Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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60 Years. TsAGI — to the Universe: Research of Proton-M Rocket Head Model

18 February 2021

TsAGI, (part of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”, NRC) is the scientific center which laid the cornerstone of aerospace research. The legendary USSR space vehicles — Vostok-1 and Buran orbiter — were studied by the Institute specialists. In the new millennium, they continue their research devoted to space exploration.

In January 2014 the Institute specialists completed the first milestone in aerodynamics research for a new Proton-M carrier rocket nose cone which would deliver a Science Power Module (SPM) to the International Space Station (ISS). The tests were conducted in T-109 supersonic wind tunnel; Energia was the commissioner. The SPM is used for research experiments; it provides the Russian Orbital Segment with electricity, and gives ISS additional control tools.

Within the project, TsAGI’s primary goal was to analyze aerodynamics within a wide velocity range. The model tested by TsAGI was scaled 1:20. The first part of the research program started in December, 2013, and was completed in January, 2014.

“The tests revealed the forces and moments affecting the rocket space nose cone. Furthermore, the scientists obtained pressure distribution values in the corresponding model points, and tested pressure oscillation, i.e. parameters of aerodynamic lag. The information was obtained for a wide Mach range, from M=0.6 to M=3.3. It became the basis for aerodynamics databank of the new Proton-M carrier rocket nose cone”, commented Sergey Drozdov, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Head of Division for High-Speed Aircraft Aerothermodynamics.

The works to create a Science Power Module for ISS started in December, 2012, and the launch is planned for 2024.

ISS is a joint international project with 14 participating countries—the Russian Federation, the USA, Japan, Canada, including European Space Agency Members—Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Switzerland and Sweden.

ISS in-orbit assembly started in 1998, with the space launch of ‘Zarya’, the Russian functional cargo module. The same year ‘Zarya’ was joined by the US node ‘Unity’ and in 2000, the Russian service module ‘Zvezda’. In 2000, ISS started to operate in a manned mode. More than 80 cargo spacecraft have been launched to supply the station with the Russian spaceship ‘Progress’ used most frequently.

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