Research & Development Production Enterprise Zvezda, or R&D PE Zvezda (Russian: НПП Звезда, NPP Zvezda) is a Russian manufacturer of life-support systems for high-altitude flight and human spaceflight. Its products include space suits, ejector seats, aircraft escape slides, lifejackets and fire extinguishers. It is based in Tomilino, near Moscow.
The organization was founded in 1952 to develop aviation pressure suits and in-flight refuelling systems for the USSR's space research programme. In the 1960s it began to design space suits, including the one worn by Yuri Gagarin. In 1965, a Berkut spacesuit was worn during the first spacewalk. The Orlan-M space suit was used by cosmonauts in the Mir space station. Zvezda became a joint-stock company in 1994.
Zvezda is also Russia's primary manufacturer of ejector seats for Russian fighter aircraft. The K-36 ejector seat was studied at length by the US Navy and Air Force; IBP Aircraft opened up a factory in the US to manufacture it for the F-22 Raptor and the Joint Strike Fighter. The US Government, however, selected the Martin-Baker seat from the United Kingdom for their new fighter jet. For improved pilot survivability, the Russian Kamov Ka-50 "Black Shark" helicopter is fitted with a NPP Zvezda K-37-800 ejection seat, which is a rare feature for a helicopter. Before the rocket in the ejection seat kicks in, rotor blades are blown away by explosive charges in the rotor disc and the canopy is similarly jettisoned.
- Portree, David S. F.; Robert C. Treviño (October 1997). "Walking to Olympus: An EVA Chronology" (PDF). Monographs in Aerospace History Series #7. NASA History Office. pp. 15–16. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- Donald, David and , Daniel J March. "Ka-50/52, Kamov's 'Hokum' family". p. 308. Modern Battlefield Warplanes. AIRtime Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-880588-76-5.
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