ISS-66 mission


ISS crew:

Commander -
Tomas Pesquet

Flight engineers:
Petr Dubrov
Mark Vande Hei
Robert Shane Kimbrough
Megan McArthur
Akihiko Hoshide
Anton Shkaplerov



May 15, 2012
25th anniversary of the launch of superheavy launch vehicle Energia

The first launch of LV EnergiaMay 15, 1987 marks an outstanding event in the history of world space flight: super-heavy launch vehicle (LV) Energia carrying a demo mockup of Polus spacecraft on a lateral suspension was launched from the Baikonur launch site at 21 h 30 m Moscow Time for the first time.

Energia LV was the key component of our country's reusable space system Energia-Buran which embodied the entire experience and potential of our country's rocket and space industry.

The prime developer of the LV, reusable Buran Orbiter and reusable space system as a whole was RSC Energia (at the time known as NPO Energia), which provided technical and managerial direction to the development, manufacturing, processing and launch of the LV, working in cooperation with more than 1200 industrial and scientific organizations of our country. Involved in the project were the best scientific, engineering and production centers of Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia and other republics of the Soviet Union. It became the embodiment of dedicated, creative, highly intellectual labor of hundreds of thousands engineers, scientists, specialists and workers headed by general designer academician V.P. Glushko. Taking part in that development effort were a pleiad of outstanding scientists, engineers, specialists and production managers. The work on the LV was conducted under the direction of NPO Energia chief designers I.N. Sadovsky (in 1974-1982) and B.I. Gubanov (in 1982-1993).

The super-heavy LV with a payload mass of up to 100 tons opened up good prospects for a whole series of global programs. Fundamental solutions incorporated into the project were a significant technological achievement and demonstrated that our country has created a multi-purpose vehicle for delivery of super-heavy payloads into low-Earth orbit. The LV configuration provided versatility in taking heavy payloads into orbit and prospects for developing a family of standardized LVs with payload capability ranging from 10 to 200 tons.

Developed in the course of the effort were advanced rocket and space technologies, including liquid rocket engines RD-170 and RD-0120 with record-breaking parameters, large oxygen/hydrogen stage "C", emergency engine-protection system, equipment to provide fire and explosion safety when liquid hydrogen is used, a set of equipment for autonomous LV control, new structural materials, manufacturing large waffle structures, long-range airborne transportation of LV elements, etc.

The remaining potential, the experience in organizing large-scale projects, an inventory of engineering solutions accumulated by the industry and the ground infrastructure of the Baikonur launch site built in the course of this grand project of the reusable space system and its launch vehicle, are currently used in the development and implementation of many rocket and space projects.

We extend our thanks to all the participants in the development and launch of LV Energia, veterans and employees of the company and the industry - all those, who, through their dedicated labor, have proven that our country is an undeniable leader in rocket science, - for their distinguished contribution to the implementation of this ambitious project!

We wish you, dear veterans and employees of the Corporation and the rocket and space industry, good health, prosperity, and new successes in the creation of new state-of-the-art technology!

S.P. Korolev RSC Energia Management


For reference:

  1. The second launch of the Energia LV took place on November 15, 1988, when the LV was carrying an unpiloted Buran Orbiter.
  2. The work on the Energia-Buran system and its components was suspended in 1992 and all the items that had been built under the project were put in long-term storage.
  3. 3. The LV Energia technical and performance specifications to this day remain the best in comparison with similar launch vehicle projects implemented throughout the world. The upmass coefficient is about 4.2% of the LV launch mass, which is significantly higher than in the currently operated medium- and heavy-lift launch vehicles built in our country.