Tronador (rocket)

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Tronador II
Cohete Tronador II.JPG
Tronador II rocket mockup at Tecnópolis
Function Orbital launch vehicle
Manufacturer Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales
Country of origin Argentina
Height 28 m (~92 ft)
Diameter 2.5 m
Mass 67000 kg (including propellant)
Stages 3
Payload to LEO 250 kg (550 lb) (Polar orbit)
Launch history
Status Under development
Launch sites Puerto Belgrano Naval Base
First flight 2019 (projected)
First stage - Lower stage
Engines 3 * T30
Thrust 3 × 30000 kg
Fuel LOX/RP-1
Second stage - Upper stage
Engines 1 * other or T4R
Thrust 1400 to 4000 kg
Fuel Monomethylhydrazine(MMH)/N2O4

Tronador, also known as Thunderer, is a series of Argentine rockets, including the Tronador I and Tronador II vehicles, to develop a liquid-propellant rocket expendable launch system called ISCUL[1] (Inyector Satelital de Cargas Utiles Ligeras, Light Payloads Satellite Launcher).

The Tronador I is an unguided liquid-fueled rocket[2] used for sub-orbital spaceflight test flights. Its development led to the larger VEx test rocket, testing technologies needed for the Tronador II, which has a guidance system and would be capable of reaching low Earth orbit.[2] Development of the satellite launch vehicle has costed more than 600 million dollars over several years.

Tronador I[edit]

The Tronador I is an unguided liquid-fueled rocket[2] used for sub-orbital spaceflight test flights.

Tronador I (T1)[edit]

The Tronador I (T1) vehicle was flown successfully on June 6, 2007[3] from Puerto Belgrano Naval Base near Bahía Blanca,[3][4] in the south east of the Buenos Aires Province. This was the first flight of a technology demonstrator vehicle for the program.


  • Length: 3,400 mm
  • Stages: 1
  • Total takeoff mass: 60 kg
  • Payload mass: 4 kg
  • Thrust (x 10 s): 500 kgf

Tronador Ib (T2)[edit]

The Tronador Ib (T2) vehicle was flown successfully on August 5, 2008[3] from Puerto Belgrano Naval Base.[4] This was the second technology demonstrator vehicle flown for the program.


  • Length: 3,400 mm
  • Stages: 1
  • Total takeoff mass: 60 kg
  • Payload mass: 4 kg
  • Apogee: 15~20 km
  • Thrust (10 s): 1,500 kgf


This was the first cooperative test flight between Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales and Brazilian Space Agency; it was successfully flown in December 2007 (Operacion Angicos).[5] The payload built by CONAE, carried several experiments to validate subsystems for the program such as: IMU (Inertial Measurements Unit, that used IFOG's), GPS receptor (for navigation), all integrated into the on-board computer, and an attitude control system via cold-gas thrusters. The payload unit completed a suborbital flight carried by an AEB-built VS-30 solid-propellant rocket booster, and was then recovered from the sea after landing with parachutes.


  • Length: 3,288 mm (Payload module)
  • Stages: 1 (VS-30 booster)
  • Total takeoff mass: 1,500 kg
  • Payload mass: 242.1 kg
  • Apogee: 120~160 km
  • Specific Impulse: 266 s (VS-30 booster)

Tronador II[edit]

Tronador II's maiden orbital launch is expected to fly in 2019, from Puerto Belgrano Naval Base.[6]


As of June 2016, the proposed Tronador II configuration:[7]

  • Length: 28 m
  • Stages: 2
  • Diameter: 2.5m
  • Empty mass: 5,100 kg
  • Total weight: 67,000 kg
  • Payload mass: 250 kg[8]
  • Apogee: 600 km
  • Lower Stage: 90t total thrust (3x30t engines) at sea level. Fuel: RP-1/LOX
  • Upper stage: 1.4t to 4t thrust (single pressurized engine) at sea level (2t to 5.5t in vacuum). Fuel: Monomethylhydrazine(MMH)/N2O4

Other proposals[edit]

The initial proposal was for a 3-stage rocket. In early 2015, an evolved configuration [9] was presented at the 52nd Committee on Peaceful Uses of Ultra-Terrestrial Space meeting [10] and at the Punta Indio test launch pad.

  • First Stage: 90,000 kg (3x30,000 kg)
  • Second Stage: 30,000 kg
  • Third stage: 4,000 kg thrust

Tronador II prototypes[edit]


The T4000 (Tronador T4000 pathfinder rocket) test rocket is related to the project, as it is the basis of the 3rd stage of the Tronador II.[3] Specifically, it was intended to house the attitude control system (“Thrust Vector Control” - TVS).[11] The first launch attempt in 2011 failed.[12]

  • Diameter: 438 mm[13]
  • Thrust: 4,000 kg (~40 kN)
  • Impulse time: 10 seconds[14]


The current strategy is to fly separately several prototype subsystems, called "VEx", before they are incorporated in the Tronador II rocket.[2][11][14][15][16][17]


In March 2014, a prototype named VEx-1A failed during launch from Pipinas, Punta Indio Partido.[2][17][18][19] It had only one stage, weigh 2.8 tonnes, thrust of 4 ton, 60 seconds mission duration, expected apogee of 2 km. VEx-1A first launch attempt was postponed in December 2013 due to ground support equipment fail. The second attempt failed on February 26, 2014.[20][21] It was discovered that the failure was caused by interferences between the launch pad and the rocket, which prevented the vehicle from elevating more than 2m off the ground. The engine control mechanism shut off the fuel valve, preventing an explosion, and the rocket fell down next to the pad.


First flight of the vehicle, launched on 15 August 2014 from Pipinas, Punta Indio Partido.[8] It successfully tested propulsion, control, and navigation subsystems. 2,200 m apogee, 27 seconds flight time. It landed in the sea assisted by the recovery parachutes. The vehicle was recovered and examined to determine whether further VEx-1 test rockets are required or VEx-2 can be implemented.


VEx-5A was a two stage rocket. The T-10 first stage rocket engine are capable to produce 11t of thrust, while the T-4 second stage rocket engine are capable to produce 4t of thrust. The rocket was 18 meters long and 1.5 meters diameter, with a total launch weight (including fuel) of 8500 kg.[22][23] The rocket will separate the first stage booster (the propellants are liquid oxygen/RP-1) in 15 km altitude and the second stage continue, reaching up to 30 km altitude (the propellants are hydrazine/nitric acid).[24] The vehicle will testing several technologies, new fuels, and for the first time, the separation of two stages rocket (mechanical and automatic aspects), and the ignition of the second engine in flight. The rocket was completed in mid 2015 and scheduled to launch in October 2015 and November 2016, but scrubbed due to minor issues, such as pressure valves didn't work.[25] The test flight finally occurred on 21 April 2017, 18:00 local time from Pipinas, Punta Indio Partido. The rocket climb up from it's pad eight seconds before the first stage rocket engine shut down due to abrupt flow from fuel line. Several seconds later, the rocket fell and impacted the launch pad, causing fiery explosion. Fires quickly controlled by the CONAE brigades with the support of the Prefecture of Naval Argentina. The consequences on land systems are lower. The ill-fated launch was announced officially by CONAE several hours after the launch and the footage are available, showing launch pad and the whole launch camera angle. [26][27][28][29]


Test flight - single stage 30t thrust engine rocket - projected for 2017 launch from Pipinas, Punta Indio Partido.[30][31]


Test flight - two stage test rocket. First stage 30t thrust engine, second stage VEx-1 engine - projected for 2019 launch from Puerto Belgrano Naval Base.[32][33][31][34][needs update]

Tronador III[edit]

The proposed Tronador III would have the same diameter as Tronador II, but with a longer height (34m total). The fueled rocket would weight 89t, and capable of delivering a ton of payload into polar orbit.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "La Facultad de Ingeniería participará en el desarrollo del" (PDF). Proyectarse. 15 (71): 20–22. December 2008. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales - Tronador II". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales - Tronador". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  4. ^ a b "free forum : grandprix". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  5. ^ [citation needed]
  6. ^ "Tronador-2". Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales - 2014". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  9. ^ "Tronador LSA". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  10. ^ "Argentina en el Espacio: ¿Nuevo diseño para el Tronador II?". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  11. ^ a b "Escalera al cielo, peldaño a peldaño (Serie Tronador II)". 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  12. ^ Brazilian Space (2013-05-03). "BRAZILIAN SPACE: Informação Extraoficial Confirma Falha do Foguete T-4000". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  13. ^ "T-4000, Gallery". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  14. ^ a b "Argentina's SLV development". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  15. ^ "Proyecto de Inversión Pública. Secretaría de Política Económica". 2015-11-30. Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  16. ^ "Argentina's SLV development". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  17. ^ a b Rey, Patricia (2013-10-14). "Argentina To Put First Satellite In Space Using Own Launch Technology By 2015". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  18. ^ "Cohete Tronador II: más que un monumento de Tecnópolis". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  19. ^ "Argentina lanzará un cohete de diseño nacional que pondrá en órbita satélites de observación". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  20. ^ "El cohete despegó y explotó". Punta Indio Web. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  21. ^ "Un despegue fallido - 07.03.2014 - LA NACION". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Tronador LSA". Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  24. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  25. ^ "Página/12 :: Economía :: Una foto junto al cohete heredado". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  26. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  27. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  28. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  29. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  30. ^ "VEx-5". Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  31. ^ a b
  32. ^ "El INVAP de Bariloche ya prepara el Arsat 2 y 3 para 2015 y 2017". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  33. ^ "VEX1 - Machtres Aeronautica y Espacio". 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  34. ^ "Argentina's SLV development". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 

External links[edit]