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Rokot (Russian: Рокот meaning Rumble or Boom), also transliterated Rockot, is a Russian space launch vehicle that can launch a payload of 1,950 kilograms into a 200 kilometre Earth orbit with 63° inclination. It is a derivative of the UR-100N (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), supplied and operated by Eurockot Launch Services. The first launches started in the 1990s from Baikonur Cosmodrome out of a silo. Later commercial launches commenced from Plesetsk Cosmodrome using a launch ramp specially rebuilt from one for the Kosmos-3M rocket. The cost of the launcher itself was about 15 million in 1999;[8][9] The Eurockot contract with ESA for launching Swarm in September 2013 was worth €27.1 million ($36 million).[10]

Rockot (Rokot)
Rokot Rocket.jpg
FunctionOrbital carrier rocket
ManufacturerEurockot Launch Services
Country of originSoviet Union
Cost per launchUS$41.8 million[1]
Height29 metres (95 ft)
Diameter2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in)
Mass107,000 kilograms (236,000 lb)
Payload to LEO1,950 kilograms (4,300 lb)
Payload to SSO1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb)
Launch history
Launch sitesBaikonur 175/1 (inactive)
Plesetsk 133/3
Total launches32
Partial failures1
First flight20 November 1990
26 December 1994 (orbital)
First stage
Diameter2.5 m (8.2 ft)[1]
Engines3 RD-0233 (15D95)
1 RD-0234(15D96)[2][3]
Thrust2,080 kN (470,000 lbf)[4][5]
Specific impulse310s[4]
Burn time120 seconds
Second stage
Diameter2.5 m (8.2 ft)[1]
Engines1 RD-0235 (15D113)
1 RD-0236 (15D114)[2][3]
Thrust255.76 kN (57,500 lbf)[6][7]
Specific impulse310s[6]
Burn time180 seconds
Third stage – Briz-KM
Engines1 S5.98M
Thrust19.6 kilonewtons (4,400 lbf)
Specific impulse325 sec
Burn time3,000 seconds



Rokot's total mass is 107 tonnes, its length 29 metres and its maximum diameter 2.5 metres. The liquid-fueled rocket comprises three stages. The lower two are based on the Soviet UR-100N ICBM; the first stage uses an RD-0244 engine, while the second stage uses an RD-0235. The third stage is a Briz-KM (Russian: Бриз-КМ meaning Breeze-KM), which has a mass of about 6 tonnes when fuelled, and is capable of flying for 7 hours and reigniting its engine six times during flight, allowing different satellites to be placed into different orbits. All stages use UDMH (unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine) as fuel and dinitrogen tetroxide as oxidiser. The Strela is a similar rocket, also based on the SS-19.[8]


The first suborbital test launch succeeded on 20 November 1990 in Baikonur Cosmodrome. On 26 December 1994 Rokot brought its first satellite into Earth orbit. In 1995, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center formed a company with German DaimlerBenz Aerospace to market Rokot launches for commercial use. Later, the company was renamed to Eurockot Launch Services. Eurockot bought 45 Rokots from the Russian strategic missile forces to build its inventory. In 2000, Eurokot was partly bought by the German company Astrium GmbH, a shareholder of Arianespace. Astrium now holds 51% of Eurockot's shares, while Khrunichev holds 49%.[8]

Although there are several silos in Baikonour capable of launching Rokots, it was decided to build an open, non-siloed launch pad at Plesetsk Cosmodrome instead. This is because of concerns that the amount of noise generated during a silo-based launch would damage satellites. In the new pad, Rokot is wheeled up to the structure in a vertical position, and then embraced by its launch tower. The payload is lifted by a crane and placed on top of the bottom two stages. The procedure is in contrast to other Russian launchers, which had traditionally been assembled horizontally and then transferred to the launch site via railways. The first launch from Plesetsk took place on 16 May 2000.[8]

After six entirely successful launches, a launch failure occurred on 8 October 2005, leading to the loss of the European Space Agency's CryoSat spacecraft. The launch vehicle 2nd stage main engine was not shut down properly, resulting in a catastrophic failure and automatic termination of the launch mission by the on-board computer. The payload was lost. After the failed CryoSat launch, all Rokot launches were suspended until the failure was identified. The root cause was unambiguously identified; it was a failure in programming of the Briz-KM (which was contracted to the company JSC "Khartron"). The failure of this high-profile mission led to major reforms in Khrunichev: the director of the company Alexander Medvedev was dismissed, new launch procedures were introduced, the lines of management were straightened out to catch errors and the new Khrunichev chief, Viktor Nesterov, was required to report directly to the head of the Russian Space Agency, Anatoli Perminov.[8] Corrective measures for Rokot's return-to-flight were implemented for the South Korean Kompsat-2 earth observation satellite launch which took place successfully on 28 July 2006. The Korean side reportedly praised the level of service they received, encouraging the Rokot team to rebuild its order book.[8]

Another launch failure occurred in February 2011, when a Briz-KM malfunction[11] resulted in the Geo-IK-2 No.11 satellite being placed into a lower orbit than planned.

The Rokot version with a Ukrainian control system will stop flying after 2019, due to Ukraine's ban on technology exports to Russia.[12] A full Russian-made Rokot-2 light carrier rocket may begin again in 2021. The launch is expected to generate a revenue of 8 billion rubles ($120 million), if the decision to resume the project is made within 2018.[13]

Launch historyEdit

Flight № Date / time (UTC) Rocket,
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
1 20 November 1990
Rokot/Briz-K Ba LC131 Experimental Payload Success
Suborbital test flight
2 20 December 1991
Rokot/Briz-K Ba LC175/1 Experimental Payload Success
Suborbital test flight
3 26 December 1994
Rokot/Briz-K Ba LC175/1 Radio-ROSTO Success
First orbital mission. Amateur radio satellite
N/A 22 December 1999 Rokot/Briz-K Pl LC133 RSVN-40 Precluded
(failure pre-flight)
No launch; rocket irreparably damaged during preparation. Experimental payload
4 16 May 2000
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 SimSat-1 and 2 Success
5 17 March 2002
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 GRACE-1 and 2 Success
Research satellite
6 20 June 2002
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Iridium-97 and 98 Success
Communication satellites
7 30 June 2003
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 MIMOSA
AAU CubeSat
Cubesat XI-IV
Monitor-E mockup
NLS satellites and Monitor-E-Mockup
8 30 October 2003
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 SERVIS-1 Success
Japanese test satellite
9 26 August 2005
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Monitor-E1 Success
Earth observation satellite
10 8 October 2005
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 CryoSat Failure
Earth observation satellite. Launch terminated after 2nd stage main engine was not shut down correctly, resulting in an explosion, causing the vehicle to exceed its flight envelope limit and thereby causing the automatic termination of the launch and the re-entry of the combined Rokot 2nd stage/3rd stage/CryoSat spacecraft stack
11 28 July 2006
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 KOMPSAT 2 Success
Earth observation satellite
12 23 May 2008
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2437
Kosmos 2438
Kosmos 2439
(3X Strela-3)
Communications and amateur radio satellites
13 17 March 2009
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 GOCE[15] Success
ESA Earth observation satellite
14 6 July 2009
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2451
Kosmos 2452
Kosmos 2453
(3X Strela-3)
Communications satellites
15 2 November 2009
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 SMOS
SMOS: ESA Earth-observation satellite; PROBA-2: Sun-observation satellite testing a new spacecraft platform
16 2 June 2010
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 SERVIS-2 Success
Japanese test satellite
17 8 September 2010
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Gonets-M-2
Kosmos 2467
Kosmos 2468
(2X Strela-3)
Communications satellites
18 1 February 2011
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Geo-IK-2 No.11 Failure
Geodesy satellite. Upper stage malfunction,[11] reached lower orbit than planned.
19 28 July 2012
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Gonets-M-3
Kosmos 2481 (Strela-3)
Communications and amateur radio satellites
20 15 January 2013
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2482
Kosmos 2483
Kosmos 2484
(3X Strela-3M)
Partial failure
Communications satellites. Briz-KM failed around the time of spacecraft separation, resulting in the loss of one satellite
21 11 September 2013
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Gonets-M-5
Communications satellites
22 22 November 2013
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Swarm A/B/C Success
Magnetosphere research satellites; Briz-km failed deorbit burn
23 25 December 2013
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2488
Kosmos 2489
Kosmos 2490
(3X Strela-3M)
Communications satellites
24 23 May 2014
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2496
Kosmos 2497
Kosmos 2498
(3X Strela-3M)
Communications satellites
25 3 July 2014
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Gonets-M-8
Communications satellites
26 31 March 2015
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Gonets-M-11
Communications satellites
27 23 September 2015
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2507
Kosmos 2508
Kosmos 2509
(3X Strela-3M)[17]
Communications satellites
28 16 February 2016
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Sentinel-3A[18] Success
ESA earth observation satellite
29 4 June 2016
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2517 (Geo-IK-2 No.12) Success[19]
Geodesy satellite
30 13 October 2017
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Sentinel-5 Precursor Success[20]
Earth observation satellite
31 25 April 2018
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Sentinel-3B Success[21]
Earth observation satellite
32 30 November 2018
Rokot/Briz-KM Pl LC133 Kosmos 2530
Kosmos 2531
Kosmos 2532
(3X Strela-3M)
Communications satellites. After launch, NORAD tracked another object (besides the Briz-KM upper stage) which could possibly be a fourth satellite.[23]

Planned launchesEdit

Date (UTC) Type Launch site Payload Payload type Notes
Q2 2019[24] Rokot / Briz-KM Plesetsk Site 133/3 3X Gonets-M, Radio-2017, 2X BLITS-M Communications satellites, amateur radio satellite and geodesy satellites
2019[24] Rokot / Briz-KM Plesetsk Site 133/3 Geo-IK-2 No. 3 (Musson 2) Earth observation satellite
2019[24] Rokot / Briz-KM Plesetsk Site 133/3 3X Strela-3M Communications satellites

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Zak, Anatoly. "UR-100N Family". Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  2. ^ a b "RD-0233, RD-0234, RD-0235, RD-0236, RD-0237. Intercontinental ballistic missiles RS-18". KBKhA. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  3. ^ a b "Rockot Launch Vehicle". Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  4. ^ a b "RD-0233". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2015-08-24. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  5. ^ "RD-0234". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2015-08-24. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  6. ^ a b "RD-0235". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2015-08-24. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  7. ^ "RD-0236". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Harvey, Brian (2007). "Launchers and engines". The Rebirth of the Russian Space Program (1st ed.). Germany: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-71354-0.
  9. ^ "Rokot". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  10. ^ Stephen Clark (12 September 2013). "Rockot launch clears way for long-delayed ESA mission". Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  11. ^ a b Военный спутник, запущенный на "Рокоте", скорее всего, утрачен (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 1 February 2011. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  12. ^ "Последний запуск ракет "Рокот" с украинской системой управления состоится до 2020 года" [Last Rokot launcher with Ukrainian control system will fly before 2020] (in Russian). Interfax. August 23, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  13. ^ Sputnik. "Launches of Russian Rokot-2 Rocket May Begin Again in 2021". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  14. ^ "Russia launches relay craft, commemorative satellite". Spaceflight Now.
  15. ^ "ESA launches Earth Explorer mission GOCE". ESA. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  16. ^ Eurockot Launch Service Provider Archived 2009-01-26 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Russia's Rokot launches with three Rodnik satellites". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Third Sentinel satellite launched for Copernicus". ESA. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  19. ^ Graham, William; Bergin, Chris (4 June 2016). "Russian Rokot launches Geo-IK-2 – annoys environmentalists".
  20. ^ Sentinel-5p launches on Russia’s Rokot launch system
  21. ^ Sentinel-5p launches on Russia’s Rokot launch system
  22. ^ ["Rockot launches Russian military satellites – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 2018-12-02.]
  23. ^ "Russian military launches a fresh satellite cluster". Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  24. ^ a b c "Rokot-KM (Rockot-KM)". Retrieved 2018-12-02.

External linksEdit