Elon Musk said that the "Zenith" Ukrainian rocket Falcon after his best
Billionaire and owner of SpaceX Elon Musk within quick interview with CNN channel on the question of the journalist Rachel Crane on what, in his opinion, the rocket is the best on the market, praised the Soviet / Ukrainian launch vehicle "Zenit". Of course, while adding that the Falcon 9 rocket, by its own, it is considered the best in the world.
"Except for ours, the" Zenith "is probably the next best", - said Musk.
The main feature of rockets Falcon - reusable. The possibility of returning the first stage of the rocket back to Earth allows you to use it in the future several times, of course, after all the necessary repairs and diagnostics. But even in this case, re-use costs about twice cheaper than building a new rocket. In addition, the preparation of a new start in this case, takes much less time. And as a bonus to clients SpaceX also a discount of 10 percent.
At the moment, no other missile in the world does not have such opportunities. There are, of course, a company like Blue Origin, which manages Jeff Bezos, but SpaceX level with them almost weekly commercial launch them is still far. Recall that SpaceX plans this year to produce the first launch of a new rocket Falcon Heavy - the heaviest in its family. Its first stage will be equipped with two additional accelerators. But even without taking into account the planned start of the current success of SpaceX allow the company to dominate the market of commercial space services.
As for the missile family "Zenith", submitted modifications "Zenit 3SL", "Zenit 2M", "Zenit 3SL" and "Zenith 3SLBF" that some special technical solutions, both in the Falcon 9 (it is primarily about the reusability ), they can not boast. However, they are relatively cost-effective compared to other rockets of this class, which allows its creators claim a certain share of the market. In low earth orbit rocket able to remove up to 15 tonnes of goods, and its starting weight may be up to 462, 2 tons.
missile development began during the Soviet era and was held in the city of Dnepropetrovsk (now Dnepr) Design Bureau "South". The first rocket launch "Zenith-2" was produced in 1985.
Launch of "Zenith" in the framework of the program "Sea Launch"
The main event associated with the rocket "Zenith" in recent years, was the signing of a contract between the producer of her "Southern Machine-Building Plant. AM Makarov "and S7 Sea Launch Limited for the purchase of 12 vehicles" Zenit SLB "and" Zenit-SL "to run the program" Sea Launch ", where the missile launch is done with floating cosmodrome, located in the Pacific Ocean. The contract was signed on 17 June this year. However, all rights to the RD-171 engines that are used rockets "Zenit", owned by the Russian Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency announced a little later there was no obligation to transfer Ukrainian plant RD-171. How "Pivdenmash" is going to perform the duties under the contract, remains unclear.