Encyclopedia Astronautica
Proton



n6.jpg
N-4 Spacecraft
Cutaway view of N-4 spacecraft. This heavy high-energy physics station was launched on the first four test launches of the Proton launch vehicle.
Credit: Chelomei School, Leninsk
Investigation of ultra-high-energy cosmic particles.

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Associated People
  • Chelomei Chelomei, Vladimir Nikolayevich (1914-1984) Soviet Chief Designer 1955-1984 of OKB-52. Leading designer of cruise missiles and ICBMs. Fought for lead role in space launchers and manned spacecraft. Led work on UR-100, UR-200 ICBM's, Proton LV, Raketoplan, Almaz, TKS manned spacecraft. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • N-4 Russian cosmic ray astronomy satellite. 4 launches, 1965.07.16 (Proton 1) to 1966.07.06 (Proton 3). Physics experiments. Space station "Proton 1". Investigation of ultra-high-energy cosmic particles. More...
  • N-6 Russian cosmic ray astronomy satellite. One launch, 1968.11.16, Proton 4. Cosmic ray measurements. Study of the nature of high and ultra-high energy cosmic rays and their interaction with atomic nuclei. Mass announced at time of launch 17,000 kg. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • UR-500 Russian orbital launch vehicle. The original UR-500 two stage configuration was designed as a monster ICBM. It was flown four times from 1965, but never deployed as an operational missile. The design was succeeded by three and four stage versions for launching of large payloads into space. More...
  • Proton-K Russian orbital launch vehicle. Development of a three-stage version of the UR-500 was authorised in the decree of 3 August 1964. Decrees of 12 October and 11 November 1964 authorised development of the Almaz manned military space station and the manned circumlunar spacecraft LK-1 as payloads for the UR-500K. Remarkably, due to continuing failures, the 8K82K did not satisfactorily complete its state trials until its 61st launch (Salyut 6 / serial number 29501 / 29 September 1977). Thereafter it reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • RVSN Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Raketniye Voiska Stratigcheskovo Naznacheniya (Russian Strategic Rocket Forces), Russia. More...
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Proton Chronology


1965 July 16 - . 11:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: UR-500. LV Configuration: UR-500 107207-01 (207).
  • Proton 1 - . Payload: N-4 s/n 1. Mass: 8,300 kg (18,200 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei. Agency: MOM. Program: Proton. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: N-4 . Decay Date: 1965-10-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 1466 . COSPAR: 1965-054A. Apogee: 578 km (359 mi). Perigee: 181 km (112 mi). Inclination: 63.4000 deg. Period: 92.20 min. The first launch of the Proton launch vehicle was not without problems. A leak in the oxidiser pipeline resulted in nitrogen tetroxide spilling on electrical wires. The question was: proceed with the launch or abort? Chelomei decided to go ahead, and on 16 July 1965 the first UR-500 successfully launched the Proton 1 satellite. In the first hours after launch specialists from OKB-52 could only receive signals in the first hours that indicated the satellite was ‘alive’. However it later functioned normally and provided physics data on ultra-high-energy cosmic particles for 45 days.

    At the first launch the rocket was called ‘Gerkules’ (other sources say ‘Atlantis’), as indicated by the large symbol on the second stage skin. This name was however was not taken up.


1965 November 2 - . 12:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: UR-500. LV Configuration: UR-500 209.
  • Proton 2 - . Payload: N-4 s/n 2. Mass: 8,300 kg (18,200 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Proton. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: N-4 . Decay Date: 1966-02-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 1701 . COSPAR: 1965-087A. Apogee: 608 km (377 mi). Perigee: 189 km (117 mi). Inclination: 63.5000 deg. Period: 92.50 min. Summary: High energy physics laboratory. Investigation of ultra-high-energy cosmic particles. .

1966 March 24 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: UR-500. LV Configuration: UR-500 211. FAILURE: Second stage malfunction.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • N-4 s/n 3 - . Payload: N-4. Mass: 8,300 kg (18,200 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Proton. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: N-4. Decay Date: 1966-03-24 . COSPAR: F660324A.

1966 July 6 - . 12:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: UR-500. LV Configuration: UR-500 212.
  • Proton 3 - . Payload: N-4 s/n 4. Mass: 8,300 kg (18,200 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Proton. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: N-4 . Decay Date: 1966-09-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 2290 . COSPAR: 1966-060A. Apogee: 594 km (369 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 63.5000 deg. Period: 92.30 min. Summary: Space station 'Proton 3'. Investigation of ultra high energy cosmic particles .

1968 November 16 - . 11:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K. LV Configuration: Proton-K 236-01.
  • Proton 4 - . Payload: N-6 s/n 1. Mass: 16,000 kg (35,000 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Proton. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: N-6 . Decay Date: 1969-07-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 3544 . COSPAR: 1968-103A. Apogee: 477 km (296 mi). Perigee: 248 km (154 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.80 min. Summary: First launch of the Proton three-stage variant. The satellite studied the nature of high and ultra-high energy cosmic rays and their interaction with atomic nuclei. Scientific payload 12,500 kg; operated for 100 days in orbit. .

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