Projects of combat space complexes

[Excerpt from "Rocket-Cosmonautics Corporation Energia named after S.P. Korolev 1946-1996," pages 419-420]

[translated by Maxim Taraskenko]

In late 1960s- early 1970s the United States began works on studying of feasibility of using the outer space for performing combat activities in space and from space. The Government of the USSR by a set of Decrees (first one issued in 1976) assigned domestic activities in this field to a group of organizations-developers led by Energia NPO.

During 1970s - 1980s the complex of research was performed to determine possible ways of creation of space means, capable of solving tasks of striking spacecraft of military destination, ballistic missiles in flight, as well as particularly important airborne, sea-borne and ground-based targets. The task was set so as to achieve necessary performances of the abovementioned means using available by that time scientific and technological backlog with a perspective of development of that means under limitation of production capacities and financing. [In other words, to do what is required with available technology and within available production capability and financial resources - MT]

Two combat spacecraft for striking of military objects were developed, using the same basic design, but equipped with different types of on-board weapons complexes - laser and missile [weapons]. The universal service module, developed on the basis of the structure, service systems and aggregates of the orbital station of the DOS-7K series was the basis for both spacecraft.

Unlike the station, the service module should have had significantly more spacious fuel tanks of the engine instalation for provision of maneuvering in orbit.

Insertion of the spacecraft in the orbit was presumed to occur in the cargo bay of the orbiter of the Buran reusable space system (Proton launch vehicle [would be used] at the experimental phase). Refuelling of tanks in orbit with [the help of] the equipment, also delivered to the spacecraft in the orbiter of Buran RSS was envisioned. For provision of long term of combat duty in orbit and maintaining of high readiness of the space complexes opportunity for visiting the objects with a crew (two persons up to 7 days) was envisioned.

Lower mass of on-board weapons complex with missiles compared to the complex with laser weapons allowed to have larger supply of fuel on the board of the spaceraft. Therefor it was considered reasonable to create a system with an orbiting constellation, consisting of combat spacecraft, one part of which is equipped with laser weapons, while another part - with missile weapons. In this case the first type should be used against low-orbiting objects, while the second - against objects, located in medium and geosynchronous orbits. [so it says, though I would expect quite the opposite! - MT]

For striking the particularly important ground-based targets the space station was developed, basis of which was represented by the station of the DOS-7K series. Autonomous modules with combat blocks of ballistic or gliding type should be based on it. Upon the special command the modules would separate from the station, by means of maneuvering they would take required position in space, with the [combat] blocks subsequently jetissoned upon command for combat application. The design and basic systems of autonomous modules were borrowed from the Buran orbiter. The spacecraft, based on experimental model of the Buran OV was considered as a variant of the combat block. [i.e. BOR scaled model - MT]

For striking of launched ballistic missiles and their warheads on the passive portion of the flight Energia NPO developed the project of the space-based interceptor-missile. That was the smallest, but with the greatest thrust-to- weight ratio, missile for Energia NPO. It is enough to say, that with the start mass, measured in just tens of kilograms, the interceptor-missile possessed the delta-V, comparable to the delta-V of the rockets, inserting modern payloads into Earth orbit.

High performances were achieved due to application of technical solution, based on most recent achievments of the domestic science and technology in the area of instument miniaturisation. The unique engine installation, using non- traditional non-cryogenic propellants and superstrong composite materials was a pioneering development of Energia NPO.

In the beginning of 1990s due to changes of military and political environment works on combat space complexes in Energia NPO were canceled.

Works on combat complexes involved all thematic divisions of the Heading Design Bureau [of Energia NPO] and a wide network fo specialised organizations - developers of the military industrial complex of the country, as well as leading research organizations of the Ministry of Defense and the Academy of Science.

Combat spacecraft with laser weapons

Combat spacecraft with missile weapons

Combat spacecraft with missile weapons [detail]

Full-scale mock-up of the interceptor missile

Space station for striking ground-based targets