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Launch Vehicle Assembly and Testing Building, MIK RN
All types of Soyuz rockets departing from Vostochny are put together inside the cavernous Launch Vehicle Assembly and Testing Building, abbreviated in Russian as MIK RN.
The MIK RN building is dominated by the main assembly hall covering an area of 9,000 square meters. The facility can accomodate simultaneous processing of two Soyuz-2-type rockets. They include Soyuz-2-1a, Soyuz-2-1b and Soyuz-2-1v variants modified for launches from Vostochny.
Clearly oversized for the Soyuz, the design of the building was apparently intended for a much larger Rus-M rocket, whose development was canceled in 2011. Still, Roskosmos probably decided to stick with the original dimensions, anticipating the eventual refurbishment of the facility for next-generation rockets, such as Soyuz-5.
The MIK RN is equipped with a pair of cranes spanning 40 meters across the main assembly hall and capable of lifting up to 100 tons each. The cranes move just below the ceiling of the building 27 meters above the floor. (The total height of the building is 37 meters.) Four rail lines with a total length of 510 meters run along the main assembly hall.
At its south end, the assembly hall is connected to the "transborder" gallery, which is used to deliver various components into the building. At the north end, the hall has its main entrance with a rail line heading directly to the Soyuz launch pad.
The main hall of the building is flanked by seven floors of administrative, support and testing rooms. Counting the office space, the total area of MIK RN is 45,000 square meters.
According to Spetsstroi, (the main contractor on the construction of the building), the ventilation system inside the facility provides R9-class air for the clean-room environment. It is capable of processing one million cubic meters of air per hour. The climate-control system was designed to maintain temperature from 18 to 25 degrees C and humidity of 80 percent inside the building.
Internal layout of the Vehicle Processing Building, MIK RN, in Vostochny.
The rocket components of the launch vehicle are delivered into the assembly hall from the storage along the central rail line, where the two sections of the core (second) stage can be integrated into a single booster.
The hardware then delivered by a crane to one of the two assembly zones along the eastern wall of the building. Here, boosters of the first and second stage can be assembled into a single composite. All three stages can also be connected by cables via floor outlets to testing equipment located in adjacent rooms behind the wall.
The assembled boosters of the first and second stage then re-loaded to a transporter parked on the rail line along the western wall of the building. After the third stage is integrated with its payload section at its central location, the resulting upper composite can be attached to booster stages.
Following the integrated tests, the completed launch vehicle is ready for the rollout to the launch pad. The transporter docks with climate-control trailers and with a locomotive for a trip to the pad.
The first Soyuz-2-1a rocket arrived at MIK RN in Vostochny at the end of 2015, and after a series of tests, the actual pre-launch campaign took place inside the building in April 2016. Unlike planned routine operations, all the components of the rocket were delivered directly into the building inside their railway trailers.
General view of MIK RN in Vostochny in the spring of 2016 looking south.
A general view of MIK RN in Vostochny at the end of 2015 looking north.
Parked inside MIK RN in the fall of 2015, a thermal-conditioning platform was designed to accompany rockets and thier cargo to the launch pad.
Office wing of the MIK RN building.
Read much more about the history of the Russian space program in a richly illustrated, large-format glossy edition:
An artist rendering of the rocket processing building in Vostochny. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
The office wing of the Launch Vehicle Processing Building, MIK RN. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
Northern gate of the vehicle processing building used to roll out rockets to the launch pad. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
The first Soyuz launch vehicle rolls out via north gate of the assembly building in Vostochny in April 2016. Credit: Roskosmos
South entrance to the Vehicle Processing Building connects to the "Transborder" gallery. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
One of two work zones for assembly and testing of the Soyuz rocket inside the Vehicle Processing Building. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
Assembly of the Soyuz rocket at Zone 1 inside MIK RN. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos