Encyclopedia Astronautica
European Rocketplanes


Category of spacecraft.

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Associated Spacecraft
  • He-112 German manned rocketplane. Flown 1935. The Heinkel He-112 was an unsuccessful pre-war German monoplane fighter, competing for orders with the Bf 109. However it entered rocketry history when tests were conducted with rocket engines. More...
  • Von Braun Rocketplane German manned rocketplane. Study 1939. On 6 July 1939 Wernher von Braun proposed to the German Reich Air Ministry a "fighter with rocket drive". More...
  • Me-163 German manned rocketplane. Flown 1941-1945. The world's first and only operational pure rocket fighter. Awesome performance, but killed more of its pilots than the enemy. More...
  • A9 German manned rocketplane. Study 1944. Manned, winged boost-glide version of the V-2 missile. It would have been capable of delivering express cargo 600 km from the launch point within 17 minutes. More...
  • Lofer Mystery Craft German manned spaceplane. Hardware construction stage, 1945. There exist in US Army postwar files a murky photo of what some think is a large-scale mock-up of the Saenger antipodal bomber, taken in Lofer, Austria after the end of the World War II. More...
  • Nonweiler Waverider British manned spaceplane. Study 1951. The Nonweiler Waverider of the 1950`s was the original caret wing waverider concept. Developed by Professor Terence R F Nonweiler, of Queen's University, Belfast. More...
  • Armstrong Whitworth Waverider British manned spaceplane. Study 1960. The Armstrong Whitworth Waverider study of the 1950`s called for a two-crew waverider spacecraft powered by a second stage atop a British Blue Streak rocket. More...
  • Hawker Siddeley Waverider-1960 British manned spaceplane. Study 1960. An ambitious Blue Streak / Waverider design study was conducted by Hawker Siddeley Aviation in the 1960's. The project was led by Peter A E Stewart, Astronautics Section, Advanced Projects Group. More...
  • RAE Orbital Fighter British manned spaceplane. This Royal Aircraft Establishment Orbital Fighter proposal of the 1960's envisioned a two stage vehicle. A ramjet powered first stage would release a second stage orbiter similar to, but smaller than, the US Dynasoar. More...
  • Saenger I German manned spaceplane. Study 1964. MBB design for a vertical-launch, horizontal landing two-stage winged launch vehicle. More...
  • VERAS French manned spaceplane. Study 1968. A Mach 10 spaceplane demonstrator proposed by Nord Aviation in 1968. More...
  • Hawker Siddeley Waverider-1971 British manned spaceplane. Study 1971. The Hawker Siddeley Waverider study of 1971 laid out a space vehicle with a waveriding airbreathing hypersonic first stage, and a rocket propelled, lifting body second stage. More...
  • Horus German manned spaceplane. Hypersonic Orbital Upper Stage was part of the Saenger-II spaceplane studied in Germany from 1985-1993. It would have separated from the lower stage at Mach 6.6 and flown to orbit. More...
  • Spacecab British manned spaceplane. Study 1990. Six passenger orbiter portion of a two-stage vehicle proposed by David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd. in the 1980`s / 1990's. It would serve as the prototype for the even more ambitious Spacebus. More...
  • Spacebus British manned spaceplane. Study 1990. 50 passenger orbiter portion of a two-stage vehicle proposed by David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd. in the 1980`s / 1990's. More...
  • Ascender British manned rocketplane. Study 1992. The Bristol Spaceplanes Ascender of the 1990's was a sub-orbital manned spaceplane concept proposed by David Ashford. More...
  • Hermes French manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1992. The Hermes spaceplane would have provided independent European manned access to space. Hermes was designed to take three astronauts to orbits of up to 800 km altitude on missions of 30 to 90 days in space. More...
  • Hytex German manned rocketplane. Study 1995. Following the cancellation of Saenger II, Germany briefly considered a manned X-15/NASP type flight test vehicle (HYTEX) capable of Mach 6 flight. This too was cancelled for cost reasons. More...

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