On October 4, 1957, the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite heralded the beginning of the space age. Demand for spacecraft launches spiked all over the world, including the Soviet Union.

The only Soviet rocket at the time, the R-7 (called Sputnik in two-stage version and Vostok in three-stage version) was relatively expensive and had an elaborate design. Building another launch vehicle, which would be simpler, lighter and cheaper, became a pressing need.

Yuzhnoye design office proposed to develop a launch vehicle based on a proven missile. This proposal was accepted by space industry decision-makers.

The Kosmos launch vehicle is the first rocket that Yuzhnoye designed by installing an additional stage on top of the R-12 single-stage missile. The Kosmos is a lightweight launch vehicle with a payload capability of up to 450 kg into low Earth orbits.

Configuration: tandem.

The first successful launch of the Kosmos was performed on March 16, 1962. The first Yuzhnoye-designed spacecraft, Kosmos-1 (DS-2), was placed in Earth orbit.

The Kosmos launch vehicle was operated from Kapustin Yar and Plesetsk launch sites until June 18, 1977. 165 launches were performed in all, 143 of which successful.

Basic Specifications

Number of stages

2

Dimensions, mm:

Length

Stage diameter 

Payload fairing diameter

 

30 000

1 652

1 652

Launch weight, tons

49,4

Propellants:

Stage 1:

Oxidizer

Fuel

Starting fuel

Stage 2:

Oxidizer

Fuel

 

 

 

АK-27I

TM-185

TG-02

 

Liquid oxygen

UDMH

Vacuum thrust, tnf:

Stage 1

Stage 2

 

74,15

10,8

Payload capability to 200-km high orbit, tons

0,45

UP