Encyclopedia Astronautica

American manned spaceplane. Study 1965. This TRW design of 1965 used a unique concept - a lifting body main stage, that provided both ascent propulsion and re-entry protection.

The main stage was 8.17 m long, had a 4.88 m wingspan, and could accommodate a payload of 24.4 cubic meter volume. The 7300 kg gross weight included a separable manned aircraft of 6.4 m length, which had a delta wing of 62 degrees sweep and a span of 4.05 m. The vertical stabilizers turned down from each wingtip. After the mother ship had re-entered the atmosphere, the manned aircraft would separate at Mach 0.6 and 9150 m altitude. Equipped with a single turbojet, a nosewheel, and aft landing skids, it would proceed to a landing at a conventional airfield. The main stage would descend to earth under a parachute and be recovered for re-use. The whole concept was strikingly similar to Chelomei's Kosmoplan, which was being cancelled in the Soviet Union just as the TRW study was completed.

Gross mass: 7,300 kg (16,000 lb).
Height: 8.17 m (26.80 ft).
Span: 4.88 m (16.01 ft).

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Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • TRW American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. TRW Corporation, Redondo Beach, CA, USA. More...

  • Jenkins, Dennis R,, Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System : The First 100 Missions, Third edition, Voyageur Press, 2001.

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