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Previous chapter: NK-33 engine
On August 1, 2011, NPO Energomash disclosed that at the meeting of its Scientific and Technical Council, NTS, three days earlier, top propulsion experts in the nation had reviewed proposals for the RD-193 engine intended for the "prospective versions" of the Soyuz rocket. The designation of the engine hinted that the proposed powerplant would derive from RD-191, which was originally developed for the Angara family of rockets.
Since the Soyuz-1 rocket (later renamed Soyuz-2-1v) would use a limited cache of old NK-33 engines, Russia's leading rocket propulsion enterprise - NPO Energomash - proposed its RD-193 engine as an eventual replacement for NK-33, if all promises to restart the production of the Moon Race-era NK-33 do not materialize. NPO Energomash representatives cited this role for RD-193 as late as 2012. The development of RD-193 started in 2011 and within a year, the company produced a 3D model of the propulsion system and was completing a demo version of the engine.
Like its predecessor RD-191, RD-193 would burn liquid oxygen and kerosene and would be able to develop 200 tons of thrust on the Earth surface. According to the company, the engine differed from the its base -- RD-191 -- by the introduction of several new structural interfaces: between the combustion chamber and the turbine housing and between the gas-generator mixing head and its main body. The engine was also designed to be fixed to the body of the launch vehicle or connected via a gimbal suspension, NPO Energomash said. (Later reports said, that the final configuration of RD-193 would not include gimbal suspension.) It was also shorter by 760 millimeters and lighter by 300 kilograms than RD-191.
Along with its use on the Soyuz-2.1v and other upgrades of the Soyuz family, the experimental engine could serve as a basis for the yet-to-be developed RD-181 engine intended for "foreign" launch vehicles, NPO Energomash said, implying the US Antares rocket. In addition, the experimental firing program aimed to test propulsion modes which would be required for the reusable launch vehicle program, MRKS, and which were formulated by NPO Energomash in coordination with the Keldysh Center, traditionally responsible for the development of advanced propulsion systems for the Russian space agency and the Ministry of Defense.
On October 19, 2012, NPO Energomash announced that three days earlier, an experimental RD-193 engine completed its fifth live firing without leaving test bench No. 2 at the company's NIK-751 test facility. During five tests, the engine burned for a total of 678 seconds. Following the tests, the engine was to be disassembled and checked for any defects to clear it for further tests, NPO Energomash said.
In 2013, NPO Energomash announced that tests of the RD-193 engine had been completed.
Next chapter: RD-0110R engine
Page author: Anatoly Zak; last update: March 29, 2015
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A scale model showing integration of the NK-33-1 engine into the core stage of the Soyuz-2-3 rocket. The Soyuz-1 would use a similar arrangement, minus strap-on boosters. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2008 Anatoly Zak