The project of reusable spacecraft from JSC "ISON"

The development of a new reusable spacecraft project started in our country. Already carried out the bulk of research work, which allows you to move to a new design stage. The finished spacecraft, which is expected to appear in the next decade, will be able to solve commercial problems and carry out a large number of repeated flights. The new project is being developed by private JSC “ISON”, which is part of the Cluster of Advanced Production Technologies of the Skolkovo Foundation.

According to the available information, the company “ISON” has been working on the creation of a promising spacecraft for several years. So, during the previous two years she was engaged in theoretical study of the project and carrying out the necessary research. In particular, tests of the model of a new technique in a wind tunnel were carried out. The information obtained allows you to go to the technical design of a new prototype.

At the moment, the main goal of the so far unnamed project is to create a so-called. reusable modifiable scaled flight demonstrator (MLD). This product will be a reduced model of a full-fledged aircraft, designed for the first stage of flight design tests. In the course of testing MLD, experts will gather new information, with the help of which the project will be refined. Then starts the development of a full-fledged spacecraft.

On January 30, the Skolkovo Foundation published a new report on the progress of the ISON company and its success. According to the results of previous work on the reusable spacecraft, a private company received a perpetual license from the Roscosmos State Corporation, which gives it the right to create rocket and space technology. In addition, the company has been certified according to ISO 9001: 2015 quality management standard. These events allow ISON specialists to continue working.

Already announced plans for the company for the coming years. She intends to complete the development of the project and to prepare for production. Then there will be mock-ups designed for ground tests. Later a model sample of the MLD type will be built. He will perform five test flights. All of these checks will hold no later than 2023. The timeline for the completion of the project and the start of operation of the equipment has not yet been specified. It is probably about the middle and second half of the twenties.

Known financial features of the project. At the early stages of development, the Project-Technika corporation allocated 25 million rubles to JSC ISON. Another 30 million received from the Skolkovo Foundation in the form of a grant. Further work, which will result in finished products, requires another 280 million rubles. According to current plans, some of this money will be provided by Skolkovo, and the rest will be received from other co-investors.


According to the company-developer, the new project provides for the creation of a multi-purpose spacecraft having a number of characteristic capabilities. So, it is planned to provide the ability to solve problems both in airspace and in space. It is alleged that the device from "ISON" will become the world's first model with such functions. The chosen launch method using an aircraft carrier is expected to allow the spacecraft to be operated anywhere in the world and will provide significant savings on launch. All this should simplify and cheapen the development of near-Earth suborbital space.

The company "ISON" has already revealed the expected characteristics of the future spacecraft and the main features of the promising complex as a whole. While the nameless project offers construction of a so-called. aerospace system consisting of the carrier aircraft and the orbiter of the aircraft type. The carrier will have to lift the orbital plane into the air and bring it to a predetermined trajectory. After uncoupling, the spacecraft, using its own power plant, will have to fly according to a given program.

It is likely that a full-fledged spacecraft will be able to perform aerodynamic braking and land in an “airplane-like” manner, but an experienced MLD will have other functions. The flight demonstrator of the new program will land with the help of a parachute. Apparently, this will allow to simplify the testing without prejudice to their scientific results.

The spacecraft of the proposed appearance may be of interest to various structures. The official resources of the Skolkovo Foundation in the “main consumers of the product” section include the state corporation Roscosmos, the United Rocket and Space Corporation and the Ministry of Defense. However, while we are talking only about possible customers. The project is still in its early stages, which imposes certain limitations on its commercial potential.


February 4 RIA News published new data on the project of ISON, namely a couple of demonstration slides. The first image shows the scheme of the pilot aircraft MLD and reveals some details of this project, and the second shows the features of the flight in future tests. The concept of the aerospace system and its methods of work are well known to specialists and the public, therefore, the image of the future flight demonstrator is of the greatest interest.

From the published images, it follows that the project of the company “ISON” envisages the construction of a “space plane” of a traditional type for such technology. It is proposed to use the nizkoplan scheme with a wing of small span and keels on the ending. The project provides for the launch into orbit with the help of its own power plant, which accordingly affected the appearance and design of the device. At the same time, the MLD is designed as an unmanned aerial vehicle, and this excludes the use of the cockpit, but imposes requirements on instrumentation.

According to the published image, the MLD should have a fuselage of high elongation, which has a circular cross section over most of its length. In this case, a rounded nose fairing and an expanding tail engine compartment are provided. In the nose and in the center of the fuselage there are two instrument compartments. The space between them, as well as behind the central compartment, is given for a couple of tanks for the fuel components. The tail holds the power plant. Unfortunately, the exact list of components and assemblies has not yet been published, and only individual devices are mentioned.

The orbital plane receives a wing of small span and lengthening, trapezoidal in plan, equipped with advanced forward flows. The rear edge of the wing is equipped with elevons maximum possible scope. There are large and long wing tips that serve as the basis for two arrow-shaped carinae. Behind the engine compartment, below, there is an additional plane. Probably, it should perform the functions of the elevator.

As a power plant, it is proposed to use the liquid rocket engine 14D30, borrowed from the upper stage "Breeze". This product has a dry weight of 95 kg and a length of 1,15 m with a diameter of no more than 950 mm. The engine uses the NDMG-AT fuel pair, the control gas is nitrogen. The thrust is defined in 2000 kgf, the specific impulse is 328,6 s. The maximum time of one switch is 2500 with. Such characteristics will be sufficient for the proposed flight demonstrator.

Dimensions and mass of the future prototype remain unknown. In the diagram showing the flight profile, the MLD is depicted “on the back” of the M-55 high-altitude Geophysics aircraft, and this would make it possible to estimate the dimensions and proportions. However, it is not known whether M-55 will be used in the upcoming trials. In addition, it is unclear whether the authors of the scheme tried to comply with the real proportions of technology.

It should be noted that we are talking only about a scaled flight demonstrator, while the main features and characteristics of a full-fledged spacecraft remain unknown. Apparently, the spacecraft will be similar to the expected MLD and no drastic changes in the design are planned. Nevertheless, there is no need to speak with confidence on this topic yet, and any scenario is possible.

However, the company-developer is ready to name the approximate characteristics of the finished aircraft. This product is expected to be able to perform suborbital or full-fledged orbital flights. In the first case, the height of the trajectory will reach 160 km. The speed on the suborbital trajectory will reach M = 7. The maximum achievable orbit height is determined in 500 km. The estimated resource of the device - 50 flights.

A promising reusable apparatus will be lifted into the air using a carrier aircraft. What kind of aircraft will provide flights - is unknown. Lack of information about the dimensions and mass of the device, in turn, interferes with estimates and projections. Probably, these features of a promising project will be revealed in the future.

As part of flights with a different profile, the spacecraft will be able to perform a wide range of tasks. First of all, it is proposed to use it as a platform for conducting experiments and a “vehicle”. In particular, the reusable ship will be able to bring various satellites with permissible dimensions and mass to low orbits. The company-developer notes that its spacecraft will not have a military purpose and will not be able to become a carrier of percussion systems.


It should be recalled that the project of a reusable spacecraft from JSC "ISON" is not the first domestic development of this class. In the past, such projects were repeatedly proposed, but none of them reached the full practical implementation and operation. The successful completion of past projects was hampered by various factors of financial, organizational and other nature. At present, a new attempt is being made to create a reusable aerospace system, and it is not quite clear how it will end.

Domestic private company "ISON" has already conducted a number of necessary studies and is now making plans for the development and testing of a scaled flight demonstrator, which should open the way to a full-sized sample with all the desired functions. If the project does not face unforeseen difficulties or other problems, a fundamentally new spacecraft may appear in 2023 already in our country already in XNUMX.

On the materials of the sites:
Ryabov Kirill
Photos used:
Ctrl Enter

Noticed a mistake Highlight text and press. Ctrl + Enter

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in