Zenit rocket

Zenit rocket

Infobox rocket

caption = Zenit-2 rocket (Baikonur, 10 December 2001)
name = Zenit
function = Medium expendable Carrier rocket
manufacturer = Yuzhnoye Design Bureau
country-origin = Ukraine
height = 57-59.6 m
alt-height = 187-195 ft
diameter = 3.9 m
alt-diameter = 12.7 ft
mass = 444,900 -462,200 kg
alt-mass = 1,011,700 - 1,038,000 lb lb
stages = 2 or 3
LEO-payload = Zenit 2 - 13,740 kg
alt-LEO =30,290lb
payload-location = SSO
payload = Zenit 2 - 5,000 kg
alt-payload =11,000 lb
payload2-location = GTO
payload2 = Zenit 3SL - 5,250 kg
alt-payload2 =11,570 lb
status = Active
sites = LC-45, Baikonur Cosmodrome
Ocean Odyssey
launches = 67
37 Zenit 2
28 Zenit 3SL
1 Zenit 2M
1 Zenit 3SLB
success = 57
31 Zenit 2
25 Zenit 3SL
1 Zenit 2M
fail = 8
6 Zenit 2
2 Zenit 3SL
partial = 2
1 Zenit 3SL
1 Zenit 3SLB [cite web|url=http://izvestia.ru/news/news173271|title=Израиль корит Роскосмос за невыполненные обязательства|date=2008-05-06|publisher=Izvestia|language=Russian|accessdate=2008-05-09]
first=Zenit 2: 13 April 1985
Zenit 3SL: 28 March 1999
Zenit 2M: 29 June 2007
Zenit 3SLB: 28 April 2008
stage1name = Zenit
stage1engines = 1 RD-171
stage1thrust = 8.18 MN
alt-stage1thrust = 1,839,000 lbf
stage1time = 150 seconds
stage1SI = 337 sec
stage1fuel = RP-1/LOX
stage2name =
stage2engines = 1 RD-120, 1RD-8
stage2thrust = 912 kN/79,5 kN
alt-stage2thrust = 205,025 lbf
stage2time = 315 seconds
stage3diff = Zenit-3SL/3SLB
stage2SI = 349 sec
stage2fuel = RP-1/LOX
stage3name = Block DM-SL
stage3engines = 1 RD-58M
stage3thrust = 84.9 kN
alt-stage3thrust = 19,091 lbf
stage3time = 650 seconds
stage3SI = 352 sec
stage3fuel = RP-1/LOX

The Zenit rocket (Ukrainian: Зеніт, Russian: Зени́т; meaning "Zenith") is a space launch vehicle designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau of Ukraine. Zenit was built in the 1980s for two purposes: as a liquid rocket booster for the Energia rocket and, equipped with a second stage, as a stand-alone rocket. Moreover Zenit was planned to take over manned spaceship launches from Soyuz, but these plans were abandoned after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Zenits are launched from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and by the Sea Launch consortium's floating launch platform in the Pacific Ocean. The engines of the Zenit's first and second stages as well as the upper stage of the Zenit-3SL rocket are supplied by Russia. Since the Zenit is not built in Russia, it is planned to be replaced in that service by the new and yet unflown Angara rocket, although Russia does still use the Zenit. There are plans to use an improved Zenit-3SLB rocket for commercial launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome beginning in April 2008. This service is marketed as "Land Launch."

Zenit-3SL has launched 25 times with 22 successes, 2 failures, and 1 partial success as of January 2007. The first failure, of a Hughes-built communications satellite owned by ICO Global Communications, occurred on the second commercial launch on March 12, 2000 and was blamed on a software error that failed to close a valve in the second stage of the rocket. The second failure occurred on January 30, 2007 when the rocket exploded on the Ocean Odyssey launch platform, seconds after engine ignition. The NSS-8 communication satellite onboard was destroyed.

In a study of 16 launchers, the Zenit 2 was, as of March 18, 2001, the lowest cost vehicle for achieving LEO in terms of payload weight per launch ($1167-1667 per pound), and one of the lowest in terms of total costs per launch ($35-$50 million). [Watts, Barry D. "The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Assessment". Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Appendix 4; quoted in cite web |url=http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=301|title=Spacelift Washington: International Space Transportation Association Faltering; The myth of $10,000 per pound|accessdate=2008-08-19 |last=Sietzen, Jr.|first=Frank|date=2001-03-18|work=spaceref.com|publisher=Aerospace FYI]




The first and the second stages of the Zenit were designed by Yuzhnoye and are manufactured by Yuzhmash.cite web |url=http://www.yuzhnoye.com/index.php?idD=48&id=124&path=News/News_e&lang=en |title=Sea Launch: the Twenty-Fifth Launch of Zenit-3SL |date=2008-01-21 |publisher=Yuzhnoye]


Zenit 2

The Zenit 2 was the first Zenit to be designed for use as an orbital carrier rocket. It consists of two stages. The first uses an RD-171 engine, and an RD-120 engine powers the second stage. It first flew on 13 April 1985, two years before the Energia, due to delays relating to the Energia's development.

Energia booster

The Zenit first stage was used as a strap-on booster rocket for the Energia carrier rocket. Four Zenit first stages were attached to the core vehicle to produce extra thrust at lift-off, in the same way that Solid Rocket Boosters are used on the US Space Shuttle. Energia made two flights before the programme was abandoned.


Zenit-3SL is a three stage carrier rocket developed for and used by the Sea Launch consortium.

It combines: [cite web |url=http://www.sea-launch.com/news_releases/nr_070903.html |title=Sea Launch Receives Zenit-3SL Hardware for Next Launches |publisher=Sea Launch]
* two-stage Zenit-2S built by Ukraine's SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash
* Block DM-SL upper stage, provided by Russia's Energia
* nose-cone enclosure for protection of payload during launch, provided by Boeing.

Rockets used by Sea Launch are assembled in Long Beach, California. Launches occur from the "Ocean Odyssey" offshore launch platform, situated at the equator. "Ocean Odyssey" is also used to transport rockets to the launch site. The 25th launch of a Zenit-3SL occurred on January 15, 2008.

Zenit 2M and 2SLB

Zenit 2M is a new version of the Zenit 2 with an upgraded control system and modernized engines. [cite web |url=http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0706/29zenit/ |title=Ukrainian Zenit rocket makes its return to flight |publisher=Spaceflight Now] The first Zenit 2M was launched on June 29, 2007, carrying a classified Russian military Cosmos satellite. The Zenit-2SLB designation applies to commercial launches through the Land Launch subsidiary of Sea Launch, which began satellite launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2008.

Zenit 2M/Fregat

The Zenit-2M/Fregat is a 3-stage derivative of the Zenit-2M, using a Fregat upper stage, as already used on the Soyuz, to propel spacecraft to higher orbits. It is scheduled to make its maiden flight in late 2008, with the Elektro-L-1 spacecraft for the Russian government.

A Zenit-2SB with a Fregat-2CB upper stage will be used for the launch of RadioAstron, a convert|5000|kg|lb|adj=on space telescope with a planned perigee of convert|10000|km|mi and an apogee of convert|390000|km|mi. [cite web |url=http://www.asc.rssi.ru/radioastron/description/design_eng.htm |title=Spacecraft Design |publisher=Astro Space Center of Lebedev Physical Institute]

Zenit 3M and 3SLB

The Zenit-3M is a Zenit-2M with the Block-DM upper stage used on the Zenit-3SL. It is launched from Baikonur. The maiden flight was launched on 28 April 2008. Land Launch commercially market the Zenit-3M under the designation Zenit 3SLB.


See also

*National Space Agency of Ukraine

External links

* [http://www.boris-lux.de/04_types/61_lv/sp_ru/14_zen/spze.php Zenit Family]
* [http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/zenit3sl.htm Information at Encyclopedia Astronautica]
* [http://www.nkau.gov.ua/nsau/catalogNEW.nsf/0/EFB7A4C2121BE0F6C2256E8B0044EBA8?OpenDocument&Lang=E Information at National Space Agency of Ukraine]
* [http://www.buran-energia.com/energia/zenith-zenit-desc.php Information at Buran web site]
* [http://www.orbireport.com/Launchers/Zenit_3SL Information at Orbital Report News Agency]

Russian launch vehicles

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