Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Alcantara Cyclone Space, National Space Agency of Ukraine, Yuzhmash and Yuzhnoye
Parent System: Cyclone
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1969
Total Production: ?
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Description: The Cyclone is a space launch system family derived from the SS-9 ballistic missiles and developed in Ukraine within the Soviet Union rule in the 1960s. These space rockets feature a fully automated, relatively short pre-launch procedure and high reliability. The Cyclone-2 space launch vehicle program was started in 1965 and the first rocket lift-off in 1969 logging 116 successful launches through 2006. The Cyclone-3 is a three-stage derivative of Cyclone-2 rocket and the program started in 1970. The last logged launch of a Cyclone-3 rocket occurred in 2004.
The Cyclone-2 (SL-10 and SL-11) was operated from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and Cyclone-3 (SL-14) operated from the Plesetsk launch site. The two-stage Cyclone-2 has a maximum take-off mass of 183 tones and can transport a 3.2t payload to a Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The three-stage Cyclone-3 has a maximum lift-off mass of 187 tones carrying a 3.6t payload to a LEO or a 0.6t to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). Nevertheless, the propulsion system of these vehicles are not environment-friendly which pushed Kazakhstan to ban launches from Baikonur.
The Cyclone-4, currently under development, is the latest member of the Cyclone launch vehicle family featuring greater payload, improved engines, modern control system, and increased nose fairing. This three-stage rocket is being developed by Ukraine-based enterprises National Space Center of Ukraine, Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash with foreign assistance from Russia. The advanced Cyclone-4 is intended to put payloads of up to 5,500 kg into LEO or 1,700 kg payloads into GTO.
The Cyclone-4 is based on the Cyclone-3 with the third stage with a 30 percent fuel increase. Brazil and Ukraine agreed to use Cyclone-4 rocket primarily to put satellites into LEO from the Alcantara Launch Center - located in the Atlantic Coast near the equator - through the joint venture Alcantara Cyclone Space. Cyclone-4 production is expected to begin in 2009 with the launch vehicle achieving full operational status between 2011 and 2014. Germany could be another potential customer for the new launch vehicle.
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