The Engines That Came In From The Cold - And how The NK-33/RD-180 Came To The USA
The Rocket Engines That Came In From The Cold Mothballed for 20 years they still outperformed contemporary devices

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This is a Channel 4 Equinox Documentary on the history of development of the NK-33 engines that were originally developed for the Soviet N1 moon rocket. The Atlas V RD-180 generation of rocket engines is now applying this 'closed cycle' or staged combustion principle in order to achieve much greater efficiency. Contains rare footage and interviews with veterans of the early Soviet Space program: including Vasily Mishin and Boris Chertok.


shawn melancon : 47:56 I love the way the chief gestures " save your clapping, we're not out of the woods yet"

Bill Roy : A few years ago when I first learned that the US was using Russian rocket engines, I wondered why, and why we're we not using our own. Now I know. I bet there are other things that they could show us. We who are all too often inflated with too much pride.

Negative Root : How relevant this old documentary has just become...

Khadijah Brown : I wish that the West and Russia would cooperate. Hopefully that will come.

tomililama : If the Russian had such technology 40 years ago, what secrets they have today?

Michael McDonald : They could have named this doc. "Several People Surprised by the Fallibility of American Exceptionalism."

Jeffrey314159 : We Americans would have sent men to Mars long before now if Senator Proxmire hadn't gutted funding for manned space exploration in the early 1970's

wetdownunder : Have to say they are 40+ year old rockets. Cutting edge technology back in the 70's.

Pete Moore : Yuri, don't worry, this is very safe.

TarlanT : Space Shuttle was powered by closed cycle engines RS-25. The only difference - RS-25 uses hydrogen. NK-33 uses kerosene.

Chip Olmstead : This is one only example of why I love engineering and hate politics.

sweet p : The American War Machine would like You to Believe that Russia is Our Enemy...If we are not at War the Elite Billionaires are Not making $$

Jerry C : And this is why being at odds is a bad idea. There is no reason the US, Russia, China or any modern countries should ever be at odds. There are problem places on the planet that need to be dealt with, but we should be dealing with those issues as a single united world instead of the US backing this group, Russia backing another group and China watching and waiting to step in should one side or the other back out. If we were smart, the US and Russia would do everything possible to forge closer ties. We need to work together and instead of us sticking our noses in where we shouldn't, we should talk to Russia and find out what their justifications for a given action are. If we don't like it, then we tell them that we disagree and move on. We should never pull the kind of stupid crap that we did with Ukraine. While I am not suggesting that each country share all their secrets with the other, I am suggesting that we should be doing things together as a united group. We should be giving them access to things that will help improve life in Russia and vice versa. The only way forward for humanity, is to work as a united whole. The sooner we realize, accept and act on that, the better off all of humanity will be.

Thomas Robertson : In my opinion dose it really matter who wins the race -kudos too all involved in that indevor

evilforhire : Those of you bemoaning the lack of cooperation by the US, Russia (USSR during the space race) and China etc are completely ignoring the fact that all 3 countries all have vastly different priorities and objectives in regards to nearly every policy topic. Any expectation for these countries to work together in any geopolitical arena of any real or lasting consequence requires both willful ignorance and oversimplification of culture, ideology, philosophy, and policy to the point of outright dishonesty. Is there room for SOME cooperation? Absolutely- but the amount of starry-eyed whining that is routinely present in all of these "space as the final frontier" type comments that are about the lack of international cooperation and resource pooling is not grounded in any sort of realistic geopolitical reality.

Леонардо : The first cosmonaut/astronaut out of earth, the first woman cosmonaut, the first space walk, the fisrt ICBM, the first space station, the first ship orbit around the moon, the first fully oprational probe in venus (95 athmospher pression), the first artificial satelite, the first VTOL plane (Yak-130), the first close-cycle rocket engine, the firts...WTF! Russia Rules!

KaxLon : The irony of Baikonur is the only space port for manned space flight today. I guess the lie of being enemies is just, a lie. I hope we all can work together in a near future.

Sietze van de Burgt : Good inertia thrusters thanks mister chekhov now mister scotty can start his work with them !!! thanks Real life star trek !!!

linlin lixin : Science uniting humanity, politics dividing it. This also makes me doubt and question the moon landings as real.


Arctific : My sense is that winning is not made less significant just because significant competition really exists. The achievement of the Russian engineers should be noted. There is a lot of sweat, ingenuity, determination and persistence there. Would the USA accept both risk and age of a design with the same nerve? Would Aerojet normally plan for 14 test runs? Would we let JPL have that kind of acceptable risk for its learning curve? Would the US Congress really let the US Air Force dare at that level?

Alejandro cristopher de jesus : RD- 180 EXTAORDINARIO COHETE IMPULSOR.

the4armedmonk : High Risk High Reward.


Michael Mills : Sheravania! Disappointed!

Luis Rosano : I almost sure that i saw same documental in spnish. And now i can find it.

Jonathan Day : Had the U.S., U.K. and USSR dropped their delinquent paranoia, pushed their political and social evolution into the 20th century and combined their resources, we'd have a colony on Mars today and outposts on one or more outer planets. Duplicating the effort and halving the brains has only slowed progress and resulted in far more money being spent on weapons intended to never be used by each nation than was ever put into space research by all nations combined.

Rob C : typical equinox doc always very very good the turbo f1 is a seriously good watch .Documentaries for people with an attention span !!

Doctor Bonez : What jet engine uses turbo pumps?

Brian F : Sounds like collusion

Bob Dillahunty : That's a Bosniak rocket, not a Russian one. Russia simply stole the design and refined it a bit, then shelved it. America deserves the true credit for this tech.

Denis Korotkov : cool thnx for sharing

Javier Gomez : 1st March 2001

s thompson : this would be like finding a warehouse of Duesenberg modal J chassis'

Ron / the Netherlands. : when in a near future i have to leave this planet it will be with a russian rocket 🗼very impressed by this docu and what i already though about russian space program is only acknowledged

der analoge : this was my job at European test facilities . don´t needed any more :-(

joro353 : This explains why the US ban on Russian RD-181 engines was lifted despite sanctions and Washington theatrics. I guess they are badly needed to keep the US space program alive. Defense asked Congress to allow Russian rocket engines to be used until 2022.

ingebrecht : Think about government waste. Wow! What kind of goofy government existed that could hide 60 monster rocket engines? Only a dictatorship that pretended to be communism. I built a part and my boss was told to destroy it. My straw boss hid a dozen of them. They were just a template to mount connectors on. Sometimes it's not the high-tech lever but the lowly fulcrum that is important.

Karl Ponte : proud to be russian

kabalu : russians captured the smarter german scientists

biohazard512 : And now the USA want to stop using the Russian motors, because muh patriotism. I bet the launch cost and failure rate of the american space program will . . . skyrocket at that point. Sure everyone thinks SpaceX is cool, but that's what a huge marketing budget will get. Russian rockets are still far more reliable and efficient. If only NASA would/was allowed to co-operate with other space agencies rather than being caught up in useless patriotism, we'd probably be on mars already.

andykab1 : 34:11

andgate2000 : It’s not technology you’s reliability.

Robert Bennett : Do not be afraid to use the term 'Soviet Union'. That is where the engines were developed.

Robert Mould : I wonder how we able to go to the moon with American engine, or our Apollo program was a cash cow for the elite to loot

Roman : I thought it was ironic at 37:05 it was stated that US intercontinental ballistic missile pointed at Russia is now geared with Russian NK 33 closed cycle engine.

Zoro zoro : I would like to put such engines in my car.

Melkorghost : Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

ⵉⵜⵔⵓⵏⴰⵓⵜ : Those engine design are the equivalent of mechanical porn.