Encyclopedia Astronautica
SSME Study


Notional lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1535.2 kN. Study 1967. Isp=459s.

Thrust (sl): 1,200.700 kN (269,928 lbf). Thrust (sl): 122,443 kgf.

Status: Study 1967.
Thrust: 1,535.20 kN (345,127 lbf).
Specific impulse: 459 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 359 s.
Burn time: 379 s.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Spacemaster American winged orbital launch vehicle. Martin-Marrietta shuttle Phase A design. X-24B type lifting body orbiter with unique catamaran-configuration booster. More...
  • Shuttle FR-3 American winged orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase A of October 1969. Unwinged flat-bottom configuration booster and orbiter with V butterfly-tails. More...
  • Shuttle LS A American winged orbital launch vehicle. Lockheed shuttle proposal phase A of December 1969. X-24B lifting body orbiter with delta-wing booster. More...
  • Shuttle NAR A North American's Phase A shuttle design was completed under contract NAS9-9205 in December 1969. North American had learned that the way to win a NASA design competition was to adhere to the design favoured by Max Faget, so they proposed a two-stage-to-orbit vehicle, with both booster and orbiter being of Faget's straight-wing, low cross-range configuration. More...
  • Shuttle MDC American winged orbital launch vehicle. The McDonnell Douglas Space Shuttle Phase A studies were conducted under contract NAS9-9204. Their baseline Class III vehicle design was completed in November 1969 after 13 alternate configurations had been considered. The two-stage-to-orbit vehicle had a gross mass of 1,550,000 kg and a 11,300 kg payload was accommodated in a 4.6 m x 9.2 m payload bay. More...
  • Shuttle HCR American winged orbital launch vehicle. McDonnell-Douglas/Martin Marrietta shuttle high cross-range proposal phase B of December 1970. Swept wing booster, delta wing orbiter. More...
  • Shuttle LCR American winged orbital launch vehicle. McDonnell-Douglas/Martin Marrietta shuttle low cross-range proposal phase B of December 1970. Swept-wing booster, Faget straight wing orbiter. More...
  • Shuttle DC-3 American winged orbital launch vehicle. Marshall Spaceflight Center shuttle concept of April 1970 using Faget low cross range stub-winged booster and orbiter. More...
  • Shuttle R134C American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell/General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase B, November 1970. Delta wing high-cross range orbiter and booster. More...
  • Shuttle LS200 American winged orbital launch vehicle. Lockheed Skunk Works alternate shuttle proposal of June 1971. X-24B lifting body orbiter with wrap-around external tank. More...
  • Shuttle H33 American winged orbital launch vehicle. Grumman/Boeing alternate shuttle proposal of July 1971. Shuttle orbiter with drop tanks, delta booster. More...

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
  • S Rocket stage used on S launch vehicle. More...
  • Shuttle LS A-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 406,344/104,891 kg. Thrust 6,823.56 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. High-fineness lifting-body configuration. Cross Range 2,419 km More...
  • Shuttle LS200-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,730,803/133,514 kg. Thrust 27,422.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 455 seconds. High-fineness lifting-body configuration. Cross Range 2,419 km More...
  • Shuttle MDC-A-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 335,601/73,442 kg. Thrust 3,070.40 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. HL-10 lifting body configuration More...
  • Shuttle NAR A-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 395,011/121,542 kg. Thrust 5,256.89 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Faget Straight Wing Configuration - Cross Range 2,000 km More...
  • Shuttle R134C-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,764,039/351,538 kg. Thrust 28,824.77 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Delta winged configuration. More...
  • Shuttle LS A-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,225,668/162,494 kg. Thrust 26,076.59 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Delta winged configuration. More...
  • Shuttle R134G-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded mass 1,600,000 kg. Thrust 28,824.77 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds.Delta winged configuration. More...
  • Shuttle MDC-A-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,242,630/220,254 kg. Thrust 18,956.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Delta winged configuration. More...
  • Shuttle R134G-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded mass 380,000 kg. Thrust 4,804.13 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds.Straight winged configuration. More...
  • Shuttle R134C-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 424,449/138,910 kg. Thrust 4,804.13 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Delta winged configuration. More...
  • Shuttle LCR-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,512,381/286,621 kg. Thrust 27,054.52 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Swept wingd configuration. More...
  • Shuttle HCR-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 342,948/129,329 kg. Thrust 4,719.64 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Delta winged configuration. More...
  • Shuttle HCR-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,634,467/304,535 kg. Thrust 29,135.63 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Swept wing configuration. More...
  • Shuttle H33-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 474,199/100,153 kg. Thrust 7,079.45 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Delta wing configuration with drop tanks - Cross Range 1,774 km More...
  • Shuttle H33-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,489,717/224,431 kg. Thrust 24,973.40 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Swept wing configuration. More...
  • Shuttle FR-3-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 388,189/130,159 kg. Thrust 4,549.05 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Trapezoidal lifting body configuration. Cross range 2419 km. More...
  • Shuttle FR-3-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,169,691/234,467 kg. Thrust 30,088.43 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Trapezoidal lifting body configuration. More...
  • Shuttle DC-3-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 199,238/54,422 kg. Thrust 2,940.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Faget Configuration - Cross Range 323 km More...
  • Shuttle DC-3-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 799,537/131,519 kg. Thrust 10,290.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Faget Configuration More...
  • Shuttle NAR A-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,641,723/273,469 kg. Thrust 28,130.19 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Faget Straight Wing Configuration More...
  • Shuttle LCR-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 322,449/120,816 kg. Thrust 4,719.64 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Faget Straight Wing Configuration More...
  • Spacemaster-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 362,812/80,000 kg. Thrust 4,549.05 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Delta Winged, Cross Range 2,742 km More...
  • Spacemaster-1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,224,490/203,342 kg. Thrust 28,082.54 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Unique Catamaran configuration. More...

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