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RD-253 (РД-253)
Country of origin USSR/Russia
First flight RD-253: 1965
RD-275: 1995
RD-275М: 2007
Designer V.Glushko, OAO «Proton-PM», Perm, Russia
Manufacturer Energomash
Successor RD-254, RD-256, RD-275, RD-275М
Status Operational
Liquid-fuel engine
Propellant N2O4 / UDMH
Mixture ratio 2.67
Cycle Staged combustion
Thrust (vac.) RD-253: 1,630 kN (370,000 lbf)
RD-275: 1,750 kN (390,000 lbf)
RD-275М: 1,832 kN (412,000 lbf)
Thrust (SL) RD-253: 1,470 kN (330,000 lbf)
RD-275: 1,590 kN (360,000 lbf)
RD-275М: 1,671 kN (376,000 lbf)
Chamber pressure RD-253: 14.7 MPa (2,130 psi)
RD-275: 15.7 MPa (2,280 psi)
RD-275M: 16.52 MPa (2,396 psi)
Isp (vac.) RD-253: 316s
RD-275: 316s
RD-275M: 315.8s
Isp (SL) RD-253: 285s
RD-275: 287s
RD-275M: 288s
Gimbal range 7.5°, single plane
Length 3 m (9.8 ft)
Diameter 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
Dry weight RD-253: 1,080 kg (2,380 lb)
RD-275: 1,070 kg (2,360 lb)
RD-275M: 1,070 kg (2,360 lb)
Used in
Proton first stage
References [1][2][3]

The RD-253 (Russian: Раке́тный дви́гатель 253, Rocket Engine 253) and its later variants, the RD-275 and RD-275M, are liquid-propellant rocket engines developed in the Soviet Union by Energomash. The engines are used on the first stage of the Proton launch vehicle and use an oxidizer-rich staged combustion cycle to power the turbopumps. The engine burns UDMH/N2O4, which are highly toxic but hypergolic and storable at room temperature, simplifying the design.


Development of RD-253 started in 1961. Preliminary investigations and development of the engine as well as its further production was performed under the guidance of Valentin Glushko and finished in 1963. The RD-253 uses a staged combustion cycle for oxidizer-rich generator gas. It was used for the first time in July 1965 year when six engines powered the first stage of the rocket. Development and production of RD-253 was a qualitative leap forward for rocketry of that time by achieving high levels of thrust, specific impulse and pressure in the combustion chamber. This engine is one of the most reliable engines in the USSR and modern Russia.

As every first stage of some[which?] Proton rockets used six RD-253 engines, the system played a pivotal role in Russian space missions when this rocket was chosen as carrier, including the following programs: "Luna", "Venera", "Mars probe", manned orbital stations "Salyut", "Mir" and it supplied several principal modules for ISS. It is used widely also for heavy satellites launches.[4][dated info]

Since the original development of the engine, several modifications were designed that weren't used in rockets. One of them was the RD-256 engine for which development stopped on experimental models. It wasn't used in flights and was designed for a cancelled vehicle.[5] The modification marked RD-254 was supplied with extended nozzle for work in vacuum.

Current state and development[edit]

All rights to sell and employ the RD-253 for Proton rocket are held by Energomash which produces it in Perm, Russia.

The modification RD-275 (14D14) appeared as the result of development in 1987–1993 years with the purpose to achieve a more powerful version of the engine. Its 7.7% higher thrust was reached by raising pressure in combustion chamber and enabled to raise payload mass to geostationary orbit (GEO) up to more than 600 kg (1,300 lb). The successful maiden flight of a Proton rocket with the new engine was completed in 1995.

Energomash started the development of next more powerful version of engine in 2001. It will have 5.2% higher thrust[when?] and has the designation 14D14M (RD-275M). It was designed to allow the rocket to deliver 150 kg (330 lb) more payload to GEO.[citation needed]

In the period from 2002 to 2003 years some experimental work was completed with this version of the engine. It included four test firings of three experimental RD-275M with a total time of 735 s. In the middle of 2005 this engine went into production by government commission,[citation needed]

The final version RD-275M is sometimes designated as RD-276 but through 2009 the name RD-275M (14D14M) was more common.[4] Some sources[which?] points out the cost of production per engine as much as 1.5 million USD and sometimes calls some lower figures around 1 million USD per unit.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "RD-253". NPO Energomash. Archived from the original on 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  2. ^ "RD-253-11D48". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "RD-253". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Rocket engine «RD-253». (in russian)
  5. ^ «RD-253» (11D43) and «RD-275» (14D14). (in russian)