RD-0124 engines use a multi-stage turbopump powered by pre-combustion of the engine propellants in a gas generator. The kerosene fuel is used for regenerative cooling of the engine. Vehicle attitude control during ascent is provided by gimbaling the engine in two planes. The propellant tanks are helium-pressurized. Four combustion chambers are fed by a single turbopump system. The engine operates at a high chamber pressure and, for the type of propellants used, achieves a very high specific impulse.
The inaugural flight of a launch vehicle using an RD-0124 engine took place on December 27, 2006.Orbital Sciences considered using the RD-0124 in the High Energy Second Stage (HESS) for their Antares rocket. It would have replaced the Castor 30B second stage.