Military Review

In space in a spiral

In space in a spiralIn the middle of the last century, manned rocket aviation, gradually mastering new speeds and heights, she was able to come close to the threshold of space.

American call

The Americans achieved their first success: October 14, test pilot Chuck Iger on the X-1947 experimental rocket plane, dropped from the “flying fortress” B-1, overclocked with the help of a rocket engine working on alcohol and liquid oxygen, for the first time exceeded the speed of sound, and Already 29 of December 12 of the year, he reached the maximum speed of 1953 km / h (M = 1) at an altitude above 2655 km on an improved X-2,5 rocket-plane. In 21, tests of the X-1953 rocket planes began, on which the 2 of July 25 of the year reached a record speed in horizontal flight of 1956 km / h, and in early September of 3360 of the year - the height of 1956 38 m.

In June, the US 1954 begins the test program of the X-15 winged hypersonic rocket-plane, which, starting from under the wing of the converted B-52 strategic bomber, will reach a speed of six times the speed of sound and reach an altitude of 76 km in a few minutes! The first sample overflew under the wing of the aircraft was 10 of May 1959 of the year, and already 8 June X-15 first separated from B-52 and made an independent flight planner. The first launch of the rocket engine was carried out on September 17, and in further test flights the records “fell down” one by one — August 4 1960 reached 3514 km / h speed, and August 12 was 41 605 height m; 7 March 1961 of the year X-15 has developed the speed of 4264 km / h, the height of 31 50 meters is taken in the 300 March flight; April 21 5033 km / h speed reached, September 12 - 5832 km / h already. The hundred-kilometer frontier, considered the “official” boundary of space, was overcome by 22 August 1963 of the year - the maximum flight altitude of 107 906 m!

Major Robert White before the start. In total, White made 16 flights on the X-15, setting world records for speed and altitude several times. The X-15 rocket launcher was a model of trouble-free and efficient by the standards of space programs. Of the 199 flights for nine years, only two ended in crashes. For experimental aircraft, this is an unsurpassed achievement.

Space skier

Inspired by the success of X-15, the US Air Force began the development of a military space rocket in the framework of the Dyna-Sor project (Dyna Soar - from Dynamic Soaring - Dynamic Take-off). The rocket plane, called X-20, was supposed to fly at a speed of 24 000 km / h and was, in fact, a development of the idea of ​​the German space bomber Zenger (see “PM” №8'2004). This is not surprising, given that German specialists occupied key engineering posts in the American space program. The new rocket plane was planned to be armed with guided missiles of the “space-space”, “space-air” and “space-earth” classes and conventional bombs. The bottom surface of the X-20 was covered with a metal heat shield of molybdenum, which withstands temperatures up to 1480 ° С, the front edges of the wing were made of molybdenum alloy, which withstands temperatures up to 1650 ° С. Certain places of the apparatus, which at the time of entry into the atmosphere were heated to 2371 ° C, were protected by reinforced graphite and a zirconium hemispherical cap in the forward fuselage or were lined with a niobium ceramic insulating coating. The pilot was located in the ejection seat, providing salvation only at subsonic speeds. The cockpit was equipped with side windows and a windshield protected by heat shields that were dropped just before the landing. A payload weighing up to 454 kg was placed in the cabin compartment. The landing gear consisted of three retractable racks equipped with skis.

But unlike the German predecessor, the X-20 was not a space plane in the truest sense of the word. It was supposed to start from Cape Canaveral in the traditional way at the top of the Titan-IIIC rocket, which launched the rocket plane into orbit 97,6 km altitude. Next, X-20 had to either accelerate itself, using its own rocket engines, or, having completed an incomplete turn, to plan at Edwards airbase. It was planned that the first drop from the B-52 aircraft would be made already in 1963, the first unmanned flight would take place in November of the 1964 year, and the first manned flight - in May of the 1965. However, this military program quietly died earlier, unable to withstand the competition with a simple and cheap solution - sending astronauts into space on a ballistic missile in a sealed capsule carried out by the civil organization NASA.

The initial tests of the X-20 Dyna Soar included the launch of a rocket plane from under the wing of an ultra-long-range B-52a bomber-bomber - an aircraft built specifically for the X-15 research project.

Late response

Ironically, it was at that moment when the Americans closed their program of manned rocketplanes, the USSR, impressed with the X-15 records, decided to “catch up and overtake” America. In 1965, the OKB-155, Artem Mikoyan is assigned to lead the work on orbital and hypersonic aircraft, more precisely, on the creation of a two-stage aerospace system "Spiral". The topic was led by Gleb Lozino-Lozinsky.

The 115-tonne Spiral consisted of a 52-ton hypersonic accelerating aircraft that received the 50-50 index and an 8,8-ton manned orbital aircraft (the 50 index) located on it with a 54-ton two-stage rocket accelerator. The accelerator reached the hypersonic speed 1800 m / s (M = 6), and then, after separating the steps at a height of 28 – 30 km, returned to the airfield. The orbital plane, using a rocket booster operating on hydrogen fluoride (F2 + H2) fuel, entered the working orbit.

Fantasy artist on the theme "Rocket X-20, made a successful landing in the desert."


The crew of the spreader was housed in a double sealed cabin with ejection seats. The commercial aircraft, together with the rocket booster, was fastened on top in a special box, with the nose and tail parts being closed with fairings.

The spreader used liquefied hydrogen as fuel, which was supplied to a block of four AL-51 turbojet engines developed by Arkhip Lyulka, having a common air intake and working for a single supersonic external expansion nozzle. A feature of the engines was the use of hydrogen vapor to drive the turbine. The second fundamental innovation is an integrated, adjustable hypersonic air intake, which used to compress the air entering the turbines almost the entire front part of the lower wing surface. The estimated range of the propeller with a load was 750 km, and when flying as a scout - more than 7000 km.

"Spiral" assembly

The orbital plane

A combat reusable manned single-seater orbital plane of length 8 m and with a wingspan of 7,4 m was carried out according to the “carrying body” scheme. Due to the chosen aerodynamic layout, only 3,4 m was required for the swept wing consoles of the total span, while the rest of the bearing surface correlated with the width of the fuselage. The wing consoles when passing through the plasma formation site (launching into orbit and the initial descent phase) were deflected upward to prevent their direct flow around by heat flow. At the atmospheric descent, the orbital plane was spreading its wings and shifted to horizontal flight.

Orbital maneuvering engines and two emergency rocket engines operated on high-boiling fuel AT-NDMG (nitrogen tetraxide and asymmetric dimethylhydrazine), similar to that used on combat ballistic missiles, which was later planned to be replaced by more environmentally friendly fluorine-based fuel. The fuel supply was enough for a flight of up to two days, but the main task of the orbital plane was to be carried out during the first 2 – 3 turns. The combat load was 500 kg for the reconnaissance and interceptor variant and 2 t for the space bomber. Photographic equipment or rockets were located in the compartment behind the detachable cockpit-capsule, which ensures the pilot’s rescue at any stage of the flight. Landing was carried out using a turbojet engine on an unpaved airfield with a speed of 250 km / h per manufactured four-post ski chassis.

To protect the apparatus from heating when braking in the atmosphere, a heat shield metal screen was made of heat-resistant steel VNS plates and niobium alloys located on the principle of "fish scales". The screen was suspended on ceramic bearings, which played the role of thermal barriers, and when the heating temperature fluctuated, it automatically changed its shape, maintaining position stability relative to the housing. Thus, in all modes, the designers hoped to ensure the constancy of the aerodynamic configuration.

A one-time two-stage launching unit docked to the orbital plane, on the first stage of which there were four rocket rocket engines 25 tf, and on the second stage - one. For the first time it was planned to use liquid oxygen and hydrogen as a fuel, and later to switch to fluorine and hydrogen. The steps of the accelerator, as the aircraft was put into orbit, were successively separated and fell into the ocean.

Do you think that Star Wars artists were inspired by the proportions of Spirals when designing the Queen Nabu yacht? Today this beauty can be seen in the Central Museum of the Air Force of the Russian Federation in Monino

Epoch plans

The work plan on the project envisaged the creation of an analogue of an orbital plane with 1968 km altitude and speed M = 120 – 6 dropped from the Tu-8 strategic bomber, an original response to the American record system B-95 and X-52 by 15.

By 1969, it was planned to create an experimental EPOS manned orbital plane having a complete similarity with a combat orbital plane that would be put into orbit by the Soyuz carrier rocket. In 1970, the accelerator was supposed to start flying, first on kerosene, and two years later on hydrogen. The complete system should have been launched into space in 1973. Of all this ambitious program at the beginning of the 1970-s, it was possible to build only three EPOSs - one for studying the flight at subsonic speed, one for supersonic research, and one for going into hypersound. But it was destined to rise in the air only to the first model in May 1976, when in the USA all similar programs were already curtailed. Having made a little more than a dozen sorties, in September 1978 of the year after an unsuccessful landing, the EPOS received minor injuries and did not get more into the air. After that, and so little funding for the program was curtailed - the Ministry of Defense was already in full swing developing the next answer to the Americans - the Energy - Buran system.

Locked topic

Despite the official closure of the program "Spiral", the labor expended was not in vain. The created groundwork and acquired experience of working on Spiral greatly facilitated and accelerated the construction of the reusable Buran spacecraft. Using the experience gained, Gleb Lozino-Lozinsky headed the creation of the Buran glider. The future cosmonaut Igor Volk, who performed flights on the subsonic analogue of EPOS, subsequently first took to the air the atmospheric analogue of the Buran BTS-002 and became the commander of the Buran test pilot squad.

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  1. Canep
    Canep April 27 2013 07: 22
    In vain the Spiral was not brought to mind, but we switched to Buran, now neither one nor the other, they looked at the American shuttle: - "I want the same!" When will we live with our own head?
    1. patline
      patline April 27 2013 12: 33
      And the Mir station was flooded, completely undeservedly.
      1. Sirocco
        Sirocco April 27 2013 16: 11
        Quote: patline
        And the Mir station was flooded, completely undeservedly.

        I would not say that. Station Mir, has developed its resource. This time. And secondly, pressure from the United States. Yes, and money at that time, space was not supposed. The station was launched in 1986. flooded in 2001. So to speak, the WORLD was at the wrong time, in the wrong place. sad
        1. Grenader
          Grenader April 28 2013 08: 36
          The Mir station had a modular design. In order to change the non-working segment, it was not necessary to heat the entire station. The station was flooded by the GDP under pressure from the SPS. The closure of bases in Vietnam and Cuba is also his doing. And all this was done not in the interests of Russia.
    2. Sirocco
      Sirocco April 27 2013 16: 04
      Quote: Canep
      "I want the same," and to this day we fly into space on "soyuz". When will we live with our own head?

      In our habit, throws occur from one extreme to another. As is the case with SDI, well, Shuttles are the beginning of SDI. In the end, what do the USA have? Neither one nor the other. Well, in the case of Buran, and Spiral I will say the words of A.S. Pushkin. Do not lose your sorrowful work
      And we think of a great aspiration.
    3. AndreyAB
      AndreyAB April 29 2013 05: 15
      And at the expense of "Spiral" it is necessary to ask the scoundrel Gorbachev, a personal order to stop spending money on nonsense, under the Gorbachev, a lot of promising projects were closed.
    4. edge
      edge 14 May 2013 15: 26
      Quote: Canep
      In vain "Spiral" was not brought to mind

      ruined such a scheme, but Amer. udodam materials thrown off
  2. Jurkovs
    Jurkovs April 27 2013 10: 45
    But Lozino-Lozinsky almost clandestinely, developed a further improvement of the Spiral, the Lightning system. Lightning relied on experimental data obtained from Buran’s flight and on its technology, and was worked out before the stage of working drawings. But we, after Korolev, forgot how to think for ourselves and look through the fence that the amers have.
  3. Tektor
    Tektor April 27 2013 13: 03
    Quote: Canep
    In vain the Spiral was not brought to mind, but we switched to Buran, now neither one nor the other, they looked at the American shuttle: - "I want the same!" When will we live with our own head?

    Not at all: the Spiral was brought "to mind" in the form of MAX. This unit fully meets the tactical and technical tasks. Firstly, it allows throwing a load of more than 200 tons into a low orbit of 9 km (compare with the Voevoda). Secondly, it allows reaching an orbit of 500 km (~ geostationary) with a load of 40 kg. Thirdly, it can be manned (000 people with life support systems for a decent period), as well as in a fully automatic mode. Two specialists are capable of performing control-guidance tasks from space (space headquarters) and conducting anti-satellite warfare with existing standard weapons. Fourthly, MAKS can make a maneuver when returning from space up to 2 km long. This allows you to enter the atmosphere far from your own borders, use weapons, and hold out to your own. Why is MAX good? If an intercontinental missile is launched, then this is a war. And if MAKS started, then this is NOT a war yet, but a concentrated threat to our inexorableness and retaliation in case of faq ...
    1. Dim Dim
      Dim Dim April 27 2013 15: 19
      I don’t remember when the last or the first flight of this wonderful MAKS machine took place. BOR was at least lifted into orbit, but from MAKS only an idea, when it can be made in metal and tested, then we will praise it.
  4. Rusik.S
    Rusik.S April 27 2013 15: 25
    I don’t think that today it makes sense in such airplanes. It’s possible to kill satellites even cheaper. The maintenance of such a squadron will have an unbelievable stamina. Although you might think about an international connection to counter the meteorite threat.
    1. Tektor
      Tektor April 27 2013 15: 43
      Indeed, the meaning will appear when it becomes possible to place weapons in orbit: such a shuttle is needed to service combat satellites and stations.
      In addition, to shoot down satellites in high orbits, approximately above 2000 km - so far, so far, there is nothing at all.
      And about the cost: MAKS is the cheapest payload launch into orbit, and at times.
    2. edge
      edge 7 May 2013 15: 32
      Quote: Rusik.S
      I don’t think that today it makes sense in such airplanes. It’s possible to kill satellites cheaper.
      torment rockets to collect for the entire orbital grouping ......... and so you can quietly steal the desired satellite.
  5. not good
    not good April 27 2013 16: 15
    While Popovkin and Co. will rule in the leadership of Roscosmos, we will fly to the Unions, because the money allocated for everything else will be mastered.
  6. Lee
    Lee April 27 2013 18: 05
    As usual, we have forgotten, and, after some time, the idea "surfaced" in the West. Dream Chaser spacecraft:
    1. Kir
      Kir April 27 2013 18: 30
      Well, that's right, only the words have to be replaced, someone clearly tried to "kill" the topic here, so that later reselling there become the author and owner of patents, the meagerness of some and the exorbitant cunning of others.
    2. jasorgho
      jasorgho April 30 2013 13: 10
      Amer did not forget from them a whole family of such devices and dates back much earlier than our Spirals and BORs:
    3. The comment was deleted.
    4. The comment was deleted.
    5. Grenader
      Grenader 10 May 2013 21: 34
      Fucked up mother, so this is "Clipper"
      1. svp67
        svp67 10 May 2013 21: 41
        Quote: Grenader
        Fucked up mother, so this is "Clipper"

        Here is the Clipper

        And this is "Spiral"

        Agree to her, he looks more like
  7. viktor_ui
    viktor_ui April 28 2013 09: 11
    To catch up and overtake both here and here and here ... "where the peasants, there and the monkeys" ... it is especially touching when really breakthrough products are fucked up by those in power, but after crocodile tears and everything in a new and old fashion overtake wassat Straight running in a circle and especially glad that it is unambiguously to blame only the thieves of "Euroamera" in a compartment with the Zhidomassons. Why are we all so correct, but always with a dirty ass ???
    Minus One Wait fellow
  8. Hort
    Hort April 28 2013 11: 07
    Despite the official closure of the Spiral program, the work expended was not in vain. The created backlog and the acquired experience of working on the Spiral greatly facilitated and accelerated the construction of the reusable space shuttle Buran.
    moreover, Lozino-Lozinsky himself was against the snowstorm, explaining that the stupid copying of the American shuttle would leave the money breakthrough
  9. crasever
    crasever April 28 2013 13: 51
    Whatever it was with our "carelessness" after August-91, the Lozino-Lozinsky project is very reproducible - the Ukrainian brothers kept the AN-225 carrier and the samples remained in Russia. For some reason, mattress makers laugh at us about the Russian slovenliness that comes from drinking vodka from a samovar, but they themselves have completely exhausted all the constructive and technological legacy of the legendary Apollo program ...
  10. shinobi
    shinobi April 28 2013 17: 27
    Reusable systems like Buran, an Amer shuttle are unpromising. Our leaders understood this right after the first unmanned Buran flight, which the developers warned about by the way. They just suggested bringing the Milevskaya Spiral to mind. But how, the amers have, they must have we have. Of course, the scientific technical backlog has been used, but the future is for the aerospace systems such as m-19 kb mile or what the British are developing. Amerians cling to their shuttles only because the pros. according to the RN Saturn program. Damn, the sales of normal engines have forgotten how to do.
  11. Alternatives
    Alternatives 5 May 2013 02: 10
    Lozino-Lozinsky’s project is very reproducible - the Ukrainians kept the carrier AN-225 and remained in Russia.

    Be that as it may, en -225 - produced in a single copy, the second, as far as I remember, is only 70%. There are no analogues in the world, as well as samples in the Russian Federation, and will not be in the near future ..
  12. Alternatives
    Alternatives 5 May 2013 02: 12
    I apologize for what:
    but the future is still for the aerospace systems of aircraft type m-19 KB mile

    or the one that the British are developing
  13. smershspy
    smershspy 17 May 2013 15: 52
    Lord! Good article! Thank!
    PS I ask you to help in one thing! Need any information on the Kola Peninsula! Thank!
    Regards, smershspy!