Encyclopedia Astronautica
Helios Stage 1


Notional lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1667 kN. Study 1960. Engines for booster stage with Lox tanks only to take nuclear second stage to stratosphere. Isp=400s. Helios A, B, C studies.

Status: Study 1960.
Thrust: 1,667.00 kN (374,756 lbf).
Specific impulse: 400 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 340 s.
Burn time: 117 s.

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Associated Countries
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Associated Launch Vehicles
Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

Associated Stages
  • Helios A-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 200,000/10,000 kg. Thrust 6,660.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 400 seconds. Booster stage with Lox tanks only to take nuclear second stage to stratosphere. More...
  • Helios C-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 395,000/18,000 kg. Thrust 12,450.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 400 seconds. Booster stage with Lox tanks only to take nuclear second stage to stratosphere. More...
  • Helios B-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 236,000/14,000 kg. Thrust 7,786.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 400 seconds. Booster stage with Lox tanks only to take nuclear second stage to stratosphere. More...

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