Space Launch Report:  Rokot/Strela
Home    On the Pad     Space Logs     Library    Links
rokot-cryo.jpg (9939 bytes)Rokot/Strela

Vehicle Configurations

Vehicle Components

Rokot/Strela Launch History

Rokot/Briz KM Stands Ready to Launch Cryosat in 2005. This Launch Suffered a Failure.

Rokot/Briz KM and Strela are small expendable space launch vehicles derived from Russia's UR-100NUTTKh (or UR-100NU) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).  While Strela is a slightly modified UR-100NU, Rokot uses a Briz KM upper stage in place of the missile's maneuvering warhead bus.


Rokot is marketed by Eurockot, which is a joint venture company founded by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) of Germany holding 51% and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Khrunichev) of Russia holding 49%.

The first Rokot/Briz KM succeeded in its Commercial Demonstration Flight premier on May 16, 2000. The three stage, liquid propelled rocket lifted off from LC 133, a former Kosmos 3M pad, at the Plesetsk Northern Cosmodrome, Russia (40.5 E, 62.6 N) at 08:28 UTC. About one hour later, the rocket deployed two 660 kg mass simulators, named Simsat 1 and 2, into circular 540 km orbits inclined 86.4 degrees to the equator.

Rokot's first two stages are based on the Krunichev SS-19 ICBM (UR-100NUTTKh).  SS-19 was housed and launched from a tube-type launch transport container that could be inserted into a silo. As a result, the Rokot/Briz KM launcher is also launched from a transport container, in this case mounted to an above-ground launch pad. Before launch, the two-stage Rokot is erected within its container on the pad. A mobile service tower then moves into place to allow installation of the third stage and payload.

Both Rokot stages burn storable, hypergolic N204/UDMH. Both stages used common tank bulkheads, with the N2O4 oxidizer tank above the UDMH fuel tank. The 17.2 meter long first stage is powered by three Khimavtomatiki RD-0233 cardan-gimballed, turbopump-fed engines and one similar RD-0234 that also generates propellant tank pressurization. Each produces 48,000 kgf sea level thrust for a total 191,837 kgf thrust at liftoff.

A single, fixed chamber, turbopump-fed Khimavtomatiki RD-0253 engine powers the 3.9 meter long second stage, providing 24,290 kgf thrust in vacuum. An RD-0236 vernier engine, consisting of a single turbopump feeding four gimbaled thrust chambers to provide a total of 1,608 kgf thrust, steers the stage. Staging is "hot", with vernier ignition preceding actual stage separation. Staging is effected by the firing of separation motors mounted on the first stage.

rokot-7-1-09.jpg (2611 bytes)Successful 2009 Rokot Launch

Rokot is topped by a Briz KM third stage, a payload adapter, and a payload fairing. Briz KM hangs within an extended interstage section atop the second stage. It is powered by a re-ignitable main engine that burns N2O4/UDMH to produce 2,000 kgf thrust in vacuum at a specific impulse of 325.5 seconds. The engine can burn for up to 1,000 seconds. The payload fairing is 2.6 meters in diameter and 3.6 meters long.

Rokot/Briz KM is 29 meters long and, except for the fairing, 2.5 meters in diameter. The launch mass is about 107,000 kg, of which 1,900 kg can be placed in low earth orbit (LEO).

In operation, Rokot's four first stage engines burn for about 120 seconds, pushing the vehicle to 3,138 m/sec at an altitude of 60 km. The second stage then burns for about 183 seconds to accelerate the vehicle to 5,660 m/sec at a height exceeding 250 km, still at suborbital velocity. The payload fairing jettisons during the second stage burn, about 186 seconds after liftoff.

Briz KM performs the first of its three burns immediately after second stage burnout to a velocity of 7,700 m/sec, putting itself into a transfer orbit, 200 x 550 km x 86.4 deg being one example. The vehicle then coasts until it reaches apogee about an hour into the flight. There, Briz KM performs a second burn to circularize the orbit. After deploying its payload, the stage performs a third, deorbit, burn to lower itself into a 180 x 550 km orbit from which it will more quickly reenter the earth's atmosphere.

Krunichev launched an inital Rokot version, Rokot/Briz K, on two successful suborbital missions in 1990 and 1991 and on one orbital mission in 1994. All flights were from an underground silo at Baikonur. The latter flight put an amateur radio satellite into a 1881 km x 2163 km x 64.8 orbit.

The company held a contract to launch several Iridium satellites and performed a successful dual satellite launch in 2002, but Iridium's bankruptcy stalled later plans. A series of European scientific satellite launches were performed during the 2000-2010 period, but as the years passed a growing percentage of Rokot launches carried Strela 3M type store-dump Russian government communication satelltes.  Launch rates were low, with only 12 launches during the launch vehicle's first decade.

streladraw.jpg (4304 bytes)Strela

Strela Drawing Showing SHS-2 Payload Fairing

During the 1990s, NPO Mashinostroenia, the company that developed the original UR-100 ICBM that was later upgraded by Krunichev to the UR-100N and UR-100NU variants, began marketing minimally modified UR-100NU missiles as orbital launch vehicles named "Strela" ("Arrow").  The missile's maneuvering warhead bus, named APB (Agregatno-Priborny Otsek), which was designed to carry up to six MIRV warheads, would be used as a small third stage in the orbital mission role. 

For Strela the bus was renamed Mechanism and Instrument Section, or MIS.  MIS includes an interial guidance and flight control system and a propulsion system.  It can provide small velocity changes once an initial orbit is achieved.  In this way it acts as a third stage. 

Special avionics were added and two types of payload fairings were offered.  The first was a standard warhead fairing named Space Head Section 1 (SHS-1).  The second was a longer, narrower fairing named SHS-2.  

Strela launches from underground missile silos at Baikonur Cosmodrome.  The first stage separates and the second stage ignites 126.1 seconds after launch at an altitude of about 70 km and a speed of more than 3,500 meters/second.  The fairing is jettisonned about 164 seconds after launch at an altitude above 114 km.  About 309 seconds after liftoff, the second stage burns out and separates.  The MIS and payload coasts in a low earth transfer orbit until it reaches first apogee, where it fires to lift the payload into a near-circular orbit.  A typical mission lasts less than 30 minutes.

All Strela stages burn storable UDMH/N2O4.  The vehicle weighs about 105 tonnes at liftoff, is up to 29.2 meters long with SHS-2, is 2.5 meters diameter, and can lift up to 1.5 tonnes to a 63 deg low earth orbit.  About 1.3 tonnes can be inserted into a 500 km x 62.8 deg LEO.

Strela flew a test flight on December 5, 2003 from a silo at Baikonur Cosmodrome.  The rocket successfully lofted its payload into a 404 x 465 km x 67 deg orbit.   Years passed before a second flight, due in part to refusal by Kazakstan to approve drop zones for the toxic hypergolic first stage in the wake of a series of troublesome Proton and Dnepr failures from Baikonur.  Finally, on June 27, 2013, a second Strela launched a Kondor radar imaging satellite into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 175 Silo 59.  Kondor, a 1.15 tonne satellite, was inserted into a 454 x 545 km x 74.9 orbit.


Vehicle Configurations

(metric tons)
200 km x 63 deg (1)
500 km x 63 deg (2)
200 km
Sun Synchronous
Earth Orbit
(metric tons)
Configuration LIftoff
(metric tons)
Rokot/Briz KM 1.95 t  1.3 t
2 stage UR-100NU ICBM
+ Briz KM 3rd stage
29 m 107 t
Strela 1.50 t (1)
1.30 t (2)
  2 stage UR-100NU ICBM
+ MIS + SHS 1/2
29.2 m (SHS-2) 105 t

Vehicle Components

  Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Briz KM
Strela Stage 3
Strela SHS-1/2
Diameter (m) 2.5 m 2.5 m 2.5 m 2.5 m 2.6 m 2.2/1.55 m
Length (m) 17.2 m 3.9 m 1.3 m ~1.2 m 3.6 m 3.0/5.4 m
Empty Mass
(metric tons)
5.7 t 1.485 t 1.6 t - - -
Propellant Mass
(metric tons)
71.45 t 10.71 t 4.965 t - - -
Total Mass
(metric tons)
77.15 t 12.195 t 6.565 t - ~1 t -
Engine RD-0233 RD-0253
S5.98 - - -
Engine Mfgr Khimavtomatiki Khimavtomatiki Isayev - - -
Oxidizer N2O4 N2O4 N2O4 N2O4 - -
(SL metric tons)
191.84 t
-   - - -
(Vac metric tons)
- 24.29 t
+ 1.61 t
2.0 t - - -
ISP (SL sec) 285 s - - - - -
ISP (Vac sec) 310 s 322 s 325.5 s - - -
Burn Time (sec) 120 s 183s 1000 s >475 sec - -
No. Engines 4 1 Main +
1 4-chamber
1 - 1 -

Typical Rokot/Briz KM Profile

Time Event Altitude Velocity
T+0 s Liftoff 0 km 0
T+120 s Stage 1/2 Staging 60 km 3138 m/s
T+303 s Stage 2/3 Staging 250 km 5660 m/s
T+ s End First Briz KM Burn 250 km typ 7700 m/s typ
T+ 60 min Second Briz KM (Apogee) Burn Apogee  
Varies Third Briz KM (Deorbit) Burn after Spacecraft Sep Varies  

Rokot/Strela Launch History

DATE     VEHICLE           ID*    PAYLOAD                 MASS(t) SITE*      ORBIT*
11/20/90 Rokot/Briz K             R&D                              TB 131     SUB 

12/20/91 Rokot/BriZ K             R&D                              TB 175     SUB

12/26/94 Rokot/Briz K             Radio-ROSTO                      TB 175/59  LEO

12/24/99 Rokot/Briz K             RVSN 40                          PL 133/3  [PAD][1]

05/16/00 Rokot/Briz KM     72501  Simsat 1,2 (Demo)                PL 133/3   LEO

03/17/02 Rokot/Briz-KM     72505  GRACE 1/2(NASA/GDR)              PL 133/3   LEO/S
06/20/02 Rokot/Briz-KM     72502  Iridium SV97,98                  PL 133/3   LEO

06/30/03 Rokot/Briz KM     72503  MOST                       0.66  PL 133/3   LEO/S
10/30/03 Rokot/Briz KM     72506  Servis-1                   0.84  PL 133/3   LEO/S
12/05/03 Strela                   Gruzomaket                ~1.0   TB 175/2   LEO  

08/26/05 Rokot/Briz KM     72507  Monitor 1                  0.7   PL 133/3   LEO/S
10/08/05 Rokot/Briz KM     72508  CryoSat                    0.7   PL 133/3  [FTO][2]

07/28/06 Rokot/Briz KM     72504  Kompsat 2                  0.8   PL 133/3   LEO/S

05/23/08 Rokot/Briz KM     72509  Gonets-M 2-4/Yubileyniy   ~1.0   PL 133/3   LEO

03/17/09 Rokot/Briz KM     72511  GOCE                       1.10  PL 133/3   LEO/S
07/06/09 Rokot/Briz KM     72510  Kosmos 2451-53             0.675 PL 133/3   LEO
11/02/09 Rokot/Briz KM     72513  SMOS/PROBA-2               0.695 PL 133/3   LEO/S

06/02/10 Rokot/Briz KM     72516  Servis 2                   0.9   PL 133/3   LEO/S
09/08/10 Rokot/Briz KM     72514  Gonets M2/2xStrela3        0.84  PL 133/3   LEO

02/01/11 Rokot/Briz KM     72517  GEO-IK-2 11                0.9   PL 133/3  [LEO][3]

07/28/12 Rokot/Briz KM     72515  Kosmos 2481/2xGonets M           PL 133/3   LEO

01/15/13 Rokot/Briz KM     72518  Kosmos 2482-84 (Rodnik)    0.675 PL 133/3   LEO [4]
06/27/13 Strela                   Kondor                    ~1.0   TB 175/59  LEO
09/11/13 Rokot/Briz KM     72519  3xGonets-M                 0.84  PL 133/3   LEO
11/22/13 Rokot/Briz KM     72524  3xSwarm                    1.419 PL 133/3   LEO/S
12/25/13 Rokot/Briz KM     72520  Kosmos 2488-90 (Rodnik)    0.675 PL 133/3   LEO

05/23/14 Rokot/Briz KM     21     Kosmos 2496-98 (Rodnik)    0.675 PL 133/3   LEO
07/03/14 Rokot/Briz KM     22     3xGonet 3M                 0.846 PL 133/3   LEO
12/19/14 Strela            03     Kondor-E                   1.15  TB 175/59  LEO

03/31/15 Rokot/Briz KM     23     3xGonets M/Cosmos 2504    ~1.0   PL 133/3   LEO
09/23/15 Rokot/Briz KM     24     3xGonets M/Cosmos xxxx    ~1.0   PL 133/3   LEO

02/16/16 Rokot/Briz KM     25     Sentinel 3A                1.150 PL 133/3   LEO/S 
06/04/16 Rokot/Briz KM     26     GEO-IK-2 12                0.9   PL 133/3   LEO/S

[*] Briz M serial numbers shown.
[1] Payload fairing opened during prelaunch activities.  Launch vehicle 
      likely damaged.  Did not launch.

[2] Failed to orbit.  On-board flight control failed to command 
      second stage cutoff.  Second stage failed to sep from Briz KM 
      third stage.  Stack fell into Arctic Ocean near North Pole.  

[3] Briz KM failure left satellite in 311 x 1,058km x 99.46 deg transfer orbit 
    (planned 1,000 km circular orbit).

[4] Orbit good, but one sat failed and post-sep Briz-M deorbit burn failed.

PL = Plesetsk Northern Cosmodrome, Russia
TB = Tyuratam/Baikonur, Kazakstahn


LEO = Low Earth Orbit
LEO/S = Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit
SUB = Suborbital
[PAD] = Prelaunch incident on launch pad
[LEO] = Unplanned LEO
[FTO] = Failed to Orbit


 Last Update:  June 04, 2016