Orbital maneuvering engines

The two orbital maneuvering engines (Russian acronym DOM, also referred to as 17D12) were a further development of NPO Energiya’s 11D58 engine used in the Blok-D, an upper stage for the Proton rocket and later also employed by Sea Launch’s Zenit-3SL. Each having a vacuum thrust of 8.8 tons and a specific impulse of 362 s, they performed final orbit insertion, orbit circularization, orbit corrections, and the deorbit burn, and were also supposed to be activated in certain launch abort scenarios to burn excess propellant. A long-term objective was to use the DOM engines to provide additional thrust during a nominal launch, a technique that NASA introduced with the Shuttle’s OMS engines on STS-90 in 1998.

Usually, only one of the two was required for any given standard burn, with the other acting as a back-up. Simultaneous ignition of both engines was only required in launch emergencies. The DOM ignition process began with a 20-25 second burn of two primary thrusters to force the LOX and sintin out of their tanks. The engine used a closed-cycle scheme, re-routing the gases used to drive the turbopump to the combustion chamber. During each burn the propellant tanks were pressurized with gaseous helium. In order to save helium, gaseous oxygen was used to pressurize the LOX tank for the deorbit burn. The engine nozzles could be gimbaled up to 6 degrees in two axes (pitch and yaw) for thrust vector control. Each DOM was designed to be ignited up to 15 times during a single mission.