Launched From Above

Posted on March 1st, 2010 at 2:19 pm by Akhyari


I am sure, the title of this entry makes you puzzled, well..i deliberately wanna attract your attention, coz it’s a very important thing to read :) . It’s about Air Launch System (ALS). As posted earlier, Indonesia will have spaceport (few countries have it), and it will be developed and maintained by Indonesia and Russia. The technology is new where satellite will not be launched on land, it will be launched from the air. How does it work?

First, you must use a very big and powerful vehicle to lift the sattelite to the sky, and Russia will provide Antonov AN-225 for this purpose. The Maks system consists of two stages:

1. Antonov AN-225 carrier plane is the world’s largest aircraft.
2. Space Stage will be carried on top of the An-225. It can take-off from suitable airports around the world and transport the second stage for launch on any staging point above the Earth. The An-225 will use in-flight refuelling for equatorial launches.

Three Space Stages are envisaged:

- Maks-OS (Reusable Spaceplane) with an external tank. It would be used to carry from 2 up to 6 crew.

- Maks-T uses an expendable unmanned stage instead of the Maks Spaceplane to launch payloads up to 18,000kg to low earth orbit or 5000kg to GEO.

- Maks-M will be the ultimate version of Maks. It will be a fully reusable spaceplane

How does it work?

1. The An-225 carrier plane with the second stage will takeoff from a suitable airport. For equatorial launches, in-flight refuelling will be used to reach the destination.

2. The An-225 will fly to a starting point above the Earth’s surface. At 9km altitude, the Antonov An-225 will perform a pre-start manoeuvre and follow a shallow decent, then on the pull-up manoeuvre the RD-171 rocket engine is ignited.

3. The carrier plane and second stage separate at the required trajectory angle. The An-225 returns to the base airport. Maks spaceplane / Maks-T/ Mak-M fly to orbit.

The good thing is that Indonesia’s Biak Island (the planned site) is the best and most efficient site (in term of cost) to build this system.

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