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 33 m (108 ft)
Diameter 2.5–1.5 m
Mass 64000 kg (including propellant)
Stages 3
Payload to LEO 200–400 kg (Polar orbit)
Launch history
Status Under development
Launch sites Puerto Belgrano Naval Base
First flight 2014
First stage
Engines 3
Thrust 3 × 30000 kg
Burn time
Fuel LOX/RP-1
Second stage
Engines 1
Thrust 30000 kg
Burn time
Fuel Monomethylhydrazine(MMH)/N2O4
Third stage - T4000
Engines 1
Thrust 4000 kg
Burn time
Fuel Monomethylhydrazine(MMH)/N2O4

Tronador (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 Injector).

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 that will test the technologies needed for the Tronador II, which has a guidance system and would be capable of reaching low Earth orbit.[2]

Tronador I[edit]

One Tronador I (T1) vehicle was flown successfully on June 6, 2007[3] from Puerto Belgrano Naval Base near Bahía Blanca,[4][5] 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: 500 kgf x 10 sec

Tronador Ib[edit]

One 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: 1,500 kgf x 10 sec

Carga Util VS-30[edit]

This was the first cooperative test flight between CONAE (Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales) and AEB (Agencia Espacial Brasileira); it was successfully flown on December 2007 (Operacion Angicos).[citation needed] The payoad 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 sec (VS-30 booster)

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).[6] The first launch attempt in 2011 failed.[7]

  • Diameter: 438 mm[8]
  • Thrust: 4,000 kg (~40 kN)
  • Impulse time: 10 seconds[9]


The current strategy is to fly separately several prototype subsystems, called "Vex", before they are incorporated in the Tronador II rocket:[6][9][10][11][12][13]

Demonstrator missions
  • Vex1A — In March 2014 a prototype named Vex1A failed during launch from Pipinas, Punta Indio Partido,[2][13][14][15] It had only one stage, 2.8 tonnes, 4t engine, 60 seconds mission, expected apogee of 2 km. Vex1A first launch attempt was posponed on December 2013 due to ground support equipment fail. The second attempt failed on February 26, 2014.[16][17] 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.
  • Vex1B — First flight of the vehicle, launched on 15 August 2014.[18] 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. Once the vehicle is recovered it will be examined to determine whether further Vex1 test rockets are required or Vex2 can be implemented.
  • Vex5A - test flight - single stage 30t thrust engine rocket - projected for 2015[19][20]
  • Vex5B - test flight - single stage 30t thrust engine rocket - projected for 2015[19][20]
  • Vex5C - test flight - two stage 30t thrust engine rocket - projected for 2015[19][20][21]

Tronador II/ISCUL[edit]


The first full Tronador II demonstrator is expected to fly in December 2015. The full Tronador II version is expected to launch the same year from the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base.[13][14]


The projected Tronador II rocket has the following preliminary configuration:[22]

  • Length: 33 m
  • Stages: 3
  • Diameter: 2.5m - 1.5m
  • Empty mass: 8,000 kg
  • Total weight: 64,000 kg
  • Payload mass: 250 kg[18]
  • Apogee: 600–700 km
  • 1st stage thrust: 90,000 kg (3x30,000 kg)
  • 2nd stage thrust: 30,000 kg
  • 3rd stage engine: 4,000 kg thrust, 60 seconds burn, 2,800 kg of fuel

In early 2015, an evolved configuration was presented at the 52nd Committee on Peaceful Uses of Ultra-Terrestrial Space meeting [23] and at the Punta Indio test launch pad. The first launch is scheduled for September 2015.[19]

  • Length: 27 m
  • Stages: 2-1/2 (two of the three first stage engines will separate first)
  • Diameter: 2.5m

See also[edit]


External links[edit]