Makeev State Rocket Center * Kompomash Industry

In 1997 Makeyev bureau, under contract from Rosaviakosmos and Daimler-Benz Aerospace Infrastructure (DASA-RI), conducted a feasibility study for a family of joint Russian-German lightweight SLVs. This study led to the Riksha project, a family of two-stage lightweight SLVs.

Makeyev Design Bureau is planning a new launch vehicle called "Riksha". Riksha would be a two-stage vehicle with optional strap-on boosters. Each stage would be powered by liquified natural gas (LCH4) and liquied oxygen using RD-182 engine (modified versions of the RD-120K) for the first stage and boosters, and RD-185 engine for the second stage. The 65 tons launch vehicle Riksha-2 is designed to launch up to 1.7 tons in LEO. The diameter is 3.0 m, the length is 29 m. The upgraded Riksha is designed to launch up to 5.5 tons in LEO.

Riksha rocket family development project currently implemented by the Kompomash Industry and Finance Joint-Stock Corporation may well be described as one of the most advanced light-class LV projects for commercial satellite launches. The principal founding members of Kompomash are the Makayev Design Bureau, NPO Energomash and several more Russian rocket and space enterprises, as well as a group of commercial banks of Moscow.
The project implies development of a family of three rockets, namely: (a) the base unit, which is the two-stage Riksha-2 rocket,  the base unit plus one booster based on the first stage (Riksha-1) , and (c) the base unit plus two boosters based on the first stage (Riksha). Three launching capability options are incorporated, including stationary, mobile and sea launch option. The base unit indexed Riksha-1 with its launch mass of 64 tons can put up to 1.7 t payloads to low-altitude Earth orbits. Both stages of the rocket include high-efficiency liquid propellant engines by NPO Energomash. The propellant is the environment-friendly “liquid oxygen – liquefied natural gas” combination.
The launch vehicle development works originally initiated in the first half of the nineties are not too fast. Though all the principal bottlenecks related to the new propellant components have been practically removed, the designers confess the primary difficulty is in raising the required funds.

Intended for injection of the payload into low and medium near-earth orbits. The Riksha system is being developed for two launch versions: ground-based and sea-based.
A salient feature of the system is the use of prospective, environmentally safe, widely used fuel - liquefied natural gas (with the oxidizer - liquid oxygen).
The Riksha system includes a family of light-class two-stage launch vehicles: Riksha (launch mass 180 t), Riksha-2 (launch mass 65 t), Riksha-1 (launch mass 135 t). The heaviest Riksha rocket is a base launch vehicle, two others are being developed using elements of the basic rocket.
The Riksha launch vehicle consists of three units: two strap-on boosters and a core unit. The rocket units are equipped with RD-182 engines - one engine per unit - (RD-182 is a modified RD-120K engine for operation on liquefied natural gas). The second stage with the RD-185 multirestartable engine is unified for all launch vehicles.
The Riksha-2 LV is actually has base rocket configuration, but without one booster. The first stage of the Riksha-1 is being created on the basis of the base LV booster.

  Riksha-2 Riksha-1 Riksha
  Weight Length Weight Length Weight Length


65 t  29 m 135 t 37 m 180 t 38.5 m
  Diam. Length Diam. Length Diam. Length


- - 3 m 15 (18) m 3 m 15 (18) m

Stage 1

3 m 15.5 m 3 m 21.5 m 3 m 20 m

Stage 2

3 m 7.5 m 3 m 7.5 m 3 m 7.5 m


3 m 6 m 3 m 8 m 4 m 9.5 m