Encyclopedia Astronautica
Tsien Spaceplane 1949

Tsien's Rocketplane
Tsien Hseu-Shen's 10 passenger transcontinental rocket transport, 1949.
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned spaceplane. Study 1949. Intercontinental rocket transport, 5,000 km range, single stage winged design clearly derived from V-2 aerodynamics.

In 1949 Tsien Hsue-shen, the leading expert in high-speed aerodynamics working in America, applied the knowledge learned from German rocket developments to the design of a practical intercontinental rocket transport. He proposed a 5,000 km single stage winged rocket clearly derived from V-2 aerodynamics.

The 22,000 kg rocket would carry ten passengers from New York to Los Angeles in 45 minutes. It would take off vertically, with the rocket burning out after 60 seconds at 14,740 kph at 160 km altitude. After a coast to 500 km, it would re-enter the atmosphere and enter a long glide at 43 km altitude. Landing speed was to be 240 kph. Tsien's fundamental theoretical work on this concept lead to him being called the 'Father of the Dyna-soar' (a 1950's/1960's delta winged spaceplane that was the ancestor of the space shuttle).


Crew Size: 10.

Gross mass: 44,000 kg (97,000 lb).
Payload: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb).
Height: 24.05 m (78.90 ft).
Span: 5.76 m (18.89 ft).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Ley, Willy, Rockets Missiles and Men in Space, Viking Press, New York, 1968.
  • Miller, Ron, The Dream Machines, Krieger, Malabar, Florida, 1993.

Tsien Spaceplane 1949 Chronology

1949 During the Year - .
  • Tsien Passenger Spaceplane - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Tsien Spaceplane 1949. Summary: Tsien Hsue-shen proposed a 22,000 kg single stage winged rocket that would carry ten passengers from New York to Los Angeles in 45 minutes..

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