecture was clearly inherited from RKK Energia's veteran Block-D upper stages. It would be equipped with a single 40-ton engine.
The Impuls-V stage would have the job of accelerating the PTK NP spacecraft from the low Earth orbit in the direction of the Moon or toward other destinations in deep space.
Following the Earth orbit escape maneuver, the Impuls-V stage would separate. It would leave the PTK NP spacecraft with a smaller fifth stage still attached. Known as Impuls-T, where "T" stands for "tormozhenie," Russian for "braking," the fifth stage would be used for a braking maneuver near a destination, for example, for inserting the PTK spacecraft into its lunar orbit. Unlike the two lower stages, Impuls-T would burn the easy-to-store kerosene fuel.
In 2013, RKK Energia unveiled the 11D58MF engine, which could propel the Impuls-T stage. The actual development work on the engine started in 2010 with the goal of upgrading the veteran Block-DM upper stage on the Proton rocket.
Read (and see) much more about the history of the Russian space program in a richly illustrated, large-format glossy edition:
Known specifications of a super-heavy rocket proposed by RKK Energia in 2013:
Next chapter: Yenisei-5 rocket
RD-170 engine. Click to enlarge Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak