Shtil’ – Space Launch Report

Shtil' - Space Launch Report

Shtil’ (Russian: Calm (Weather)) is a modified R-29RM (RSM-54/SS-N-23) three-stage submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) used to orbit small satellites.  The launcher, offered by the State Rocket Center (also known as the Makeyev Design Bureau) of Miass, Chelyabinsk, Russia, can lift up to 160 kg into a 200 km low earth orbit when launched from a submerged Delta IV class submarine in the Barents Sea off Russia’s northern coastline.  .

NII Mashinostroyeniya developed the three-stage storable liquid-fueled R-29RM SLBM during the late 1970s and 1980s. 

Shtil' - Space Launch Report

Seven Delta IV submarines were deployed with 16 R-29RM missiles apiece.  Each missile carried four warheads, but were capable of handling up to ten warheads.  In 1999, the Makeyev Design Bureau was ordered to resume production of the R-29RM missile. 

Makeyev began offering decommissioned R-29RM missiles, renamed “Shtil'”, for space launch purposes during the mid-1990s.  Payloads would simply ride within empty warhead aeroshells attached to the missile’s third stage.  

The first Shtil’ orbital launch, a success, occurred on July 7, 1998 when the German microsatellites TubSat-N and TubSat-N1 were launched from K-407 “Novomoskovsk” in the Barents Sea.  This was the first known orbital launch from a submarine.  An orbital launch attempt by a slightly smaller R-29R “Volna” SLBM failed in 2005.

A second Shtil’ orbital attempt, also successful, was not made until May 26, 2006, when the 80 kg COMPASS-2 science satellite was orbited from submerged submarine “Ekaterinburg” in the Barents Sea east of Murmansk.   COMPASS-2 entered an approximate 400 x 500 km x 79 deg orbit.

Shtil’ is 14.8 meters tall and 1.9 meters in diameter. It weighs about 39.3 tonnes (metric tons) at liftoff.   All three stages burn UDMH fuel with N2O4 oxidizer.  The rocket is gas-ejected from a submerged submarine launch tube.  Its RD-0243 main engine, a main thrust chamber augmented by four smaller steering engines that produces about 82.2 tonnes of thrust at sea level, ignites when the missile surfaces.   

The first stage burns for about 74 seconds.  The second stage fires for about 94 seconds and the third stage for about 87 seconds.  The third stage engine separates from the stage about one minute after shutdown.  Smaller thrusters mounted on the exterior nose of the vehicle are used to perform a final orbital insertion or apogee burn.  Payloads are ejected from the rear of the stage.

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Vehicle Configurations

 LEO Payload
(metric tons)
200 km x79 deg
(metric tons)
600 km x 79 deg
(metric tons)
Shtil’0.16 t 0.08 t3 stage R-29RM Sub-Launched SLBM14.8 m39.3 t

Vehicle Components

 Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3
Diameter (m)1.9 m1.9 m1.9 m
Length (m)mmm
Empty Mass
(metric tons)
Propellant Mass
(metric tons)
22.3 ttt
Total Mass
(metric tons)
(SL metric tons)
82.22 t  
(Vac metric tons)
91.09 ttt
ISP (SL sec)280 s  
ISP (Vac sec)310 sss
Burn Time (sec)74 s94 s87 s
No. Engines111

Example Ascent Profile to 400 km, 79 deg Orbit from Barents Sea

TimeEventAltitudeRangeVelocityPitch Angle Degrees
T+0 sLiftoff0 km0 km0 m/s90.00
T+75 sStaging/Stage 2 Ignition30 km31 km1370 m/s33.34
T+169 sStaging/Stage 3 Ignition169 km258 km4370 m/s10.91
T+256.4 sStaging 3 Cutoff174 km727 km7151 m/s6.67
T+319.9 sStage 3 Engine Jettison224 km1163 km7100 m/s5.99
T+641 sStage 3 Apogee Thrust Start387 km3299 km6538 m/s2.26
T+906 sStage 3 Apogee Thrust End400 km5098 km7579 m/s0.00
T+911 sSpacecraft Separation400 km5134 km7581 m/s0.00
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