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Title: Rockot  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: MOST (satellite), Angara (rocket family), Svobodny Cosmodrome, QuakeSat, MIMOSA, Briz-M, Eurockot Launch Services, AAU CubeSat, DTUsat, List of upper stages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Not to be confused with Rokot Airport.
Rockot (Rokot)

Function Orbital carrier rocket
Manufacturer Eurockot Launch Services
Country of origin Soviet Union
Height 29 metres (95 ft)
Diameter 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in)
Mass 107,000 kilograms (236,000 lb)
Stages 3
Payload to
1,950 kilograms (4,300 lb)
Payload to
1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb)
Launch history
Status Active
Launch sites Baikonur 175/1 (inactive)
Plesetsk 133/3
Total launches 21
Successes 19
Failures 2
First flight 20 November 1990
26 December 1994 (orbital)
First Stage
Engines 3 RD-0233
1 RD-0234
Burn time 120 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH
Second Stage
Engines 1 RD-0235
1 RD-0236
Burn time 180 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH
Third Stage - Briz-KM
Engines 1 S5.98M
Thrust 19.6 kilonewtons (4,400 lbf)
Specific impulse 325 sec
Burn time 1,000 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH

The Rokot (Russian: Рокот meaning Rumble), also transliterated Rockot, is a Russian space launch vehicle that can launch a payload of 1,950 kilograms into a 200 kilometre high Earth orbit with 63° inclination. It is a derivative of the UR-100N (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), supplied and operated by Eurockot Launch Services. The first launches started in the 1990s from Baikonur Cosmodrome out of a silo. Later commercial launches commenced from Plesetsk Cosmodrome using a launch ramp specially rebuilt from one for the Kosmos-3M rocket. The cost of the launcher itself was about 15 million in 1999;[1][2] Eurockot last contract with ESA for launching Swarm in September 2013 is worth of €27.1 million ($36 million).[3]


Rokot's total mass is 107 tonnes, its length 29 metres and its maximum diameter 2.5 metres. The liquid-fueled rocket comprises three stages. The lower two are based on the Soviet UR-100N ICBM; the first stage uses an RD-244 engine, while the second stage uses an RD-235. The third stage is a Briz-KM (Russian: Бриз-КМ meaning Breeze-KM), which has a mass of about 6 tonnes when fuelled, and is capable of flying for 7 hours and reigniting its engine six times during flight, allowing different satellites to be placed into different orbits. All stages use UDMH (unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine) as fuel and dinitrogen tetroxide as oxidiser. The Strela is a similar rocket, also based on the SS-19.[1]


The first suborbital test launch succeeded on 20 November 1990 in Baikonur Cosmodrome. On 26 December 1994 Rokot brought its first satellite into Earth orbit. In 1995, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center formed a company with German DaimlerBenz Aerospace to market Rokot launches for commercial use. Later, the company was renamed to Eurockot Launch Services. Eurockot bought 45 Rokots from the Russian strategic missile forces to build its inventory. In 2000, Eurokot was partly bought by the German company Astrium GmbH, a shareholder of Arianespace. Astrium now holds 51% of Eurockot's shares, while Khrunichev holds 49%.[1]

Although there are several silos in Baikonour capable of launching Rokots, it was decided to build an open, non-siloed launch pad at Plesetsk Cosmodrome instead. This is because of concerns that the amount of noise generated during a silo-based launch would damage satellites. In the new pad, Rokot is wheeled up to the structure in a vertical position, and then embraced by its launch tower. The payload is lifted by a crane and placed on top of the bottom two stages. The procedure is in contrast to other Russian launchers, which had traditionally been assembled horizontally and then transferred to the launch site via railways. The first launch from Plesetsk took place on 16 May 2000.[1]

After 6 entirely successful launches, a launch failure occurred on 8 October 2005, leading to the loss of the European Space Agency's Cryosat spacecraft. The launch vehicle 2nd stage main engine was not shut down properly, resulting in a catastrophic failure and automatic termination of the launch mission by the on-board computer. The payload was lost. After the failed CryoSat launch, all Rokot launches were suspended until the failure was identified. The root cause was unambiguously identified; it was a failure in programming of the Briz-KM (which was contracted to the company JSC "Khartron"). The failure of this high-profile mission led to major reforms in Khrunichev: the director of the company Alexander Medvedev was dismissed, new launch procedures were introduced, the lines of management were straightened out to catch errors and the new Khrunichev chief, Viktor Nesterov, was required to report directly to the head of the Russian Space Agency, Anatoli Perminov.[1] Corrective measures for Rokot's return-to-flight were implemented for the South Korean Kompsat-2 earth observation satellite launch which took place successfully on 28 July 2006. The Korean side reportedly praised the level of service they received, encouraging the Rokot team to rebuild its order book.[1]

Another launch failure occurred in February 2011, when a Briz-KM malfunction[4] resulted in the Geo-IK-2 No.11 satellite being placed into a lower orbit than planned.

Launch table

Date (UTC) Type Launch site Payload Payload type Notes
20 November 1990 Rokot/Briz-K Ba LC131  – experimental payload Suborbital, success
20 December 1991 Rokot/Briz-K Ba LC175/1  – experimental payload Suborbital, success
26 December 1994 Rokot/Briz-K Ba LC175/1 Radio-ROSTO Amateur radio satellite success, first orbital mission
22 December 1999 Rokot/Briz-K Pl LC133 RSVN-40 experimental payload no launch, rocket irreparably damaged during preparation
16 May 2000 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 SimSat-1 and 2 Iridium-mock-ups success
17 March 2002 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 GRACE-1 and 2 research satellite success
20 June 2002 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Iridium-97 and 98 communication satellites success
30 June 2003 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 MIMOSA, DTUsat, MOST, Cute-I, QuakeSat, AAU CubeSat, CanX-1, Cubesat XI-IV, Monitor-E mockup NLS satellites and Monitor-E-Mockup success
30 October 2003 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 SERVIS-1 Japanese test satellite success
26 August 2005 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Monitor-E1 earth observation satellite success
8 October 2005 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 CryoSat earth observation satellite failure, launch terminated after 2nd stage main engine was not shut down correctly, resulting in an explosion, causing the vehicle to exceed its flight envelope limit and thereby causing the automatic termination of the launch and the re-entry of the combined Rokot 2nd stage/3rd stage/CryoSat spacecraft stack
28 July 2006 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 KOMPSAT 2 earth observation satellite success
23 May 2008 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 3 Gonets, and Yubileiny[5] success
17 March 2009 [1] Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 GOCE ESA earth observation satellite success
6 July 2009 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 3 Rodnik (TBC) success
2 November 2009 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 SMOS, PROBA-2[6] SMOS: ESA earth-observation satellite; PROBA-2: sun-observation satellite testing a new spacecraft platform success
2 June 2010 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 SERVIS-2 Japanese test satellite success
8 September 2010 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 Gonets-M No.2
Kosmos 2467
Kosmos 2468
Communications satellites success
1 February 2011 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 Geo-IK-2 No.11 Geodesy satellite failure, upper stage malfunction,[4] reached lower orbit than planned.
28 July 2012 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 Gonets M-3
Gonets M-4
Kosmos 2481
Communications satellites success
15 January 2013 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 Kosmos 2482
Kosmos 2483
Kosmos 2484
Communications satellites success
11 September 2013 Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133/3 Gonets M-5
Gonets M-6
Gonets M-7
Communications satellites success

See also

  • Comparison of orbital launchers families


External links

  • Website of Eurockot Launch Service Provider
  • Rockot history
  • article on CryoSat launch failure

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