KVD-1 (12KRB)
Country of originUSSR/Russia
First flight2001-04-20, GSAT-1 Mission, GSLV debut flight
Last flight2010-12-25, GSAT-5P launch, GSLV Mk I final flight
ApplicationUpper stage engine
Associated LVGSLV Mk 1
Liquid-fuel engine
PropellantLiquid oxygen / liquid hydrogen
Mixture ratio6
CycleStaged combustion
Chamber1 + 2 verniers
Thrust, vacuum69.6 kN (15,600 lbf)
Chamber pressure5.6 MPa (810 psi)
Specific impulse, vacuum462 s
Burn time800 s (600 s in a single burn)
Gimbal rangeNone; uses 2 vernier engines for attitude control[1]
Length2.14 m (7 ft 0 in)
Diameter1.58 m (5 ft 2 in)
Dry weight282 kg (622 lb)

KVD-1 was an upper stage LOX/LH2 cryogenic engine developed by the Isayev Design Bureau (now KB KhIMMASH) of Russia in the early 1960s. It is a modified version of the RD-56, developed for a never-completed cryogenic upper stage of the N-1 super-heavy lift rocket, with the goal of enabling crewed lunar missions by the USSR.[5] The KVD-1 produces a thrust of 7.5 tonnes.

Initial development

KVD-1 was originated from the RD-56 engine which were intended to be used for USSR Moon programmes.[6] RD-56 aka 11D56 engines were developed for N1M rocket programme, the planned derivative of N1, but later they were abandoned due to four successive launch failures of N1.[7] Later the design of the engine was sold to ISRO under the name "KVD-1" under a deal worth $120 million with soviet agency Glavkosmos which enabled ISRO to import 2 KVD-1 engines and an agreement for transfer of technology from Russia.[8]

ISRO programme

The engines were proven to be inefficient because of their low thrust-to-weight ratio. Later the Russian space agency optimised the engine to launch payloads with a mass of 2.5 tonnes or less. The INSAT-4CR satellite with a mass of 2,140 kg was launched in 2007 but reached a lower than planned orbit due to the poor performance of the third stage's single KVD-1 engine. The satellite subsequently used its own propulsion to get to the planned orbit. Because of this the useful life of the satellite was shortened.[7]

Sanctions imposed by United States

In 1991, an agreement was signed between India and Russia for technology transfer to India so that KVD-1 engines can be built indigenously in India. But later in July 1993, US imposed sanctions on ISRO and Glavkosmos saying it voids the Missile Technology Control Regime. After suffering setback in this case ISRO was forced to develop its own cryogenic programme.[9]


The engine was single chamber fueled rocket which could be used as cryogenic engines for launching of spacecraft that could be put in elliptical and geostationary orbits.


KVD-1 was used in following launch vehicles


  1. ^ Brügge, Norbert. "Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)". B14643.de. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
  2. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "RD-56". astronautix.com. Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2013-11-20. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  3. ^ "Двигатель КВД1. Кислородно-водородный блок 12КРБ" [Engine KVD-1. Hydrogen Oxygen unit 12KRB]. kbhmisaeva.ru (in Russian). KB KhIMMASH. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  4. ^ "KVD-1 & S5.92 Brochure" (PDF). KB KhIMMASH. 1998-10-13. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  5. ^ "KVD-1 (left) with its precursor 11D56". ESA. Retrieved 13 May 2023.
  6. ^ V. Rachuk, and N. Titk ov. "The First Russian LOX-LH 2 Expander Cycle LRE: RD0146" (PDF). LPRE Germany. p. 15. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "The long road to cryogenic technology". The Hindu. Chennai. April 21, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS)". justthe80.com. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  9. ^ Laxman, Srinivas (Jan 6, 2014). "India overcame US sanctions to develop cryogenic engine". The Times of India. Archived from the original on January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014.