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Category of launch vehicles and spacecraft.

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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • JATO American sounding rocket. JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) rockets came in many types and were used to shorten the takeoff of aircraft in short field or overload conditions. They were among the first practical applications of rocketry, and much early development of rocket technology by JPL, Aerojet, Goddard, and others was devoted to JATO applications. More...
  • Katyusha Russian surface-to-surface missile. Unguided rocket built in a variety of calibres and used by the Red Army from 1941 onward. More...
  • Krug Russian surface-to-air missile. Ramjet-powered long-range surface-to-air missile, deployed by the Soviet Union and its allies. More...
  • Lance American short range ballistic missile, which replaced the Little John, Sergeant and Honest John rockets in US Army service in the 1970's. Retired in 1992. More...
  • Honest John American tactical ballistic rocket. Unguided single-stage solid-propellant US Army missile developed by Douglas Aircraft. It was later used as the booster stage for a range of sounding rockets, test vehicles, and targets. More...
  • Nike Hercules American surface-to-air missile. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Hercules Booster + 1 x TX-30 More...
  • Loki American unguided solid-propellant barrage anti-aircraft rocket adapted to use as a meteorological sounding rocket. More...
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Soyuz Russian orbital launch vehicle. The world's first ICBM became the most often used and most reliable launch vehicle in history. The original core+four strap-on booster missile had a small third stage added to produce the Vostok launch vehicle, with a payload of 5 metric tons. Addition of a larger third stage produced the Voskhod/Soyuz vehicle, with a payload over 6 metric tons. Using this with a fourth stage, the resulting Molniya booster placed communications satellites and early lunar and planetary probes in higher energy trajectories. By the year 2000 over 1,628 had been launched with an unmatched success rate of 97.5% for production models. Improved models providing commercial launch services for international customers entered service in the new millenium, and a new launch pad at Kourou was to be inaugurated in 2009. It appeared that the R-7 could easily still be in service 70 years after its first launch. More...
  • S-75 Russian surface-to-air missile. Known in the west as the SA-2 Guideline, this weapon was responsible for the downing of more American aircraft than any missile in history. It was deployed worldwide beginning in 1957, and improvements and updates, many by third parties, continued into the 21st Century. More...
  • Polaris American submarine-launched ballistic missile. Probably the most technically innovative program in history, Polaris integrated solid-propellant, inertially-guided intermediate range ballistic missiles with nuclear submarines that could remain submerged for months at a time. All of these were new technologies, but the first ship was underway only three years after go-ahead. More...
  • Viper American sounding rocket. Single stage sounding rocket developed as a follow-on to the Loki-Dart. More...
  • Terrier Standard US Navy solid propellant two-stage extended-range surface-to-air missile. Developed in the 1950's, in service until replaced by the Standard ER in the 1980's. Modified Terrier missiles were used as sounding rockets, sometimes supplemented with upper stages. More...
  • Black Brant The Black Brant originated in a 1957 Canadian government requirement for a sounding rocket to characterize the ionosphere in order to improve military communications. Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, Manitoba was selected to design the rocket, while the Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) was responsible for the propellant and filling. The prototype was called the Propulsion Test Vehicle. It was a relatively heavy rocket, since it was designed to stand up to the use of a wide range of engine burning time, propellant loadings and launch angles associated with fuel development. The lighter production version of the vehicle was renamed Black Brant. Later versions of Black Brant used a variety of booster and upper stages to supplement the original single-stage vehicle. More...
  • Kosmos 3 Russian orbital launch vehicle. In 1961 Isayev and Reshetnev developed the Voskhod space launch system on the basis of the R-14 IRBM. The initial version of the two stage rocket was designated Kosmos-1. The first 'Voskhod' launch complex was at Baikonur, a modification of one of the pads at the R-16 ICBM launch complex 41. More...
  • S-200 Russian surface-to-air missile. Enormous surface-to-air missile developed by Grushin after the failure of the Dal project. Deployed in limited numbers and exported to countries in the mideast to defend against American high-altitude, high-speed SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft. More...
  • S-300V Russian surface-to-air missile. Mobile, multiple-target, universal integrated surface-to-air missile. The S-300V system can fire either of two versions of the containerised missiles loaded: long range and medium range. These missiles are given different NATO designations. However any mix of the two missiles can be loaded as needed in the vertical launcher cells. More...
  • R-17 Russian short-range ballistic missile. The final refinement of the R-11 design, the R-17, was exported widely and became infamous around the world by its ASCC reporting name - "Scud". It was perhaps the most famous ballistic missile of the post-war period due to its use in the Iran-Iraq 'War of the Cities' and the Gulf War. This was the definitive production version of what was essentially a storable-propellant rocket with the performance of the V-2. The original design was by Makeyev but the missile itself was produced by the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant. More...
  • Rocket belt American test vehicle. In the 1960's Bell Aerosystems caught the public imagination with a series of rocket and jet-powered rocket belts. Rocket belt-equipped fliers became a symbol of the future and a fixture at World Fairs, football games, etc. But the technology was too expensive and limited to ever be adopted for military or civilian terrestrial purposes. More...
  • Patriot American surface-to-air missile. Standard Army surface-to-air missile. Later versions had anti-tactical missile capability. More...
  • S Series of Japanese single-stage sounding rockets designed for low-cost observations of the ionosphere. More...
  • Tsiklon Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. The R-36 ICBM was the largest ever built and the bogeyman of the Pentagon throughout the Cold War. Dubbed the 'city buster', the 308 silos built were constantly held up by the US Air Force as an awesome threat that justified a new round of American missile or anti-missile systems. On the other hand, the Americans were never motivated to build and deploy corresponding numbers of their equivalent, the liquid propellant Titan 2. Derivatives of the R-36 included the R-36-O orbital bombing system, the Tsiklon-2 and -3 medium orbital launch vehicles, and the replacement R-36M missiles. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the design and manufacturing facility ended up in independent Ukraine. Accordingly the missile was finally retired in the 1990's, conveniently in accordance with arms reduction agreements with the Americans. More...
  • Minuteman 2 American intercontinental ballistic missile. US ICBM. 3 stage vehicle. The LGM-30F Minuteman II used the W56 warhead exclusively with either the Mk. 11B or Mk. 11C re-entry vehicle. More...
  • Jericho First Israeli ballistic missile. Developed by Dassualt in France as the MD-620. Test series included both one and two stage prototypes. Follow-on versions were said to have differed. More...
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. Development of the Proton began in 1962 as a two-stage vehicle that could be used to launch large military payloads or act as a ballistic missile with a 100 megaton nuclear warhead. The ICBM was cancelled in 1965, but development of a three-stage version for the crash program to send a Soviet man around the moon began in 1964. The hurried development caused severe reliability problems in early production. But these were eventually solved, and from the 1970's the Proton was used to launch all Russian space stations, medium- and geosynchronous orbit satellites, and lunar and planetary probes. More...
  • MSBS French intermediate range ballistic missile. More...
  • RH Indian solid propellant sounding rocket family using indigenous rocket motors derived from French Belier / Jericho rocket engine technology. More...
  • Minuteman 3 American four-stage solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile. In the 21st Century, the sole remaining US ICBM. More...
  • ALCM Air-Launched Cruise Missile, the major long-range standoff attack missile of the for USAF B-52 bombers. At the end of the Cold War the nuclear warheads were replaced with high explosives. More...
  • R-29 Russian submarine-launched ballistic missile. First intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missile (range 7800 km). First flight 1969. Development completed 1973. The variants of this missile were given three different DoD designations over the years (SS-N-8, SS-N-18, and SS-N-23). More...
  • HPAG American test vehicle. Single stage vehicle. More...
  • MLRS American tactical ballistic rocket. Multiple Launch Rocket System. US Army assault weapon. More...
  • S-300 Russian surface-to-air missile. Third generation family of surface-to-air missiles developed in the 1970's based on new principles. The same launch system could use either 5V55 or 48N6 series missiles, of both mid- and long-range types. More...
  • CZ Chinese orbital launch vehicle. China's first ICBM, the DF-5, first flew in 1971. It was a two-stage storable-propellant rocket in the same class as the American Titan, the Russian R-36, or the European Ariane. The DF-5 spawned a long series of Long March ("Chang Zheng") CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 launch vehicles. These used cryogenic engines for upper stages and liquid-propellant strap-on motors to create a family of 12 Long-March rocket configurations capable of placing up to 9,200 kg into orbit. In 2000 China began development of a new generation of expendable launch vehicles using non-toxic, high-performance propellants with supposedly lower operating costs. However these encountered development delays, and it seemed the reliable Long March series of rockets would continue in operational use for nearly fifty years before being replaced. More...
  • R-36M Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. The R-36M replaced the R-36 in 288 existing silos and was additionally installed in 20 new super-hardened silos. More...
  • UR-100N Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The UR-100N was designed as a replacement for the UR-100 at the end of its ten year storage life. Although it could be installed in the same silos, it was 50% heavier. The competing design of Yangel, the MR-UR-100, was also put into production when the Soviet hierarchy deadlocked and could not pick one design over the other. More...
  • Aries American target missile. Space Vector Corporation developed and flew the Aries test vehicle (based on the Minuteman 1 second stage) for Strategic Defence Initiative payloads. More...
  • Kub Mid-range integral rocket-ramjet Russian surface-to-air missile, widely deployed with Soviet forces and exported to 22 countries. The missile provided one of the great technological surprises in warfare in the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. More...
  • Super Chief American sounding rocket. Series of large sounding rockets developed by Aerojet Space Data using the Talos booster, various upper stages, and Astrobee electronics. More...
  • Hawk American surface-to-air missile. The Hawk was the first mobile medium-range guided anti-aircraft missile deployed by the U.S. Army, and was the oldest SAM system still in use by U.S. armed forces in the late 1990s. More...
  • Tochka Russian intermediate range ballistic missile. Tactical short-range ballistic missile, deployed from 1976. More...
  • Trident American submarine-launched ballistic missile. US Navy submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which superseded the Polaris. More...
  • A-135 Two-tier Russian anti-ballistic missile system for the defence of Moscow, with both endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric interceptor missiles. After protracted development, the system was said to have gone into operation in 1995. More...
  • R-39 Russian submarine-launched ballistic missile. SLBM developed for use on Typhoon subs. More...
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...
  • Topol Russian containerised all-solid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile designed for launch from mobile and silo launchers. Replaced UR-100/UR-100NU in silos. More...
  • JL-1 Chinese submarine-launched ballistic missile. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x DF-21 + 1 x DF-21 St2 More...
  • Zenit Zenit was to be a modular new generation medium Soviet launch vehicle, replacing the various ICBM-derived launch vehicles in use since the 1960's (Tsiklon and Soyuz). A version of the first stage was used as strap-ons for the cancelled Energia heavy booster. But it was built by Yuzhnoye in the Ukraine; when the Soviet Union broke up planned large-scale production for the Soviet military was abandoned (Angara development was begun as an indigenous alternative). Launch pads were completed only at Baikonur; those at Plesetsk were never finished and are planned to be completed as Angara pads. However the vehicle found new life as a commercial launch vehicle, launched from a sea platform by an American/Ukrainian consortium. More...
  • DF-21 Chinese two-stage solid propellant intermediate range ballistic missile. More...
  • VLS Brazilian satellite launcher building on successful family of sounding rockets. More...
  • Oghab Iranian unguided solid propellant artillery rocket, licensed production of Chinese Type 83. Entered service in 1986. More...
  • DF-15 Chinese mobile single-stage solid propellant intermediate range ballistic missile. More...
  • Prithvi Indian single-stage short range ballistic missile. First units deployed in 1995. More...
  • Shavit Israeli all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Satellite launcher derived from Jericho II MRBM, essentially identical to South African RSA-3. More...
  • Agni Indian intermediate range ballistic missile. Two stage ballistic missile consisting of 1 x Agni + 1 x Prithvi More...
  • Abdali Pakistani single-stage solid propellant tactical ballistic missile. Indigenous Pakistani design, developed by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO). More...
  • Pegasus American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Privately-funded, air-launched winged light satellite launcher. More...
  • Nodong North Korean intermediate range ballistic missile. Single stage vehicle, basis for Iranian Shahab 3 and Pakistani Ghauri. More...
  • Arrow Israeli anti-ballistic missile. The Arrow weapon system was a ground-based, ballistic missile defense system designed to protect Israel against ballistic missiles. More...
  • DF-11 Chinese single-stage solid-propellant short range ballistic missile. Export designation M-11, assembled as Ghaznavi in Pakistan. More...
  • M-7 Chinese short range ballistic missile. Surface-to-surface derivative of the HQ-2 air defense missile. US designation is CSS-8. Exported to Iran as Tamdar & Tondar in Iran. More...
  • Maxus The MAXUS micrograviy program was a collaboration between Sweden and Germany. The single-stage vehicle developed for the program used a Castor 4B motor, the largest fired from Western Europe. More...
  • Antey-2500 Russian surface-to-air missile. The Antey-2500 was a new generation of the S-300V, capable of shooting down re-entry vehicles of IRBMs of up to 2500 km range. More...
  • ATACMS II American short range ballistic missile. ATACMS Block II is a derivative of the MGM-140 ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System). The Block II designation applies to ATACMS variants designed to deliver the BAT (Brilliant Anti-Tank) guided submunition. More...
  • Standard-ER American Navy long range surface-to-air missile. Later versions have anti-ballistic missile capability. More...
  • KSR South Korean indigenous sounding and test rocket family, using solid rocket motors and a test vehicle with a liquid oxygen/kerosene motor. Further development of the latter into the KSLV satellite launch vehicle was abandoned in 2005 in favor of licensed Russian technology. More...
  • PSLV Indian third-generation launch vehicle, large enough to carry polar-orbiting earth resources satellites. More...
  • H-2 Heavy lift Japanese indigenous launch vehicle. The original H-2 version was cancelled due to high costs and poor reliability and replaced by the substantially redesigned H-2A. More...
  • Taurus American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and Castor-120 first stage. First launch used slightly larger Peacekeeper ICBM first stage instead of Castor-120. Under a 2002 contract from Boeing, Orbital developed a three-stage version of Taurus to serve as the interceptor boost vehicles for the US government's missile intercept system. The firm portion of the company's contract, awarded in early 2002, was valued at $450 million and extended through 2007. More...
  • THAAD American anti-ballistic missile. Theatre High-Altitude Air Defence. SDIO/BMDO project. Single stage vehicle. More...
  • Hera American target missile. Two stage vehicle used as a target for test of anti-ballistic missile systems. The vehicle consisted of surplus Minuteman 2 second and third stages (SR19AJ1 + M57A1). More...
  • Chinese Supergun In January 1995 the Chinese army unveiled a 21 m long supergun capable of firing large artillery shells into South Korea and Taiwan. The gun could fire 85 mm shells over a 300 km range. Nothing further was heard of the weapon. Interestingly, China was one of the countries that retained Gerard Bull as a consultant in artillery design in the 1980's. It would seem that the supergun retained its military appeal as a psychological weapon or in anti-satellite applications. More...
  • Iskander New Russian tactical ballistic missile, conceived as a follow-on to the Scud. First fired on 25 October 1995. More...
  • Ariane 5 French orbital launch vehicle. The Ariane 5 was a completely new design, unrelated to the earlier Ariane 1 to 4. It consisted of a single-engine Lox/LH2 core stage flanked by two solid rocket boosters. Preparatory work began in 1984. Full scale development began in 1988 and cost $ 8 billion. The design was sized for the Hermes manned spaceplane, later cancelled. This resulted in the booster being a bit too large for the main commercial payload, geosynchronous communications satellites. As a result, development of an uprated version capable of launching two such satellites at a time was funded in 2000. More...
  • Castor 4B American sounding rocket. Single stage vehicle. First launch 1996.07.15. More...
  • SR19 American air-launched target missile. Single stage vehicle consisting of 1 surplus Minuteman 2 SR19AJ1 motor air-dropped from a C-130 transport. Similar to the SVC AltAir concept. More...
  • M-V All-solid Japanese satellite launch vehicle. More...
  • Payload Launch Vehicle American target missile. Launch vehicle using surplus missile motors. PLV was part of the Boeing Lead System Integration (LSI) effort on the National Missile Defense (NMD) program. Lockheed Martin was the manufacturer and prime integrator. PLV used elements first seen on the ERIS program. More...
  • Ghauri Pakistani intermediate range ballistic missile. Derivative of North Korean Nodong. First fired April, 1998. Payload is about 700 kg. Managed by A Q Khan Research Laboratories. More...
  • Taepodong North Korean long-range ballistic missile and satellite launch vehicle consisted of a No-Dong 1 IRBM as the first stage, and a derivative of the Scud-C SRBM as the second stage. More...
  • ait American target missile. The ait vehicles were developed to support the USAF Airborne Intercept Technology program. They consisted of a Minuteman SR19AJ1 first stage (the basic ait version) or Thiokol Castor IVB first stage (designated ait-2), and a Minuteman II M57A1 second stage. A front-end module housed the payloads, the control system, GPS, and inertial guidance electronics. More...
  • Polypheme French tactical ballistic missile. Operational and technical evaluation 1998-2002. More...
  • Excalibur Target System The Canadian-made Excalibur Target System was a boosted dart ballistic rocket whose flight could be tailored to simulate various threats for anti-tactical ballistic missile (TBM) system tests. The solid-propellant launched the dart segment to the necessary angle and velocity for the mission. The dart then separated from the booster. It carried a sophisticated electronic RFSAS Radio Frequency Signature Augmentation System, which electronically enlarged the target's radar cross-section to mimic the larger missile appropriate to the mission. More...
  • DF-31 Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile. Version of JL-2. Mobile, solid propellant, land-based, medium range, three-stage ballistic missile. Basis for the KT-1 light orbital launch vehicle. More...
  • SR19/SR19 American target missile. Three stage vehicle consisting of 2 x MLRS + 1 x SR19 + 1 x SR19 More...
  • Minotaur American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Minotaur was developed for the US Air Force's Orbital/Suborbital Program (OSP) as a low-cost, four-stage Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) using a combination of government-supplied surplus Minuteman II ICBM motors and proven Orbital space launch technologies. The Minotaur 4 version used surplus Peacekeeper rocket stages. More...
  • Atlas V American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas V launch vehicle system was a completely new design that succeeded the earlier Atlas series. Atlas V vehicles were based on the 3.8-m (12.5-ft) diameter Common Core Booster (CCB) powered by a single Russian RD-180 engine. These could be clustered together, and complemented by a Centaur upper stage, and up to five solid rocket boosters, to achieve a wide range of performance. More...
  • GSLV Indian mixed-propulsion orbital launch vehicle for geosynchronous satellites using a Lox/LH2 upper stage developed from Russian technology. More...
  • Orbus American target missile. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x GEM-40 + 1 x Orbus 1 + 1 x Orbus 1 More...
  • KT Family of all solid-propellant Chinese launch vehicles, using the DF-31 ICBM as the basis with new upper or lower stages to achieve a range of payload performances. Following two unsuccessful launches in 2002-2003, the project may have been abandoned. More...
  • Delta IV American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta IV was the world's first all-Lox/LH2 launch vehicle and represented the only all-new-technology launch vehicle developed in the United States since the 1970's. It was the winner of the bulk of the USAF EELV orders and was based on the all-new RS-68-powered Lox/LH2 cryogenic Common Booster Core (CBC). This could be used with new Delta cryogenic upper stages powered by the RL10 engine but unrelated to previous Centaur upper stages. It could be flown without augmentation, or use 2-4 large GEM-60 solid rocket boosters. The heavy lift version used two core vehicles as a first stage, flanking the single core vehicle second stage. More...
  • OBV American anti-ballistic missile. Suborbital booster for the US Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system's EKV ballistic missile kill vehicle. The basic OBV consisted of the upper three stages and guidance system from the Taurus orbital launch vehicle (essentially a wingless Pegasus-XL). The OBV was launched from an open pad; the operational version was to be silo-launched. More...
  • Ghaznavi Pakistani single-stage solid-propellant tactical ballistic missile, a license-built version of the Chinese DF-11. Flown in October 2003, believed to have entered service in 2004. More...
  • LRALT American air-launched target rocket. Air-launched anti-ballistic missile target composed of two surplus SR19 states in tandem. More...
  • GoFast First American civilian sounding rocket to reach outer space. More...
  • Bulava Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. Solid-propellant Soviet intercontinental-range ballistic missile, equipped with multiple independently targeted warheads. More...
  • Falcon 1 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Falcon I was a two stage, reusable, liquid oxygen and kerosene powered launch vehicle. A single engine powered the first stage. It was designed for cost-efficient and reliable transport of satellites to low Earth orbit. First launch of the Falcon I was scheduled for mid-2004 from Vandenberg, carrying a US Defense Department communications satellite. Development delays and problems with USAF clearances for launch from Vandenberg resulted in the first launch attempt being made in 2006 from a private facility at Omelek near Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific. Success was achieved on the fourth launch in 2008. The Falcon 1 was to be superseded by the Falcon 1e, with an extended-tank first stage, from 2010. More...
  • SpaceLoft American sounding rocket. Series of commercial suborbital rockets marketed by Up Industries. Data given is for first-launched prototype. More...
  • S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile. Fourth generation surface-to-air missile system that replaced the Army's S-300V (SA-12) and the Air Defence Force's S-300PMU (SA-10). The system would feature twice the engagement area of the S-300PMU. Initial service was by the end of 2007. More...
  • ASMP French cruise missile. Tactical nuclear. ASMP-A is improved version expected to enter service in 2008. More...

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