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Zenit-2 rocket ready for launch.jpg
Zenit-2 at Site 45/1
Function Carrier rocket
Manufacturer Yuzhnoye
Country of origin Soviet Union


Height 57 metres (187 ft)
Diameter 3.9 metres (13 ft)
Mass 444,900 kilograms (980,800 lb)
Stages Two
Payload to LEO 13,740 kilograms (30,290 lb)
Payload to SSO 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb)
Associated rockets
Family Zenit
Derivatives Zenit-2M
Launch history
Launch sites Baikonur Site 45
Total launches 37
Successes 31
Failures 6
First flight 13 April 1985
First stage
Engines 1 RD-171
Thrust 8,180 kilonewtons (1,840,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 337 sec
Burn time 150 seconds
Fuel RP-1/LOX
Second stage
Engines 1 RD-120
1 RD-8
Thrust 912 kilonewtons (205,000 lbf)
79.5 kilonewtons (17,900 lbf)
Specific impulse 349 sec
Burn time 315 seconds
Fuel RP-1/LOX

The Zenit-2 is a Ukrainian, previously Soviet, expendable carrier rocket. First flown in 1985, it has been launched 37 times, with six failures. It is a member of the Zenit family of rockets, and was designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau.

With 13-15 ton payload in LEO it was intended as up-middle class launcher greater than 7-ton payload middle Soyuz and smaller than 20-ton payload heavy Proton. Zenit-2 would be certified for manned launches and placed in specially built launch pad at Baykonur spaceport, carrying the new manned partially reusable Zarya spacecraft that developed in end of the 1980s but was canceled. Also in the 1980s Vladimir Chelomey's firm proposed never realised 15-ton Uragan spaceplane launched by Zenit-2.

A modified version, the Zenit-2S, is used as the first two stages of the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket.[1] Launches of Zenit-2 rockets are conducted from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 45/1. A second pad, 45/2, was also constructed, but was only used for two launches before being destroyed in an explosion.[2] A third pad, Site 35 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome was never completed, and work was abandoned after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[3]

The Zenit-2 is currently being replaced by the Zenit-2M, which incorporates enhancements made during the development of the Zenit-3SL, and it is unclear whether any remain to be launched. The Zenit-2 has a fairly low flight rate as the Russian government usually avoids flying national security payloads on Ukrainian rockets.

During the late 1990s, the Zenit-2 was marketed for commercial launches. Only one such launch was conducted, with a group of Globalstar satellites, which ended in failure after a computer error resulted in the premature cutoff of the second stage.


  1. "The Rocket – Zenit-3SL". Sea Launch. Retrieved 2009-04-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wade, Mark. "Zenit". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-04-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Wade, Mark. "Plesetsk". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-04-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>