Energia Scientific Production Association
Lenina Ulitsa 4a
Date Visited: May 17, 1993
Report Author: C. Brancart
Dr. Ing. Vjcheslaw A. Nikitin - Leader of Laboratory, PSS Buran
Energia is a leading design and production organization for the Russian space program. It was founded in 1974 on the basis of the Korolev Design Bureau. The agency is a major design and production organization of space launch vehicles and manned-related spacecraft. It has played a key role in the Mir space station and the Buran space shuttle.
WTEC panel members understood that the topics of discussion would include:
The panel was met by the director of the agency and other association representatives. (The team's contact person was the only person to give team members a business card; his expertise is in the area of fuel cells.) The language barrier proved to be very difficult to overcome. The program plan was to view hardware for one hour and then have discussions for one hour.
The viewing of hardware was very interesting. First panel members saw the museum (open by invitation only) of the space program from Sputnik I to the present. There was an impressive array of actual hardware. The panel then went into the plant, a positive pressure volume where white coats were required, to see the shuttle and space capsules for Energia's ongoing space program. This is where the hardware is checked out before going into space.
The general configuration of the hardware was similar to that in the United States. The general area was much smaller than anticipated. Also, the general condition of test equipment and test stands appeared to be dormant and dated; the hardware was in a state of deterioration. The lack of funding was evident.
Following the plant tour, the panel returned to the conference room for discussions. The institute's representatives began the discussion with the question "What problems may we solve for you?" The panel then proceeded to extract information from the group. Panel members advised the Energia representatives of the panel's interest in space technology that could be applied to underwater systems and environments.
The discussion focused on the use of acoustics with GPS updates. There is no new work being done in this area. The best estimate for system accuracy is ±1 m in 3 to 4 km.
Energia is conducting research and development in the area of acoustics, but could not tell the panel any specifics. Tests are now underway in fiber optics.
The agency's scientists have been in the fuel cell business for twenty years. Their space program has been using alkaline fuel cells. Energia's scientists have been working on a direct current (DC) power supply system based on electrochemical generators with hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells for the Buran orbiter. This is the system that the agency plans to use on small submarines. A technical paper on this topic (in English) is listed in the references.
Panel members were also given a paper that summarized different energy sources in Russian. A rough translation of the information presented in the paper is provided in Table Energia.1.
On the space station, Energia has a 25,000 kB/sec data rate and 60,000 kB memory.
There were several people in attendance. Attempts to obtain information proved difficult. The director agreed that the association would supply the WTEC team with the names of all attendees and detailed answers to the questions that had been presented to Energia earlier.
A letter to WTEC from Intershelf's Moscow office in early 1994, citing Energia "specialists" as the source, did provide some clarifications and additional information. Intershelf's letter indicated that Energia is involved in the development of a manned submersible for up to 10 passengers with an operating depth of 100 m, and that Energia is active in the development of technologies for extraction of solid mineral resources from the sea floor at depths up to 6,000 m.
A general brochure in Russian.
"DC Power Supply System Based on Electrochemical Generators with Hydrogen- Oxygen Fuel Cells for the Buran Orbiter." Technical paper in English.
"Comparison of Energy Systems." In Russian.