Kuznetsov Design Bureau
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The Kuznetzov Bureau first became notable for producing the monstrous Kuznetsov NK-12 turboprop engine that powered the Tupolev Tu-95 bomber beginning in 1952 as a development of the Junkers 0022 engine. The new engine eventually generated about 15,000 horsepower (11.2 megawatts), far more than any Western turboprop engine of its time, and it was also used in the large Antonov An-22 Soviet Air Force transport.
Kuznetsov also produced the Kuznetsov NK-8 turbofan engine in the 20,000-pound-thrust (90 kilonewton-thrust) class that powered the Ilyushin Il-62 and Tupolev Tu-154 airliners. This engine was next upgraded to become the about 28,000-pound (125-kilonewton) Kuznetsov NK-86 engine that powered the Ilyushin Il-86 aircraft. This Bureau also produced the Kuznetsov NK-144 afterburning turbofan engine. This engine powered the early models of the Tupolev Tu-144 SST.
Kuznetsov's most powerful aviation engine is the Kuznetsov NK-321 that propels the Tupolev Tu-160 bomber and was formerly used in the later models of the Tu-144 supersonic transport (an SST that is now obsolete and no longer flown). The NK-321 produced a maximum of about 55,000-pounds (245 kilonewtons) of thrust.
Kuznetsov rocket engines
In 1959, Sergey Korolev ordered a new design of rocket engine from the Kuznetzov Bureau for the Global Rocket 1 (GR-1) Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which was developed but never deployed. The result was the NK-9, one of the first staged-combustion cycle rocket engines. The design was developed by Kuznetsov into the NK-15 and NK-33 engines in the 1960s, and claimed them to be the highest-performance rocket engines ever built, which were to propel the N1 lunar rocket -- one that was never successfully launched. As of 2011, the aging NK-33 remains the most efficient (in terms of thrust-to-mass ratio) LOX/Kerosene rocket engine ever created.
The Orbital Sciences Antares light-to-medium-lift launcher has two modified NK-33 in its first stage, a solid second stage and a hypergolic orbit stage. The NK-33s are first imported from Russia to the United States and then modified into Aerojet AJ26s, which involves removing some harnessing, adding U.S. electronics, qualifying it for U.S. propellants, and modifying the steering system.
The Antares rocket was successfully launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on April 21, 2013. This marked the first successful launch of the NK-33 heritage engines built in early 1970s.
- Lindroos, Marcus. THE SOVIET MANNED LUNAR PROGRAM MIT. Accessed: 4 October 2011.
- "NK-33 and NK-43 Rocket Engines".
- "Antares". Orbital.
- Clark, Stephen (March 15, 2010). "Aerojet confirms Russian engine is ready for duty". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
- Bill Chappell (21 April 2013). "Antares Rocket Launch Is A Success, In Test Of Orbital Supply Vehicle". NPR.
- Official Company's website
- The Engines That Came In From The Cold!, Equinox, Channel Four Television Corporation, 2000. Documentary video on Russian rocket engine development. (Kuznetsov Design Bureau footage starts at c. 10:00.)