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Research & Industrial Corporation

NPO Molniya, 6 Novoposelkovaya Street, Moscow 123459, Russia
Tel: +7 095 497 5930; Fax:+ 7 095 497 4723
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Multipurpose Aerospace System (MAKS)

MAKS multipurpose aerospace system has a number of fundamental advantages. In the first place it is a capability of putting payloads into any inclination orbits, high operation efficiency and low operational cost and absence of necessity to alienate areas under fields of fall of construction components.

Unlike the rocket systems tied to few space vehicle launching sites and limited in orbit choice, MAKS may be used for emergency rescue of space object crews or for urgent aerial reconnaissance of regions of technogene and natural extraordinary situations.
NPO MOLNIYA began to realize the MAKS project in the 1980s before the BURAN orbiter first flight using the experience and results of work on the SPIRAL project, the BOR experimental flight vehicles and the BURAN. Up to date the main components of the orbital stage construction have been worked up, external fuel tank mock-up has been made, significant work has been already done on the propulsion system MAKS-OS
MAKS consists of the subsonic carrier aircraft and an orbital stage with an external fuel tank mounted on it As the first stage the An-225 MRIA aircraft originally intended for the BURAN transportation is used.

The second stage of the system has three modifications: MAKS-OS, MAKS-T and MAKS-M. The MAKS-OS second stage consists of a reusable orbital vehicle and an expendable fuel tank. The main propulsion engine includes two RD- 701 engines using three-component fuel (liquid hydrogen, kerosene, and liquid oxygen). The base manned variant of the MAKS-OS vehicle has a two-seat crew cabin.

The MAKS versions for transport-technical provision are developed. TTO- 1 version is equipped with a docking module and the second four-seat pressurized cabin. TTO-2 version is intended for delivery in an unpressurized equipment compart-ment mounted on the external side of orbital stations.

The MAKS-T modification with the expendable unmanned second stage is intended to put into orbit heavy (up to 18 tons) payloads. It uses the same external fuel tank, as in MAKS-OS, where the propulsion engine with payload closed by fairing is installed instead of the orbital vehicle.
The MAKS-M second stage is the reusable unmanned orbital vehicle. The MAKS-M fuel tanks are included in the vehicle construction.

MAKS-M - the development of which is connected with solving complex technological problems is regarded as possible further direction of MAKS concept when the first two modifications were fully developed.

As fast as MAKS-OS, -T and -M are created they should be incorporated into the joint operation on the basis of a common carrier aircraft and the ground infrastructure. Reusability of their components and the high degree of orbital stage unification provide achievement of the main aim for developers drastic reduction of the transport space operation cost compared with the existing systems.

For decrease of technical risk of the full-scale MAKS creation and regular time distribution of financial expenditures the production of a comparatively inexpensive experimental technology demonstrator system was considered necessary.

Researches on the first demonstrator version (RADEM) were carried out by NPO MOLNIYA together with British Aerospace, ANTK Antonov and TCAGI under sponsorship of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1993-94.


The up-to-date version of the MAKS-D demonstrator was also developed using what was already done on the RADEM and on the basis of the MAKS-OS construction and aerodynamic configuration. The experimental vehicle takeoff weight - 62,3 tons, landing weight - 12,8 tons. Unlike RADEM, the MAKS-D suborbital vehicle propulsion engine consists of only one oxygen-kerosene engine that not only simplifies the project, but also increases the demonstrator power capability at the given tank volumes. Wide unification of MAKS-D and MAKS-OS vehicles onboard systems is stipulated.

The accepted MAKS-D concept stipulates a possibility to use it for putting into orbit of small payloads. For this purpose the system is supplemented by a rocket stage. With the aid of the demonstrator the technologies and components of the MAKS launch system will be worked up and the carrier prestart manoeuvre, stages separation, an initial phase of launch and the orbital stage automatic landing will be researched in real conditions. Besides it may be used as a flying laboratory for advanced air-breathing engine tests.

Reusable aerospace systems are developed now in many countries, however, in opinion of a number of foreign experts Russia has advanced on this way farther than its competitors. The possession of such system as MAKS would help Russia to take firm position in the space service market at the beginning of the new century.

Main characteristics of the MAKS modifications

Modifications MAKS-OS MAKS-T MAKS-M
Take-off mass,tons 620 620 620
Second stage mass, tons 275 275 275
Orbital vehicle mass, tons 27 - -
Orbital vehicle crew 2 - -

Payload compartment dimensions:

length, m
6.8 (8.7) 13 7
diameter, m 2.6 (3.0) 5 4.6

Mass of payload (tons) put into orbit H=200 km with inclination angle

I=51 degrees 8.3 (9.5) 18 5.5
I=0 degrees - 19.5 7.0
Geostationary orbit - up to 5 -

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