Kosmos 2558 | Soyuz 2.1v/Volga

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Featured image credit: ROSCOSMOS
Lift Off Time

August 01, 2022 – 20:25:48 UTC | 23:25:48 MSK

Mission Name

Kosmos 2558, a military satellite

Launch Provider
(What rocket company launched it?)

ROSCOSMOS

Customer
(Who paid for this?)

Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Rocket

Soyuz 2.1v

Launch Location

Site 43, Pad 4, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia

Payload mass

Unknown

Where did the satellite go?

Sun-Synchronous orbit (SSO), at a 97.4° inclination

Did they attempt to recover the first stage?

No, this is not a capability of Soyuz

Where did the first stage land?

It crashed in the waters of the Barents Sea, north of Murmansk

Did they attempt to recover the fairings?

No, this is not a capability of Soyuz

Were these fairings new?

Yes

This was the:

1st launch of Soyuz 2.1v of 2022
– 7th launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in 2022
8th launch of Soyuz 2.1v
– 92nd orbital launch attempt of 2022 (89th successful)

Where to re-watch

Unfortunately, there was no livestream of this launch

How Did It Go?

The Russian Federal Space Agency successfully launched a military satellite on a Soyuz 2.1v launch vehicle into a Sun-synchronous orbit, at a 97° inclination. The rocket lifted off on August 1, 2022, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, in Russia. The satellite was assigned the serial number “Kosmos 2558”. This mission marked the first launch of the Soyuz 2.1v rocket of this year.

Kosmos 2558 Mission

Due to the classified nature of this mission, nothing is known about the characteristics of the Kosmos 2558 satellite. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Volga upper stage and its payload separated from the second stage at 23:34 MSK.

The Soyuz 2.1v has already been used eight times to carry military satellites into space; seven of them were successful. Its maiden flight took place on December 28, 2013.

What Is Soyuz 2.1v?

ROSCOSMOS’s Soyuz is a multi-use medium-lift launch vehicle that was introduced in far 1966 and since then has been the workhorse of the Soviet/Russian space program. It is capable of launching civilian and military satellites, as well as cargo and crewed missions to the ISS. Over the decades, several variants of the Soyuz rocket have been developed. Soyuz 2.1v is one of its latest iterations that belongs to the Soyuz-2 rocket family and is based on the Soyuz 2.1b.

However, the Soyuz 2.1v drastically differs from other family members, the Soyuz 2.1a and Soyuz 2.1b. Unlike them, the Soyuz 2.1v is a small-lift launch vehicle that lacks the four strap-on boosters. Consequently, this rocket does not feature the “Korolev cross”, a pattern that happens when the four side boosters separate from the core stage.

The Soyuz 2.1v rocket on the launch pad. (Credit: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation)

The rocket consists of two stages, both of which are expendable. Moreover, it can feature the Volga upper stage. Soyuz 2.1v is about 44 meters (144 ft) in height and 3 meters (9 ft) in diameter. The vehicle’s total lift-off mass is approximately 160,000 kg (365,967 lb). The rocket’s payload lift capacity to low-Earth orbit (LEO) is between 2,800 and 3,300 kg depending on the launch site. Further, its payload lift capacity to SSO is between 1,200 and 1,400 kg.

Stages

First StageSecond StageEngine 1 NK-33A + 1 RD-0110R1 RD-0124Total Thrust 1,535 kN (345,082 lbf),
sea level
1,714 kN (385,323 lbf),
vacuum294 kN (66,094 lbf),
vacuumSpecific Impulse (ISP)297 s, NK-33A, sea level
261 s, RD-0110R, sea level359 s, vacuum

First Stage

The first stage of the Soyuz 2.1v rocket is powered by a single-chamber NK-33 engine and a steering RD-0110R engine. They are capable of producing a thrust of 1,535 kN at sea level and 1,714 kN in a vacuum. Originally, the NK-33 engine was designed and built for the N-1 rocket for the Soviet lunar program, by the Kuznetsov Design Bureau. It runs on kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOx) and works in the staged combustion cycle. 

Second Stage

The second stage of the Soyuz 2.1v is identical to the third stage of the Soyuz 2.1b. It is powered by a single RD-0124 engine that runs on kerosene and LOx and has four combustion chambers. This engine produces a thrust of 294 kN in a vacuum, with an ISP of 359 s.

One interesting thing about the RD-0124 engine on this stage is that it starts its ignition sequence prior to stage separation. This process is called “hot fire staging” and is possible thanks to the open interstage that has a lattice structure.

RD-0124 motor at Salon-du-Bourget 2013. (Credit: Pline)

Volga Upper Stage

On this mission, an upper stage was also used.

The development of the Volga upper stage began in 2008 because the existing stages that time were not optimal for placing payloads to the circular orbits higher than 250-300 km. It was developed by TsSKB Progress and flew on the Soyuz 2.1v launch vehicle in 2013 for the first time. Apart from the Soyuz 2.1v, this upper stage can be paired with Soyuz 2.1a.

The Volga upper stage. (Credit: TsSKB Progress)

The stage has a diameter of 2.7 m and a height of 1 m, the dry mass is 840 kg. It features one 17D64 engine that uses UDMH and NTO as propellants. The engine is capable of producing 2.94 kN of thrust in a vacuum, with a specific impulse of 307 s. The Volga’s payload lift capacity to SSO (835 km, 98.7° inclination) is around 1,400 kg.

Height1 m (39 in)Diameter2.7 m (107 in)Dry mass840 kgPropellant(s)UDMH, NTOEngine(s)1x 17D64Thrust2.94 kN (660 lbf)Specific Impulse (ISP)307 sBurn Time600 s

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