Zenit (rocket family)
Zenit-2 rocket (Baikonur, 10 December 2001)
|Function||Medium expendable Carrier rocket|
|Manufacturer||Yuzhnoye Design Bureau|
|Country of origin||Zenit-2: Ukraine, USSR|
|Height||57-59.6 m (187-195 ft)|
|Diameter||3.9 m (12.7 ft)|
|Mass||444,900 -462,200 kg (1,011,700 - 1,038,000 lb lb)|
|Stages||2 or 3|
|Payload to LEO||Zenit 2 - 13,740 kg (30,290lb)|
|Zenit 2 - 5,000 kg (11,000 lb)|
|Zenit 3SL - 5,250 kg (11,570 lb)|
|Launch sites||LC-45, Baikonur Cosmodrome
36 Zenit 2
35 Zenit 3SL
2 Zenit 2M
5 Zenit 3SLB
2 Zenit 3F
28 Zenit 2
31 Zenit 3SL
2 Zenit 2M
4 Zenit 3SLB
2 Zenit 3F
7 Zenit 2
3 Zenit 3SL
1 Zenit 2
1 Zenit 3SL
1 Zenit 3SLB
|First flight||Zenit 2: 13 April 1985
Zenit 3SL: 28 March 1999
Zenit 2M: 29 June 2007
Zenit 3SLB: 28 April 2008
Zenit 3F: 20 January 2011
|Thrust||8,180 kilonewtons (1,840,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||337 sec|
|Burn time||150 seconds|
|Thrust||912 kilonewtons (205,000 lbf)
79,500 newtons (17,900 lbf)
|Specific impulse||349 sec|
|Burn time||315 seconds|
|Third Stage (Zenit-3SL/3SLB) - Block DM-SL|
|Thrust||84,900 newtons (19,100 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||352 sec|
|Burn time||650 seconds|
|Third Stage (Zenit-3F) - Fregat-SB|
|Thrust||19,600 newtons (4,400 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||327 sec|
|Burn time||877 seconds|
Zenit (Ukrainian: Зеніт, Russian: Зени́т; meaning Zenith) is a family of space launch vehicles designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau of Ukraine. Zenit was built in the 1980s for two purposes: as a liquid rocket booster for the Energia rocket and, equipped with a second stage, as a stand-alone rocket. Moreover Zenit was planned to take over manned spaceship launches from Soyuz, but these plans were abandoned after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Zenit-3SL is launched by the Sea Launch consortium's floating launch platform in the Pacific Ocean and Zenit-2 is launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The engines of the Zenit's first and second stages as well as the upper stage of the Zenit-3SL rocket are supplied by Russia. There are plans to use an improved Zenit-3SLB rocket for commercial launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome beginning in April 2008. This service is marketed as "Land Launch."
Zenit-3SL has launched 35 times with 31 successes, one partial success, and three failures. The first failure, the launch of a Hughes-built communications satellite owned by ICO Global Communications, occurred during the second commercial launch on March 12, 2000 and was blamed on a software error that failed to close a valve in the second stage of the rocket. The second failure occurred on January 30, 2007 when the rocket exploded on the Ocean Odyssey launch platform, seconds after engine ignition. The NSS-8 communication satellite on board was destroyed. 
On September 24, 2011 Zenit-3SL launched successfully from the Ocean Odyssey launch platform under a renewed Sea Launch project with a new majority stakeholder. The rocket delivered the European communication satellite Atlantic Bird 7 to its planned orbit. On February 1, 2013 another Zenit-3SL failed while launching the Intelsat 27 satellite.
In a study of 16 launchers, the Zenit-2 was, as of March 18, 2001, the lowest cost vehicle for achieving LEO in terms of payload weight per launch ($1,167-1,667 per pound or 2,567-3,667 per kg), and one of the lowest in terms of total costs per launch ($35–$50 million).
|Total length||57 m||59.6 m|
|Total empty mass||37,600 kg||40,320 kg|
|Total gross mass||444,900 kg||462,200 kg|
|Payload||13.74 tonne to LEO||≈6 tonne to GTO|
|Launch site||Baikonur Cosmodrome||Sea Launch ocean platform|
|Launches||21 (6 failed) as of 10 June 2004||31 (3 failed, 1 partial success)
as of 1 February 2013
|Price per launch||~$45 million||~$90 million|
Two stage version (Zenit-2)
|Payload to LEO||13,740 kg|
|Payload to PEO||5,000 kg|
|Payload to GEO||Not designed for GEO|
Three stage version (Zenit-3SL)
|Payload to LEO||6,100 kg, 3rd stage structural limitation|
|Payload to MEO||3,965 kg (10,000 km, 45°)|
|Payload to GEO||1,840 kg|
|Payload to GTO||5,250 kg (upgraded to 6,000+ kg)|
The Zenit-2 was the first Zenit to be designed for use as an orbital carrier rocket. It consists of two stages. The first uses an RD-171 engine, and an RD-120 engine powers the second stage. It first flew on 13 April 1985, two years before the Energia, due to delays relating to the Energia's development.
The Zenit first stage was used as a strap-on booster rocket for the Energia carrier rocket. Four Zenit first stages were attached to the core vehicle to produce extra thrust at lift-off, in the same way that Solid Rocket Boosters are used on the US Space Shuttle. Energia made two flights before the programme was abandoned.
Zenit-3SL is a three stage carrier rocket developed for and used by the Sea Launch consortium.
- two-stage Zenit-2S built by Ukraine's SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash
- Block DM-SL upper stage, provided by Russia's Energia
- nose-cone enclosure for protection of payload during launch, provided by Boeing.
Rockets used by Sea Launch are assembled in Long Beach, California. Launches occur from the Ocean Odyssey offshore launch platform, situated at the equator. Ocean Odyssey is also used to transport rockets to the launch site. The 25th launch of a Zenit-3SL occurred on January 15, 2008.
Zenit 2M and 2SLB
Zenit 2M is a new version of the Zenit 2 with an upgraded control system and modernized engines. The first Zenit 2M was launched on June 29, 2007, carrying a classified Russian military Tselina-2 satellite. The Zenit-2SLB designation applies to commercial launches through the Land Launch subsidiary of Sea Launch, which began satellite launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2008.
The Zenit-3F, also known as the Zenit-2SB/Fregat, is a 3-stage derivative of the Zenit-2M, using a Fregat upper stage, as already used on the Soyuz, to propel spacecraft to higher orbits. It made its maiden flight in January 2011, with the Elektro-L No.1 spacecraft for the Russian government. Later the same year, another launch carried Spektr-R, a 5,000-kilogram (11,000 lb) space telescope, into an orbit with a perigee of 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) and an apogee of 390,000 kilometres (240,000 mi).
Zenit 3M and 3SLB
The Zenit-3M is a Zenit-2M with the Block-DM upper stage used on the Zenit-3SL. It is launched from Baikonur. The maiden flight was launched on 28 April 2008. Land Launch commercially market the Zenit-3M under the designation Zenit 3SLB.
- Harvey, Brian (2007). The Rebirth of the Russian Space Program. Chichester, UK: Praxis. pp. 167–175.
- "Израиль корит Роскосмос за невыполненные обязательства" (in Russian). Izvestia. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- Watts, Barry D. "The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Assessment". Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Appendix 4; quoted in Sietzen, Jr., Frank (2001-03-18). "Spacelift Washington: International Space Transportation Association Faltering; The myth of $10,000 per pound". spaceref.com. Aerospace FYI. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- "Sea Launch: the Twenty-Fifth Launch of Zenit-3SL". Yuzhnoye. 2008-01-21.
- Bart Hendrickx and Bert Vis (2007). "Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle". Springer Praxis Books.
- "Sea Launch Receives Zenit-3SL Hardware for Next Launches". Sea Launch.
- "Ukrainian Zenit rocket makes its return to flight". Spaceflight Now.
- "Spacecraft Design". Astro Space Center of Lebedev Physical Institute.
|Wikinews has related news: Zenit rocket explodes on launch pad|
- Zenit Family
- Information at Encyclopedia Astronautica
- Information at National Space Agency of Ukraine
- Information at Buran web site
- Information at Orbital Report News Agency