Report: Russia’s NPO Molniya Developing Satellite Launch Vehicle
[Satellite TODAY 08-30-12] The Russian NPO Molniya Space Design Bureau is developing a hypersonic unmanned rocket vehicle that is capable of putting satellites into orbit, according to an RIA Novosti report published Aug. 30.
The report claimed the vehicle, which is designated Hammer, is based on existing and emerging technology, including the AL-31F turbofan engines used in the Su-27 series of fighter aircraft. The orbital stage, according to RIA Novosti, is likely to be an 18-ton two-stage rocket booster powered by an engine based the RD-0124 series rocket motor.
RIA Novosti quoted NPO Molniya documents it obtained that outline the project schematics. “The first stage of the project has been designed for the internal and external configuration of the Hammer hypersonic pilotless booster. It will be capable of carrying small satellites of up to 800 kg into orbits from 200 km to 500 km,” the documents said. “The second-stage will be based on a single-chamber engine based on the RD-0124. The 74-ton craft will climb to altitude, carry out a special maneuver in which the orbital section with its satellite will separate, and then the main craft will return to its airbase.”