Military Review

Chief in cold

“The launch into space of the first man who has flown around the globe outside the atmosphere of the earth is one of the most outstanding achievements in the exploration of outer space. Delighted with the brilliant technical prowess of those who made this flight possible, and the fearlessness of Major Gagarin ”, is just one of the reviews that came from different countries and published in April 1961 of the year in the journal Foreign Literature. The whole world was surprised that the country that survived the devastation of the Civil and Great Patriotic Wars, the horrors of political repression, as if by magic, became the first space power. Is this not a miracle!

However, this miracle was prepared by decades of hard work. The secrets of the success of the new rocket-space industry for the country are in the industrial traditions and the ability to perceive others' achievements, in the continuity of engineering thought and bold technological innovations. But even the most courageous fiction writers of the first half of the 20th century could not imagine the incredible complexity of this industry.

One of those who, through his own labor, allowed this miracle to take place, was Methodius Nikolaevich Veremev, chief designer of the Tagil OKB-250.


The future engineer was born on July 2 of 1914 in the family of a peasant of the Malakhov farm in the Bryansk region. From the age of fifteen he began working, first as a secretary in the village council, then as a foundry worker at a small enterprise in Mariupol. At seventeen, Methodius Veremiev is already a student at a machine-building technical school. He studied, apparently, very well, because immediately after the technical school he was sent to Bezhitsky (today it is the city of Bryansk) Institute of Transport Engineering. In the 1939 year, after 8 years of study, a graduate entered Uralvagonzavod.

Practitioners in industry were especially valued at that time, and Methodius Veremev was offered the position of foreman in the platform shop. The activity of a young specialist was not left unattended, he was soon appointed senior conveyor master, and in 1940 the year - head of the department of the platform shop.

However, at the end of the year, Methodius Veremev transferred to the design department. To appreciate this step, it is enough to recall that intellectual work was not very valuable at that time, the salaries of designers were lower than those of the shop workers. Probably, the young specialist had a great desire to test himself in creative activity.

The work, unpromising from a career point of view, became for Metodiy Nikolayevich a real gift of fate. He got into the head design office in the USSR for the development of freight cars, led by Dmitry Nikolaevich Lorenzo, an engineer of the old Russian school, who predetermined the direction of development of the industry until the end of the 20th century. The ideal place for the professional growth of a young specialist ...

With the beginning of World War II, the production of traditional products ceased at the Uralvagonzavod. The company received the code "No. 183" and became known as Ural tank. In place of the wagon conveyors, mass production of first-class military vehicles - T-34 tanks was established. The design bureau headed by Dmitry Lorenzo in January 1942 moved to Altai, to the city of Chesnokovka, where the Pravda newspaper car building plant had already been evacuated from Ukraine. Tagilchan was not expected there, so the first time I had to work, being on the verge of physical survival. During the war, the authority of Veremyev in the team grew significantly. The chief designer appoints Methodius Nikolayevich the head of the design team, then the deputy head of the department. Lorenzo especially appreciated his ability to convince his interlocutors and his determination to uphold his ideas and developments.


After the return of the design bureau at the turn of 1945 – 1946 to Nizhny Tagil, Dmitry Lorenzo increasingly sends Veremieva to ministries and departments. Uralvagonzavod experienced a reconstruction, one of the tasks of which was to recreate the car production, and the already experienced engineer had the full opportunity to show his creative abilities. Methodius Nikolayevich made a great personal contribution to the creation of multi-axle all-metal carriages, which were then manufactured at various factories in the country. The pinnacle of a career in the wagon design bureau was the appointment of Methodius Veremiev in July 1953 as deputy chief designer.

However, even after the end of the Second World War, powerful army and modern armaments remained the most important arguments in international politics. Since spring, 1946, in the USSR, has been closely involved in the production of ballistic missiles. A government decree set up scientific research institutes, design bureaus for areas of work, and identified factories producing rocket technology. Among them, in January, the Uralsky plant named after I.V. Stalin (Uralvagonzavod), who was entrusted with the development of cryogenic tanks for the transport of liquid oxygen (rocket fuel oxidizer).

Initially, this duty was imposed on the specialists of the Mariupol Ilyich Plant. Using as a prototype a German tank used for refueling V-2 missiles, Mariupol residents released a small batch of 1949Н tanks in 21. Together with the captured technology, they ensured the launch of the P-1 and P-2 missiles. Mariupol designers managed to prepare an improved design of the tank 21H1, but then, at the request of the Ministry of Shipbuilding Industry, which was in charge of the Ilyich plant, they managed to transfer the topic to the Ministry of Transport Engineering. So the order went to the Ural factory named after Stalin.

Plant Director Ivan Vasilyevich Okunev and Chief Designer of the railcar design bureau Dmitry Nikolaevich Lorenzo, being lovers of technical innovations, accepted the new order with interest and enthusiasm. The factory hastily set up two working groups: designers headed by Methodius Nikolayevich Veremeyev and technologists led by Nikolai Germagenovich Trutnev. Tests of the 21H1 tank showed its low-tech for mass production; required to create a more advanced design and technology of its manufacture. The solution of the problem was complicated by the lack of experience in the field of low-temperature engineering and by rigid, simply unthinkable deadlines for executing government orders.


In February, the 1953 of the year, around-the-clock experimental work began in the factory welding laboratory, to which scientists from the E.O. Electric Welding Institute joined. Paton. The designers of the Veremiev group should have made changes to the drawings of the tank 21НХNUMX according to the comments of technologists. Methodius Nikolayevich, not limited to such a modest role, completely immersed himself in the experiments and trials of the Mariupol product.

The tank 21Н1 consisted of two vessels: internal, made of aluminum alloy AMts, and external steel, separated by a heat-insulating layer. At Veremiev’s request, the iron content of the metal of the cryogenic vessel was reduced, which dramatically improved the quality of welding. The new alloy is called AMtsS - weldable. Created at Uralvagonzavod technology has become a big step in the development of welding of non-ferrous metals. Methodius Nikolaevich also took part in the development of methods for monitoring welds and checking the tightness of cryogenic vessels.

Opinion Veremiev was decisive in the development of thermal insulation of a cryogenic vessel. The most effective was, of course, the vacuum, but in the USSR it was tested only in laboratory conditions. Industrial development of products with vacuum insulation at Uralvagonzavod in the allotted time was not possible. Methodius Nikolayevich suggested temporarily confining himself to a mipore - foam plastic, which both Germans and Mariupol residents used in their tanks, but to select more optimal modes of operation for it. That was done.

After solving the key tasks related to the choice of materials and selection of technologies, the designers, under the leadership of Veremiev, created on the basis of the product 21Н1 a more efficient and reliable tank 8Г52. It was distinguished by simplicity of design, manufacturability and the use of non-deficient materials. The serial release of the novelty began in October 1953 of the year.

Methodius Nikolaevich Veremiev coped with the role of the organizer of a scientific and technical project brilliantly. Careful control of the performers at all stages of the manufacture of a new product, active cooperation with factory technologists and industry research institutes have become the “firm” style of work of Veremiev, the head.

And was born OKB-250

The 8-XXNX tank became the starting point in the development of a new division. In the same year, 52 completed the work on the creation of an intercontinental ballistic missile P-1953, developed under the guidance of Sergei Korolev, and the construction of the Baikonur cosmodrome began. But the start of the "seven" was in jeopardy due to the lack of powerful filling means.

Vladimir Barmin, chief designer of ground-based launching equipment, hastily searched for developers. By the middle of 1954, there was one candidate left - Uralvagonzavod, which was already burdened with a state order for serial production of tanks, freight cars and the same cryogenic tanks. 27 August 1954, Barmin and Korolev approved the terms of reference for the development and manufacture of means for filling the P-7 rocket with liquid oxygen and nitrogen, after which they appealed to the USSR government to create a special design bureau for cryogenic equipment and ground launch equipment at the UVZ. OKB-250 was organized on 1 in October on 1954 of the year, and Methodius Nikolayevich Veremev was appointed its chief designer.

What will be the tankers of liquid oxygen and nitrogen - stationary or transport? This issue was acute before the start of design. In the first variant, the technology of filling the rocket was simplified, but the protection of the storage facility from the shock wave required a large amount of construction work. Mobile tankers increased the time to prepare for the filling of the P-7, but were quickly evacuated after starting with remnants of cryogenic liquids. Veremiev’s proposal was both original and practical. To accept the second option, but to design the refueling complex at the launch site, taking into account its possible reconstruction under stationary storage facilities for liquid oxygen and nitrogen, which was done later.

According to the memoirs of veterans, "the work was hellish" and ... very interesting. The new project was significantly superior to the previous one. Boldly using the basic design solutions of the 8Г52 tank as a base, by the spring of 1957, the cryogenics specialists prepared a whole set of vehicles: the 8Г117 railway tanker for filling the Р-7 tanks with liquid oxygen; refueller 8Г118 (designed to continuously feed the missile tanks until launch, to compensate for losses due to evaporation of liquid oxygen). The special unit 8Г128 was created for refueling the "seven" with liquid nitrogen, which was used as a gas for pressurizing the missile tanks.

Chief in cold

Methodius Nikolaevich Veremyev - Lenin Prize winner, holder of the Orders of Lenin, the October Revolution and the Red Banner of Labor. Photo courtesy of OAO NPK Uralvagonzavod


But it turned out that tagilchan ahead was waiting for another test. The long-awaited start of the Seven became an emergency one; they tried to blame Urolvagonzavod mobile refueling facilities for failure. Verem'ev convincingly denied all the charges and gave a guarantee for the successful operation of mobile fueling facilities during subsequent rocket launches. After the triumphant launch of the P-7 rocket, which delivered the first artificial Earth satellite PS-1 to orbit, there was not a shadow of doubt about the professionalism of the OKB-250 team. Sergei Korolev personally entered the name of Verem'ev in the list of candidates for the award of the most prestigious award of the USSR - the Lenin Prize. After the first manned flight into space, Methodius Nikolayevich was awarded the Order of Lenin. Thus, the country's leadership appreciated the contribution of the chief designer, the OKB-250 team and Uralvagonzavod to the exploration of outer space.

Mobile refueling vehicles produced by UVZ ensured the successful launch of the Vostok-1 launch vehicle, which marked the beginning of the manned cosmonautics, and the subsequent launches of the Vostok and Voskhod series ships. Since 1959, the specialists of OKB-250 have started to conquer the vacuum closely. Veremeyev insisted on preliminary studies that proved that the creation of railway tanks with vacuum-powder insulation is the simplest and most rational way to solve the problem of evaporation of the contents of cryogenic vessels during the journey to the cosmodrome. The first domestic powder-vacuum-insulated tanks (8Г512 and 8Г513) were developed in 1960 and ensured delivery of cryogenic liquids to spacedromes with almost no loss from evaporation. First time in stories domestic industry was provided with vacuum tightness of vessels of large volumes, and a group of specialists OKB-250 received the first copyright certificate for the invention for the device tank 8-X513. It has become the basic design for the new generation of modern cryogenic tanks.


At the beginning of the 1960-s, the development of an effective basic design for the Soyuz launch vehicle began, which was improved over the 1970 – 1980-s. The result was the creation of an exceptionally reliable rocket-space system - the basis of the space programs of manned flights of the USSR. The appearance of the “Union” required the reconstruction of the system of storage and refueling of liquid oxygen and nitrogen at the Baikonur cosmodrome. Methodius Veremeyev had to enter into polemics with military mission specialists, who offered to make analogues of the refueling machines 8Г117 and refuellers 8Г118 used in the launches of Vostokov and Voskhodov, only replacing the insulation with a modern vacuum one. However, the chief designer of OKB-250 was able to justify the effectiveness of creating a stationary system instead of refueling vehicles. Construction and installation work was carried out between missile launches and did not affect their schedule. The first stationary 11-XXNX system was created in 722 – 1964. It provided long-term storage of liquid gases and did not require complex preparatory work for its operation. In a modernized form, the 1966-X11 system is currently used.

In 1965, the Tagil cryogenics became participants in the program to create a new type of launch vehicle with high energy and operational characteristics - “Proton”. The novelty had a higher payload than the Soyuz, due to the installation of the fourth stage - the upper stage D. The main component of the fuel for it was kerosene and supercooled liquid oxygen, which had a higher density than ordinary liquid oxygen. When creating a system of supercooling of cryogenic liquid and filling the upper stage D, it was necessary to solve a number of technical problems, the main of which was to maintain the desired temperature (to - 195 ± C) while at the start when the tank that did not have heat insulation was heated. At Veremieva’s suggestion, subcooling of liquid oxygen before being fed into the upper stage was achieved by pumping it through a heat exchanger in liquid nitrogen. Initially, the main line of refueling of the D-block was cooled down, then - the filling of tanks, in which the required temperature was maintained until the launch of the carrier rocket. The cryogenic system 11Г725 included storage units, supercooling of liquid oxygen and refueling of the upper stage of the Proton missile. It was commissioned in 1966 – 1967 years, and the method of supercooling and refueling of rocket fuel was used to create other rocket complexes.


The potential of the OKB-250 and the cryogenic production facility of Uralvagonzavod was also involved in the new state program for flying over the moon and landing an astronaut H1-LZ on it. From 1966, the Tagil people worked on the creation of a complex of means for delivering, storing and filling with liquid oxygen and hydrogen of special purity of the lunar orbital complex (LOK) of the PH “Н1-ЛЗ”.

In the 1968 – 1969 years, Baikonur was the first to successfully test equipment for the storage and refueling of liquid hydrogen - the most efficient, but extremely explosive rocket fuel. But its transportation to the cosmodrome required the creation of a special railway tank, the development of which was also undertaken by the OKB-250 team. This task was far more complex than the previous ones: the temperature of hydrogen was only 20 degrees higher than absolute zero, which required superinsulation with a deeper vacuum. The work started in the same 1966 year ended with the creation of the railway cistern EEC-100. It was carried out the perfect principle of isolation - screen-powder-vacuum. The ZhVTs-100 tank, the serial production of which began in 1969, was a new stage in the world cryogenic technology. Its upgraded versions - ZHTS-100M and ZHTS-100М2 were used in other space projects.

Methodius Nikolayevich Veremiev and his team considered their participation in the Energia-Buran program of the rocket-space system to be the most intense. Although the volume of design and production prescribed by the government for the Ural engineering design bureau (as OKN-1980 was used since 250) and Uralvagonzavod was deliberately excessive at the indicated time, Veremiev accepted the new order with enthusiasm. Since 1976, both designers and employees of many UVZ workshops have been provided, without exaggeration, with unique work. They created the equipment for nitrogen supply of the universal stand-start complex and the launch vehicle launch complex, the storage and refueling systems with liquid hydrogen and oxygen of the Buran ship.


According to the memoirs of veterans of the design bureau, when working on a project it was often “created a supercritical situation”. To find a solution to the problem, it was necessary to have a special Veremyevsky character.

“This is an energetic, breakdown person who directly participated in all undertakings, contributed to each project, and was able to raise and mobilize the team. He remained militant even in difficult periods of exacerbation of relations with directors, found support in the ministry and in such luminaries as Korolev, Barmin, Glushko, etc. Veremiev was able to actively attack and zealously defend himself even in very unequal battles, he became fierce and uncompromising . But he could not congratulate his team at the solemn gathering, his lips were trembling and his eyes were covered with tears ... ”- his deputy Arkady Petrovich Sats recalled. Unfortunately, at the time of the triumphal launch of the Energia-Buran RCS, which took place on November 15 1988, Methodius Nikolaevich had already left KB and Uralvagonzavod, having retired in the year 1986.

In general, the low-temperature equipment created under the leadership of Verem'ev turned out to be in demand in all the space programs of the Soviet Union, and cryogenic tanks and starting refueling complexes became traditional Tagil products. In addition, there was a mass of orders that went beyond the framework of space programs. The team of the design bureau participated in the creation of a nuclear “shield” of the country, developing a refueling system and a launcher for the P-9 combat missile, an energy system for especially powerful gas-dynamic lasers and, of course, various cryogenic products for the national economy.

The extensive experience accumulated by Methodius Nikolayevich was summarized in his thesis “Development of Equipment Design and Technology for the Transportation, Storage and Use of Cryogenic Products Used in Rocket and Space Technology”. Her successful defense was 30 on November 1979 of the year.

The design bureau, led by Veremiev, and cryogenic production, popularly known as the “Little Land of the Wall”, became the center of scientific and technical thought, a school for training highly qualified personnel. The accumulated potential became the basis for participation in the domestic space programs of the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century by OJSC Uralkriomash - the heir to the Veremievsky design bureau. And how could it be otherwise, if the vital principle of the chief designer Methodius Veremiev were the words: “Eh, it's good when there is work!”.

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. fyvaprold
    fyvaprold 5 July 2014 08: 30
    Great article. Thanks to the author. With respect.
  2. Free wind
    Free wind 5 July 2014 17: 12
    Good article. and there is a reason to rummage around on the Internet. And then I did not know that the oxidizing agent is ordinary liquid oxygen. I remember as a child a brave rocket launcher telling us how they fueled rockets with an oxidizing agent, terribly poisonous. It will be necessary to learn.
    1. igordok
      igordok 5 July 2014 18: 54
      From the wiki, a list of oxidizing agents.
      Oxidizing agents for liquid fuels
      Oxygen fluoride
      Inorganic Nitrogen Fluorides
      Halogen fluorides
      Perchloryl fluoride
      Nitrogen oxides
      Nitric Acid Oxidizers
      Peroxides, superperoxides and ozonides
      Inorganic nitrates
      organic nitro compounds and nitric acid esters (alkyl nitrates)
      Perchloric acid
      Non-metal perchlorates
      Diazot tetraoxide

      Almost everything is terribly poisonous. Liquid oxygen is not toxic, but it freezes everything.
  3. Free wind
    Free wind 5 July 2014 19: 20
    Liquid oxygen is a very beautiful liquid. blue as sky. It is interesting to freeze frogs in it. Become like glass. after freezing, almost transparent. very carefully put on the floor, they gradually go away, darken, turn green and again jump and croak. but frozen are very fragile. fly to pieces.