Cyclone (rocket)

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Zyklon-3 launches the Meteor-3 weather satellite (Plesetsk, August 15, 1991 )

Cyclone [ ʦɪklɔn ] also Tsiklon , Tsyklon ( Russian Циклон for cyclones ; English Cyclone , Tsyklon ) is a Ukrainian rocket type, on the R-36 - ICBM based. It was developed for military purposes in the Soviet Union since 1965 and is still used today by Ukraine for orbital transport of satellites.

Most of the applications were and are of a military nature. Initially, various orbital warheads ( FOBS ) were tested, later reconnaissance satellites were also placed in orbit, including radar reconnaissance satellites of the type US-A with nuclear reactors as an energy source. The Zyklon is manufactured by KB Juschnoje and Juschmasch in Dnipro .


The development of the two-stage Zyklon or Zyklon-1 ( GRAU index 11K64) began in 1965 in the Soviet Union on the basis of the R-16 . In order to convert it into a launcher, only minor modifications were necessary and so the first test missions took place as early as 1967. By 1971 there were 25 starts in suborbital orbits up to 1000 km altitude.

This was followed in 1967 by the further developed version Zyklon-2A ( NATO code name SL-11, GRAU index 11K67) based on the more powerful R-36, which was now also used for satellite launches. From October 27, 1967 to January 25, 1969, eight attempts to launch were made from Baikonur , six of which were successful. The payload in a low earth orbit at 185 km altitude with an inclination of 52 ° was approx. 3,000 kg. In the first stage (designation: 11S691, length: 18.9 m, diameter 3.0 m, mass: 122.3 t), an RD-251 engine was used as the drive , which in turn consisted of three RD-250 engines (each with two combustion chambers and a common turbo pump ) in a common push frame was. Four RD-68s with 28.5 kN thrust were used as attitude control engines . In the second stage (designation: 11S692, length: 10.86 m, diameter: 3.0 m, mass: 50.4 t) came an RD-252 (each with two combustion chambers and a common turbo pump ) with 941 kN thrust and a burning time of 160 seconds. The shutdown of the first stage was carried out by command simultaneously with the ignition of the second stage, whereby the first stage coupled by the grid structure was practically blown off.

Around the same time, the two-stage Zyklon-2M (today simply called Zyklon-2 , GRAU index 11K69) was developed, which was launched in 1969 and was in use until 2006. The payload capacity was 2820 kg for a 200 km orbit at an inclination of 65 °. As with all rockets in this series, UDMH and nitrous tetroxide were used as fuel. The payloads mostly had their own drive (kick stage) to reach their path. The Zyklon-2 was only launched in Baikonur and used exclusively for military payloads, e.g. B. the US-A naval reconnaissance satellite with a nuclear reactor as an energy supply. Since 1988 the only payloads have been ELINT reconnaissance satellites of the type US-P and US-PU . A total of 106 rockets of this type were launched, 105 of them successfully. It was recently offered in the form of an improved Zyklon-2K with three stages and a larger payload fairing, which, however, was not yet used.

The three-stage, somewhat stronger Zyklon-3 (NATO code SL-14, GRAU index 11K68) was developed in the 1970s. The approval for the development of the third stage (designation: S5M, length: 2.72 m, diameter: 2.42 m, mass: 4.6 t, burning time: 126 s) took place on January 2, 1970. This became from the re-entry part of the R-36O and is smaller in relation to the other two stages. The Zyklon-3 had a payload capacity of 4100 kg in a 200 km orbit and could thus replace the Vostok launcher. It only started in Plesezk , for the first time on June 24, 1977 and most recently on January 30, 2009. As payloads, the Zyklon-3 carried the Strela communication satellites (six at a time), Meteor weather satellites, Interkosmos satellites, the French / Soviet satellite Oreol and Zelina- D electronic reconnaissance satellites . The rocket launched a total of 121 times, eight of which were false starts.

A version improved by Ukraine was planned as Zyklon-4 , with a larger and heavier upper stage (13.4 t instead of 4.6 t), a larger payload fairing and a digital control system. From 2015, these should launch light satellites into geostationary transfer orbits from the Brazilian launch site Alcântara . However, after more than ten years of preparation, Brazil withdrew from the contract in 2016. Instead, Maritime Launch Services would like to set up a launch site for the Zyklon-4M rocket variant in Canada . The first launch was initially planned for 2020 and is now expected in 2021. The Zyklon-4M is also to receive a newly developed first stage, which is derived from the Antares and / or the Zenit .

The three-stage Zyklon-1M small rocket for payloads of up to around 1 t is also planned. Its first stage is to be powered by the RD-870 engine developed in Ukraine, which was originally intended for the Zyklon-4M. The RD846V is to be used for the second stage. Both run on kerosene and liquid oxygen. There is also a kick stage that uses the modern fuel hydroxylammonium nitrate . The rocket is to be launched from a new spaceport on the Black Sea coast near Mykolaiv . The concept for the rocket and launch site was presented in April 2019.

Technical specifications

version Cyclone-1 Zyklon-1M Zyklon-2A Zyklon-2M Cyclone-3 Cyclone-4 Zyklon-M
First stage 8S81
3 × RD-217 +
4 × RD-68

1 × RD-870
3 × RD-250 +
4 × RD-68M
3 × RD-260 +
4 × RD-68M
4 × RD-870
Second step 8S82
1 × RD-219 + 4 × RD-69

1 × RD846V
1 × RD-252 +
4 × RD-69M
1 × RD-262 +
4 × RD-69M
1 × RD-861K
Upper school 10 ×? - S5M, RD-861 S5M, RD-861K LE -
Thrust (on the ground) ? ? 2366 kN 2502 kN 2660 kN ? 3165 kN
Takeoff mass 140 t 63 t 176 t 182 t 189 t 198 t 272 t
Height (maximum) 30-35 m 29 m 32.8 m 35-40.8 m 39.9 m 40.0 m 38.9 m
Diameter (maximum) 3.0 m 2.25 m 3.0 m 3.0 m 3.9 m
2.65 m 4.0 m for payload cladding
Payload ( LEO 200 km) - (suborbital) ? 3.3 t 2.8-3.0 t 3.6-4.1 t ≈ 5 t ≈ 5 t
Payload ( SSO 600 km) 0.75 t
Payload ( GTO ) - 1.8 t 0.9 t

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Russianspaceweb: Tsyklon
  2. Eugen Reichl: The rocket type book . 1st edition. 2007, ISBN 978-3-613-02788-6 .
  3. Thomas Weyrauch: 1st Zyklon 4 start only at the end of 2015., September 29, 2013, accessed on December 28, 2013 .
  4. ^ "Rocket City" is looking for a new orbit , NZZ, May 6, 2017, page 35
  5. 'Toxic' rocket propellant poses danger at proposed Canso spaceport, prof says. In: CBC News. July 11, 2018, accessed February 28, 2019 .
  6. ^ Anatoly Zak: Tsyklon-4M (Cyclone-4M) prepares a move to Canada. In: Russian Space Web. Retrieved March 14, 2019 .
  7. Перспективный ракетно-космический комплекс «ЦИКЛОН-1М» для Украинского космодрома. In: Glawpost. April 22, 2019, Retrieved April 22, 2019 (Ukrainian).