For the First Time in the Town of the Firsts

29 September 2021
This year, Obninsk, the first science town in Russia, celebrates its 65th anniversary. There are only a few towns where so many scientific discoveries have been made, as in Obninsk. It was here that the world's first nuclear power plant was put into operation, nuclear reactors for submarines and space technology were created, and the peaceful atom was used in medicine for the first time in the country. State Research Centre of the Russian Federation ORPE Technologiya named after A.G. Romashin also contributed to the Obninsk achievements, having the status of the first in the world, the first in the country.

Large-sized structures made of polymer composites

For the first time in the country, ORPE Technologiya developed and introduced out-of-autoclave moulding of polymer materials products. The enterprise implemented innovative solutions when working on the Buran reusable manned spacecraft. Today technologies of out-of-autoclave moulding are used at the enterprise for manufacturing large-sized fairing shells for Proton-M and Angara launch vehicles. Frames and structures made of polymer composite materials of the enterprise were used in more than 100 launch vehicles. Also, for the first time in Russia, the Obninsk enterprise started using the technologies of automated prepreg lay-up of products from polymer composite materials for aviation equipment. They were applied for manufacturing the reverse swept wing of the Su-47 Berkut aircraft. Now the seven-meter-long carbon-fibre structures of the MS-21 tail fins are serially produced using automated lay-up technology.

"Fur coat" for space equipment

The unique and elegant black and white silhouette of the reusable manned spacecraft "Buran" is formed with the help of an unmatched heat-resistant coating that ensures the passage of the spacecraft through the dense layers of atmosphere. This is the so-called "fur coat" - 38,800 ceramic tiles that can withstand temperatures of up to 1500 degrees. It was manufactured by ORPE Technologiya. Due to the use of super-thin quartz fiber, this heat insulation is extremely lightweight and durable. In order to protect the tiles from erosion, moisture penetration and high temperatures, a specially developed outer coating of high-silica glass powders was used. Today this material is used for "black boxes" - flight recorders of aircraft, that preserve records of the equipment operation parameters and crew negotiations in case of an accident, in modern rocket and aircraft engines.

Ultralightweight solar cell carrier

This product has no analogues in the world. Due to the use of composite materials and unique manufacturing technologies, the structure has the lowest specific gravity. ORPE Technologiya became the first enterprise in the country to apply unique scientific and technical solutions in this area. Spacecraft with the fourth generation composite solar cell carriers are currently in orbit. A square meter of this structure weighs only about 400 grams — a parameter that no one has been able to surpass so far. Due to these characteristics, the operational efficiency of space equipment is increased.

Ceramic radomes for guided missiles

For the first time in the country, the expediency was substantiated, the technology was developed and the serial production of radio-transparent radomes made of quartz ceramics for high-speed aircraft has begun. Domestic anti-aircraft missile systems of a new generation and unique missile systems of the navy and military space forces are currently equipped with missiles comprising radomes produced by ORPE Technologiya.

Dimensionally stable structures made of polymer composite materials

Not all enterprises are capable of manufacturing composite products that fully meet the stated requirements and operate under extreme conditions. ORPE Technologiya turned out to be the only scientific center in the world to undertake the project of creating a dimensionally stable structure for the ATLAS Transition Radiation Tracker of the Large Hadron Collider. As a result, the detector installed on the support manufactured by the enterprise, recorded the Higgs boson. Obninsk RPE was awarded commendations by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) for the results achieved. Subsequently, the experience gained during the production of dimensionally stable structures was implemented in the creation of the tube for telescope intended for the Spektr-RG spacecraft and others.

Temperature control system panels made of polymer composite materials

More than 20 years ago, ORPE Technologiya created temperature control system panels for space equipment that are capable of functioning in leaky conditions. This product made it possible to minimize the risks of failure of space equipment due to depressurization of the system and to increase its reliability and efficiency. At that time, the technology of manufacturing a five-layer composite structure with a two-level arrangement of heat pipes was applied for the first time in Russia. Now super thermal-conductive carbon fiber is used in the structure instead of aluminum skin, which makes it possible to reduce its weight by another quarter. Thanks to the unique engineering solutions of the in-house development, the temperature control system panels are integrated into the satellite body at the manufacturing phase, forming a load-bearing structure. 62 spacecraft, including 13 foreign ones, are equipped with such high-tech products.

Glass as an armor

Another well-known development of ORPE Technologiya is the sarcophagus for the Vladimir I. Lenin’s tomb. Visually this product is known to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Scientists of the enterprise developed a unique technology that allows the sarcophagus to withstand a shot from a firearm and even a low-power explosion. At the same time, it is possible to see the body of the leader without any distortion, regardless of the angle of view. The team was awarded the Lenin Prize for this development. In addition, the development formed the basis for production of high-strength heat- and radiation-resistant glass for cockpit windows of the Buran orbiter and high-strength glazing for the Mir deep-submergence vehicle. The enterprise has received more than 250 patents and copyright certificates for the inventions in this field. Subsequently, these developments have found application in other areas — aviation, shipbuilding, railroad rolling stock manufacturing. High-strength electrically heated glazing produced by ORPE Technologiya is installed on almost all domestic locomotives, ensuring the comfort and safety of the crew.

First series production of sound absorbing panels for aircraft engines

These products allowed the domestic aircraft operators to feel confident on international airlines. The discrepancy between the noise level of Soviet, and then Russian, airliners and the world standards was one of the main obstacles to performing international air transportation. The Obninsk enterprise developed a manufacturing technology and arranged series production of resonant-type composite sound-absorbing structures for aircraft power plants that meet the requirements of the international aerospace standard AS / EN 9100. These panels are installed on the nacelle of aircraft engines and serve as a turbine shell. Sound waves produced by a running engine, passing through a perforated sandwich structure, in which the location and angle of inclination of each of several thousand holes are mathematically calculated, are scattered, redirected and partially "mutually annihilated". Today these structures are used in the SaM-146 aircraft engines for the SSJ-100 and the PD-14 for the MC-21.

 Bird-strike resistant polycarbonate glazing for aviation

The era of great discoveries of ORPE Technologiya never ends. An example is the creation of optical grade polycarbonate glazing for aviation (material of a new generation with an impact strength of more than 100 times higher than that of silicate glass, which is significantly lighter in weight). A team of scientists of ORPE Technologiya developed and patented a method that made it possible to produce aircraft glazing without losing its optical qualities. A metal-optical coating was developed and applied to the glazing as well. It protects pilots of modern fighters from various negative effects, including thermal radiation of a nuclear explosion. Nobody has been able to repeat this development in Russia so far. Cockpit canopy of the Su-57 fighter was made using this technology. The team of scientists who developed the bird-resistant polycarbonate glazing for aviation was awarded the Russian Federation Government Prize in the field of science and technology.