Encyclopedia Astronautica
orbital launch vehicle


Category of launch vehicles.

More... - Chronology...


See also
  • Taurus Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and Castor-120 first stage. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Newton's Orbital Cannon British gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. Isaac Newton discussed the use of a cannon to attain orbit in 1687 in his Principia Mathematica - the very book that defined classical physics and provided the theoretical basis for space travel and rocketry. Newton used the following 'thought experiment' to explain the principle of orbits around the earth (see illustration):

    Imagine a mountain so high that its peak is above the atmosphere of the earth. Imagine on top of that mountain a cannon, that fires horizontally. As more and more charge is used with each shot, the speed of the cannonball will be grater, and the projectile will impact the ground farther and farther from the mountain. Finally, at a certain speed, the cannonball will not hit the ground at all. It will fall toward the circular earth just as fast as the earth curves away from it. In the absence of drag from the atmosphere, it will continue forever in an orbit around the earth. More...

  • Jules Verne Moon Gun French gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. Jules Verne's moon gun, as described in his 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, was located in Florida. Although some errors were made, Verne used real engineering analysis to arrive at the design of his cannon and manned moon projectile. As a result, at the time of Apollo 8 and 11 missions it was noted that Verne had made an astonishing number of correct predictions about the actual missions.... More...
  • Tsiolkovsky Russian orbital launch vehicle. Tsiolkovsky was the first to propose the use of liquid hydrogen and oxygen to propel a rocket, and calculated its performance using the crucial rocket equation V = c ln(Mo/ Me). More...
  • Valier-Oberth Moon Gun German gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. In 1926 rocket pioneers Max Valier and Hermann Oberth, members of the VfR (Society for Space Travel), amused themselves by designing a gun that would rectify Verne's technical mistakes and be actually capable of firing a projectile to the moon. More...
  • A9/A10/A11 German winged orbital launch vehicle. The A11 was planned at Peenemuende to use the A9/A10 transoceanic missile atop the tubby A11 stage to form the basis for launching the first earth satellite - or as an ICBM.... More...
  • A9/A10/A11/A12 German orbital launch vehicle. The A12 has been named as the designation for a true orbital launch vehicle, as sketched out at Peenemuende. It would have been a four-stage vehicle consisting of the A9+A10+A11+A12 stages. Caluclation suggest it could have placed 10 tonnes into low earth orbit. More...
  • Douglas HATV American orbital launch vehicle. The Douglas HATV design of 1946 was laid out by the Douglas engineer William Ballhaus. He proved that there were no obstacles to a single-stage-to-orbit space launch vehicle, as long as pressurized 'metal balloon' tanks were used instead of using aircraft-structure design approaches. More...
  • Martin HATV American orbital launch vehicle. The Martin HATV 1946 design used a single Aerojet engine of unconventional design to achieve single-stage-to-orbit performance. More...
  • NAA HATV North American's HATV proposal was an ogival single-stage-to-orbit vehicle, with tanks made from 18-8 stainless steel. In common with other HATV designs, the tanks had to be pressurized to maintain rigidity. More...
  • World Circling Space Ship American orbital launch vehicle. Rand study of 1946-1947, in response to the Navy HATV, for a three-stage satellite launcher to be in use by 1952. Development funding was not forthcoming. More...
  • HATV American orbital launch vehicle. Significant Navy program begun in 1946 to develop a single-stage-to-orbit satellite launch vehicle. The Air Force blocked Navy efforts to develop it on a joint basis, while at the same time having no interest in the project itself. Work was abandoned at the end of 1948. More...
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...
  • EBH LV German orbital launch vehicle. The EBH (Engel - Bödewaldt - Hanischlaunch) vehicle was a 1949 manned design which would had a gross launch mass of 220 tonnes and delivered a payload of 3 tonnes to a 557-kilometre orbit More...
  • YaKhR-2 Russian nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. First large space launcher considered in the Soviet Union. It would have had the same layout as the R-7, but with six strap-ons increased in size by 50%. The core, igniting at altitude, used a nuclear thermal engine using ammonia as propellant. Dropped in favor of development of conventional chemical propulsion. More...
  • Von Braun 1948 German winged orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun's 1948 design for a reusable space launcher was remarkable in its tubby design. This was partly driven by the need for large parachute cannisters in the base of the first and second stages, which took up one half of the diameter, with the engines arranged around the periphery. More...
  • BIS 3 Stage The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) reusable booster concept of 1950 was a 3 stage, rocket, similar to Von Braun concepts of the time. The third stage was a winged vehicle which would use the skip-glide re-entry technique conceived by Saenger. More...
  • Shuttle ISS American winged orbital launch vehicle. 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. When the decision was made to move the International Space Station to a high-inclination 51.6 degree orbit, net payload to the more challenging orbit dropped to unacceptable limits. The situation was improved by introduction of the Super Lightweight External Tank, which used 2195 Aluminium-Lithium alloy as the main structural material in place of the 2219 aluminium alloy of the original design. This saved 3,500 kg in empty mass, increasing shuttle payload by the same amount. The tank was first used on STS-91 in June 1998. More...
  • Concept ICBM American orbital launch vehicle. The January 1951 design for the Atlas used seven main engines plus two vernier engines to hurl the 3600 kg nuclear warhead over a 9300 km range. CEP was optimistically estimated as 460 m. More...
  • MX-1593 American orbital launch vehicle. The September 1951 design for the Atlas used seven main engines to hurl the 3600 kg nuclear warhead over a 9300 km range. CEP was 1850 m. More...
  • Von Braun 1952 German winged orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun's 1952 design for a reusable space launcher used the same mass and performance calculations done in 1948. However the large parachute cannisters were replaced by deployable drag skirts. This allowed the design to be substantially less squat and more elegant than the 1948 version -- but still fatter than the sleek paintings that appeared in print! More...
  • Von Braun 1956 German winged orbital launch vehicle. In 1956, for the book Exploration of Mars and the Disney television series, the 1952 design was significantly 'down-sized'. The first and second stages were simply reduced to 20% of their former size. A tiny expendable third stage replaced the manned glider. The manned glider itself became a seperate payload, that could be replaced by an 'all cargo' module. More...
  • Proposed Atlas American orbital launch vehicle. The April 1953 design for the Atlas at the time of Convair's proposal used five main engines to power a 200 metric tone rocket able to send a 1400 kg nuclear warhead over a 10,200 km range. CEP was 1850 m. More...
  • Contracted Atlas American orbital launch vehicle. The 1954 design for the Atlas as contracted for by the Air Force used three main engines to power a 110 metric ton rocket able to send a 1400 kg nuclear warhead over a 10,200 km range. CEP was 3700 m. The missile actually delivered six years later would have the same dimensions and launch mass, but 63% more range and four times better accuracy. More...
  • Jupiter A American orbital launch vehicle. The Jupiter A was a modified Redstone missile fitted with Jupiter inertial navigation and control system elements. It also tested Hydyne fuel and other engine modifications for the Jupiter C re-entry vehicle test booster. More...
  • Jupiter C American orbital launch vehicle. Re-entry vehicle test booster and satellite launcher derived from Redstone missile. The Jupiter A version of the Redstone missile was modified with upper stages to test Jupiter re-entry vehicle configurations. Von Braun's team was ordered to ballast the upper stage with sand to prevent any 'inadvertent' artificial satellites from stealing thunder from the official Vanguard program. Korolev's R-7 orbited the first earth satellite instead. The Jupiter C was retroactively named the 'Juno I' by Von Braun's team. More...
  • World Series American orbital launch vehicle. In May 1956 the Air Force proposed mating an Atlas A with an Aerobee-Hi upper stage in order to launch a satellite during the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958). The Eisenhower administration selected the Vanguard instead. After Sputnik, an Atlas B with no upper stage orbited the Score satellite as a reply to the Soviet's Sputnik 3. 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...
  • Thor DM-18 American orbital launch vehicle. Single stage vehicle adapted from Thor IRBM with no upper stage. 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...
  • Orion OLV American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Nuclear-pulse drive launch vehicle seriously developed by General Atomics in the United States from 1955-1965. The design allowed vast payloads of hundreds of tons to be hurled to the planets. By 1958 the Orion team saw themselves in direct competition with Von Braun's chemical rockets. They hoped to a land a huge manned expedition on Mars by 1964 and tour the moons of Saturn by 1970. However politically NASA would not argue for the exception to the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty necessary to allow firing of nuclear explosions in space. More...
  • Kosmos 2 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. In 1960 the Soviet government decreed development of a lightweight launch vehicle for launch of payloads not requiring R-7 family of boosters. A modification of the R-12 IRBM was selected as the first stage; a new high-performance second stage was developed using a unique Lox/UDMH propellant combination. After two failures, the first successful flight was on March 16, 1962. More...
  • Sputnik 8K71PS Russian intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Relatively unmodified R-7 ICBM test vehicles used to launch first two Sputniks. More...
  • Vanguard American orbital launch vehicle. Vanguard was the 'civilian' vehicle developed by the US Navy to launch America's first satellite as part of the International Geophysical Year. The Army / von Braun Jupiter-C instead launched the first US satellite after Sputnik and Vanguard's public launch failure. The second stage design led to the Able upper stage for Thor/Atlas, and then to the Delta upper stage still in use in the 21st Century. The original version of Vanguard used a Grand Central final stage. More...
  • Titan-Vanguard American orbital launch vehicle. The Martin Company proposed to the Department of Defense that the first stage of the Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile be combined with the Vanguard rocket to provide a launch vehicle capable of placing an instrument package into lunar orbit and on the lunar surface. NASA was instead given the mission and used Atlas/Agena and Atlas/Centaur for this purpose instead. More...
  • Super-Jupiter American orbital launch vehicle. The very first design that would lead to Saturn. A 1.5 million pound thrust booster using four E-1 engines - initial consideration of using a single USAF F-1 engine abandoned because of development time. Existing missile tankage was clustered above the engines. More...
  • Thor Able American orbital launch vehicle. Thor with Able stage derived from Vanguard second stage. More...
  • Sputnik 8A91 Russian intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Modified R-7 ICBM used to launch Sputnik 3. More...
  • Project Pilot American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. The US Navy's satellite launcher project competed with the Army's Jupiter-C, the Air Force Atlas, and the civilian Vanguard. Air-launched satellite launch vehicle, and anti-satellite versions, tested by the US Navy shortly after Sputnik. One may have achieved orbit. More...
  • Thor Able I American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Able 1/AJ10-41 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Luna 8K72 Russian orbital launch vehicle. R-7 ICBM with single-engine upper stage used for early Soviet unmanned lunar shots. More...
  • Juno II American orbital launch vehicle. Satellite launcher derived from Jupiter IRBM. Basic 4 stage vehicle consisted of 1 x Jupiter + 1 x Cluster stage 2 + 1 x Cluster stage 3 + 1 x RTV Motor More...
  • Atlas Vega American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas-Vega consisted of an Atlas booster with a storable propellant upper stage. It was planned by NASA at its inception for deep space and planetary missions before the Atlas Centaur was available. Work had already begun when NASA discovered that the CIA and the US Air Force had an essentially identical launch vehicle (Atlas-Hustler, later called Atlas-Agena) in development for the highly classified Corona reconnaisance satellite program. Atlas-Vega was accordingly cancelled. More...
  • Juno V-A American orbital launch vehicle. By 1958 the Super-Jupiter was called Juno V and the 4 E-1 engines were abandoned in favor of clustering 8 Jupiter IRBM engines below existing Redstone/Jupiter tankage. The A version had a Titan I ICBM as the upper stages. Masses, payload estimated. More...
  • Juno V-B American orbital launch vehicle. A proposed version of the Juno V for lunar and planetary missions used a Titan I ICBM first stage and a Centaur high-energy third stage atop the basic Juno V cluster. Masses, payload estimated. More...
  • Project Pilot 1 American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Ground-launched, 5 stage vehicle for Project Pilot. More...
  • Project Pilot 2 American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Six stage vehicle consisting of 1 x F4D-1 Skyray + 2 x HOTROC + 2 x HOTROC + 1 x X-241 + 1 x NOTS 8in + 1 x NOTS 3in Sph. More...
  • Thor Agena A American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Agena A More...
  • Thor Able II American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Able 2/AJ10-42 More...
  • Titan American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...
  • Saturn A-1 American orbital launch vehicle. Projected first version of Saturn I, to be used if necessary before S-IV liquid hydrogen second stage became available. Titan 1 first stage used as second stage, Centaur third stage. Masses, payload estimated. More...
  • Saturn C-2 American orbital launch vehicle. The launch vehicle initially considered for realizing the Apollo lunar landing at the earliest possible date. 15 launches and rendezvous required to assemble direct landing spacecraft in earth orbit. More...
  • Thor Able III American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Able 3/AJ10 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Atlas C Able American orbital launch vehicle. Version with Atlas C first stage, Able AJ10-101A second stage, Altair solid third stage. 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...
  • Atlas Able American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas with upper stage based on Vanguard second stage. More...
  • Hyperion 1958 American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Hyperion was considered in 1958 as a ca. 1970 Saturn follow-on. It used a small jettisonable chemical booster stage that contained chemical engines and the LOX oxidizer for the conventional engines. More...
  • Atlas D Able American orbital launch vehicle. Version with Atlas D first stage, Able AJ10-101A second stage, Altair solid third stage. More...
  • Navaho/X-15 North American proposed several methods of taking the X-15 spaceplane to higher velocities and altitudes. One of these involved the use of one to three Navaho booster rockets, which could even place the X-15 into orbit. This incremental approach to manned spaceflight was not pursued - the Mercury and X-20 Dynasoar programs were favored instead. More...
  • Nova NASA American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Nova vehicle most often illustrated in the popular press and histories. As in other early concepts, this NASA design of 1959/1960 used F-1 engine in both first and second stages. Resulting performance and total liftoff mass was equivalent to later Saturn V. More...
  • Thor Able II M1 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Able 2/AJ10-42 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Saturn B-1 American orbital launch vehicle. Most powerful version of Saturn I considered. New low energy second stage with four H-1 engines, S-IV third stage, Centaur fourth stage. Masses, payload estimated. More...
  • Saturn A-2 American orbital launch vehicle. More powerful version of Saturn I with low energy second stage consisting of cluster of four IRBM motors and tankage, Centaur third stage. Masses, payload estimated. More...
  • Superraket Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. The ancestor of the N1 lunar launch vehicle, this was the first heavy lift launch vehicle actively considered in the USSR. The 2,000 tonne liftoff mass was similar to the later N1 design, but the first stage would use a staggering cluster of around 66 Kuznetsov NK-9 engines (as opposed to the modest 24 NK-15's of the first N1 configuration). The real difference was in the second stage, which used the nuclear YaRD engine, giving the launch vehicle nearly double the later N1's payload capacity. More...
  • Atlas Agena A American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D + 1 x Agena A upper stage. Agena originally called 'Hustler', based on engine for cancelled rocket-propelled nuclear warhead pod for B-58 Hustler bomber. More...
  • Thor Able IV American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x AJ10 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Thor Able-Star American orbital launch vehicle. As Thor Able but with enlarged Ablestar second stage with 2 1/2 x greater burn time. More...
  • Scout American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Solid-fuel, light payload, lower-cost launch vehicle developed by the Air Force and NASA in the late 1950's and used in a variety of configurations over thirty years. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Wallops Island, and from Italy's equatorial San Marco platform off Kenya. Italy studied but did not develop subsequent upgraded versions. More...
  • Thor Delta American orbital launch vehicle. Commercial name for the military's Thor-Delta. The name of the Delta second stage eventually was applied to subsequent commercial follow-ons. More...
  • Vostok 8K72 Russian orbital launch vehicle. 8K72 Luna launch vehicle, third stage modified with larger forward cylindrical section to accomodate Vostok-sized spacecraft. Used only for launch of first few prototype Vostoks. More...
  • Scout X-1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 1B + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares + 1 x Altair More...
  • Caleb American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Heavily classifed project related to air-launched ASAT development. Launch tests in 1958. NOTS project staff believed they successully orbited a satellite but unconfirmed. More...
  • Molniya 8K78 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Four stage derivative of the R-7 ICBM developed on a crash-program basis in 1960 for Soviet lunar and planetary deep space probe missions. The third stage found later use in the Voskhod and Soyuz launchers. By the 1970's mature versions of the launch vehicle were used almost entirely for launch of Molniya communications satellites and Oko missile early warning spacecraft into elliptical, 12-hour earth orbits. More...
  • Thor Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x Agena B More...
  • Vostok 8K72K Russian orbital launch vehicle. R-7 ICBM with single-engine third stage, uprated from Luna launch vehicle and with forward fairing to accomodate Vostok/Zenit sized spacecraft. 8K72K, used for Vostok manned spacecraft launches and the first Zenit launch attempt. More...
  • Helios American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Study by Kraft Ehricke of a vehicle where the booster stage contains liquid oxygen tanks only and takes the nuclear second stage to the stratosphere. The nuclear sustainer then takes the payload to orbit or escape trajectory. More...
  • Nova B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Convair/Ehricke Nova design using standard tank/engine modules of 4.9 m diameter in both first and second stages; 6 F-1 engine/modules in first stage, 6 J-2 engine/modules in second stage. More...
  • Nova C American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova vehicle using Nova A as first two stages, nuclear spacecraft with jettisonable tanks as upper stage. More...
  • Nova 8L Mod American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova concept where first two stages use short Nova building blocks with 2 F-1's in each block. Four used in stage 1, one in stage 2. Typical of early Nova designs with F-1's in both first and second stages. More...
  • Nova D American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova vehicle using Nova B as first two stages, nuclear spacecraft with jettisonable tanks as upper stage. More...
  • Nova 9L American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using clustered small diameter tanks; 9 x F-1 first stage and 4 x F-1 second stage; compared with solid Nova using five six segment solid motors in first stage and four four segment motors in second stage. More...
  • Nova 4S American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using a cluster of 4 x 240 inch solid motors used as first stage; upper stages as Nova 7S and 8L. More...
  • Nova 7S American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using a cluster of 7 x 160 inch solid motors used as first stage; upper stages as Nova 4S and 8L. More...
  • Nova 5S American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using segmented solid motors in first and second stages. Five six segment motors in first stage; four four segment motors in second stage, equivalent to 9 x F-1 first stage and 4 x F-1 second stage. More...
  • Thor Ablestar 2 American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DSV-2A + 1 x Able-Star/AJ10-104D More...
  • Orion Planetary American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The baseline planetary version of Orion would have launched from the earth's surface. It would have been bullet-shaped, 41 m in diameter and about 50 m high. More...
  • R-20 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Glushko booster - 2000t, Korolev I evo delo p. 307 More...
  • R-10 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Glushko booster - 1500t, Korolev I evo delo p. 307 More...
  • Saturn C-4 American orbital launch vehicle. The launch vehicle actually planned for the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous approach to lunar landing. The Saturn C-5 was selected instead to have reserve capacity. More...
  • Titan 3BAS2 American orbital launch vehicle. Configuration of Titan 3B proposed by Martin in mid-1960's. Titan 3B for deep space missions with Centaur upper stage, Algol strapons for liftoff thrust augmentation. Never flown. More...
  • Thor Hydra American orbital launch vehicle. Thor with Hydra liquid oxygen/hydrogen pressure-fed upper stage. Never went beyond initial hardware testing. However such a stage would have vastly increased Thor-Ablestar performance, from 150 kg to over 1000 kg in a medium polar orbit. More...
  • Winged Titan American winged orbital launch vehicle. The only trace of this winged version of the Titan launch vehicle are some drawings in popular magazines ca. 1960. More...
  • Nova 4L American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Earliest NASA Nova design, using only 4 F-1's, capability less than later Saturn designs. More...
  • Blue Scout 2 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Air Force version of Scout used for suborbital and orbital military tests. More...
  • Saturn I RIFT American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. In the first half of the 1960's it was planned to make suborbital tests of nuclear propulsion for upper stages using a Saturn IB first stage to boost a Rover-reactor powered second stage on a suborbital trajectory. The second stage would impact the Atlantic Ocean down range from Cape Canaveral. More...
  • Nova A American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Convair/Ehricke Nova design using standard tank/engine modules of 4.9 m diameter in both first and second stages; 4 F-1 engine/modules in first stage, 4 J-2 engine/modules in second stage. More...
  • Saturn C-3 The launch vehicle concept considered for a time as the leading contender for the Earth Orbit Rendezvous approach to an American lunar landing. More...
  • Atlas Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with improved, enlarged Agena upper stage. More...
  • RAM A American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Employed by NACA-Langley for accelerating aerodynamic models. Could lift 34 kg to 1271 km. 5 stage vehicle. More...
  • RAM American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. More...
  • Saturn C-1 American orbital launch vehicle. Original flight version with dummy upper stages, including dummy Saturn S-V/Centaur (never flown). More...
  • Kosmos 63S1 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. The 63S1 initial production version was used through May 1966 for a total of 40 launches, of which 12 were failures. It was succeeded by the 63S1M prototype for the 11K63 production space launcher. More...
  • Saturn I American orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core,powered by eight Jupiter engines. Originally intended as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. However it was developed so early, no payloads were available for it. More...
  • Saturn C-5 American orbital launch vehicle. Final configuration of Saturn C-5 at the time of selection of this configuration for the Apollo program in December 1961. The actual Saturn V would be derived from this, but with an increased-diameter third stage (6.61 m vs 5.59 m in C-5) and increased propellant load in S-II second stage. More...
  • Astroplane American winged orbital launch vehicle. Martin concept of 1961 for a horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing, single-stage-to-orbit vehicle that would be powered by nuclear magnetohydrodynamic engines. More...
  • Astro IV American orbital launch vehicle. A two-stage all-Lox/LH2 vehicle proposed for the USAF SLV-4 requirement. Ruled out because it did not use the large segmented solids then favored by the USAF and its think tanks. More...
  • Initial UR-500 Russian orbital launch vehicle. While Chelomei's OKB was still preparing the UR-200 draft project, it was proposed to use this as the basis for the UR-500 heavy universal rocket, with five times the payload capacity. These initial 1961 studies consisted of 4 two-stage UR-200 rockets lashed together, the first and second stages working in parallel in clusters. A third stage would be modified from the UR-200 second stage. However analysis indicated that the payload capacity could not meet the military's requirements. More...
  • R-56 Polyblock Ukrainian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. One design approach considered for Yangel's R-56 superbooster of the 1960's was a polyblock design limited to rail transport restrictions (4 x 3.8 m diameter stages clustered together). Although a dynamic test model was built and tested at Tsniimash, Yangel finally reached the conclusion that a monoblock design was clearly superior to polyblock versions. Further work on the polyblock design was abandoned. Tsniimash exhibits in its small museum the 1:10 structural simulation model of the 3.8 m diameter polyblock design. More...
  • SLS A-410 American orbital launch vehicle. The smallest identified member of the SLS family, selected to place the Air Force Lunex lunar lander re-entry vehicle in a low earth orbit for initial tests, was the A-410. This consisted of the 'A' Lox/LH2 stage supplemented by 100-inch diameter solid fuel booster rockets. More...
  • SLS BC-2720 American orbital launch vehicle. The BC-2720 was the member of the SLS family selected to boost the Air Force Lunex lunar lander on a direct lunar trajectory. This would have used four 180 inch solid rocket boosters strapped around an the 'C' Lox/LH2 core vehicle. The core would have required either 12 J-2 engines or 2 M-1 engines. The translunar injection third stage was the 'B', with a single J-2 engine. More...
  • SLS AB-825 American orbital launch vehicle. The AB-825 represented a medium launch vehicle of the USAF 1961 Space Launching System family. The AB-825 would have conducted earth orbit tests of partially-fuelled Lunex lunar lander stages, and also have boosted the Lunex manned glider on circumlunar test flights. It consisted of the 'A' stage and 'B' stages with 180 inch diameter short-length solid fuel booster motors. More...
  • SLS A-388 American orbital launch vehicle. The A-388 was the version of the Space Launching System family proposed to fill the SLV-4 requirement - boost to orbit of the Dynasoar manned spaceplane. The booster was dubbed 'Phoenix' - perhaps a hope it could be rescued from the ashes of the manned space program having been turned over to NASA.... More...
  • Saturn C-4B American orbital launch vehicle. Final configurtion of the Saturn C-4 at the time of selection of the Saturn C-5 configuration for the Apollo program in December 1961. Only Saturn configuration with common bulkhead propellant tanks in first stage, resulting in shorter vehicle than less powerful Saturn C-3. More...
  • Saturn C-3B American orbital launch vehicle. Final configurtion of the Saturn C-3 at the time of selection of the Saturn C-5 configuration for the Apollo program in December 1961. More...
  • Soltan American orbital launch vehicle. The progenitor of the Titan 3 was this design, which used two, 3 segment, 100 inch diameter solid rocket boosters. The 100 inch segmented boosters had already been ground-fired by Aerojet. However the final decision was to develop the more-capable Titan 3C with 5 segment, 120 inch diameter solid rocket boosters. More...
  • Saturn C-5N American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Version of Saturn C-5 considered with small nuclear thermal stage in place of S-IVB oxygen/hydrogen stage. More...
  • Saturn C-3BN American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Version of Saturn C-3 considered with small nuclear thermal stage in place of S-IVB oxygen/hydrogen stage. More...
  • SLS American orbital launch vehicle. In the mid-1950's, US Air Force-funded studies identified the optimum long-term solution for space launch. The studies indicated the desirability of segmented solids for a first stage to achieve low cost, high reliability and flexibility of basic booster size by adding or subtracting segments. Studies further showed that oxygen-hydrogen propellants, with their very high specific impulse, were a preferred choice for upper stages, where mass was more important. This choice also resulted in minimum systems cost. More...
  • Titan C American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan C, a Titan II booster stage topped by a new liquid oxygen/hydrogen upper stage, was the launch vehicle selected in November 1959 for the DynaSoar orbital flight program. Despite the fact the upper stage engine was secretly tested in 1958-1960, after many political twists and turns, it was cancelled in favor of the Titan 3C in July 1961 More...
  • Saturn I Blk2 American orbital launch vehicle. Second Block of Saturn I, with substantially redesigned first stage and large fins to accomodate Dynasoar payload. More...
  • Spiral 50-50 Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. The Soviet Air Force had an enduring interest in a horizontal takeoff/horizontal landing, manned, reusable space launch system that could ferry crews and priority supplies between earth and space on the same basis as conventional aircraft. Between 1960 and 1976 Mikoyan developed this manned partially reusable space launch system. It consisted of a reusable hypersonic air-breathing booster; two expendable rocket stages; and the reusable Spiral manned spaceplane. The effort was never properly funded by the government, and by the mid-1970's had only reached the stage of flight tests of subscale versions of Spiral. Development was discontinued in 1976 in favor of the Buran, a copy of the US space shuttle. However it was resurrected in improved form in the 1980's as the MAKS spaceplane. More...
  • Scout X-1A American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 1B + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares + 1 x Altair + 1 x Cetus More...
  • Scout X-2 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 1D + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Nova 8L American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Most capable NASA Nova design, studied in June 1960 just prior to selection of Saturn for moon landing. Used a three stage configuration of eight F-1 engines in stage 1, two M-1 engines in stage 2, and one J-2 engine in stage 3. Similar to the Saturn C-8 except in the use of M-1 engines. Unlike other modular Nova designs of the time, this one had the unitary stage construction of Saturn. More...
  • Atlas Centaur American orbital launch vehicle. First test version of Atlas with Centaur upper stage. More...
  • Scout X-2M American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 1D + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x MG-18 More...
  • Saturn C-8 American orbital launch vehicle. The largest member of the Saturn family ever contemplated. Designed for direct landing of Apollo command module on moon. Configuration used eight F-1 engines in the first stage, eight J-2 engines in the second stage, and one J-2 engine in the third stage. Distinguishable from Nova 8L in use of J-2 engines instead of M-1 engines in second stage. More...
  • Vostok 8A92 Russian orbital launch vehicle. The 8A92 was a modernized version of the Vostok booster used for launch of Zenit-2 reconnaisance satellites. More...
  • Thor Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x Agena D More...
  • Molniya 8K78L Russian orbital launch vehicle. The Molniya 8K78L was designed by Korolev's design bureau for launching a manned spacecraft on a flyby of the Moon and return to earth. To achieve this it would have used Lox/LH2 engines in the third and fourth stages. Preliminary design was completed on 8 July 1962, but such technology was years away in the Soviet Union and the project was not pursued further. More...
  • Scout X-3A American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair + 1 x Cetus More...
  • RAM B American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares + 1 x Alcor More...
  • Delta A American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x AJ10-118 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Delta B American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x AJ10-118A + 1 x Altair More...
  • Scout X-3 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Aldebaran American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Immense nuclear pulse launch vehicle proposed by Dandridge Cole. More...
  • Douglas Astro American winged orbital launch vehicle. The Douglas "Astro" was a VTHL TSTO system designed for launching space station crews and cargo by the 1968-70 period. A key requirement was that off-the-shelf technologies must be used, e.g. existing M-1, J-2 and RL-10 engines from the Saturn and Nova expendable launch vehicle programs. More...
  • Monoblock UR-500 Russian orbital launch vehicle. During UR-500 design studies, two variants of the first stage were considered: polyblock and monoblock. The monoblock approach was that the first stage be assembled from two separate modules with the same diameter: an upper oxidiser module and a lower fuel and engine block. In assembly trials of this design it proved difficult, because of the height of the first stage, to obtain access to the upper stages and payload atop the rocket. Although there was a payload advantage compared to the more compact polyblock design, this was relatively small and outweighed by the operational difficulties. More...
  • Martin Astrorocket American winged orbital launch vehicle. Early two-stage-to-orbit shuttle study, using storable propellants, Dynasoar-configuration delta wing orbiter and booster. More...
  • N11 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. It was originally planned the N1 would form the basis of a family of launch vehicles that could replace existing ICBM-derived boosters. The N11 would use the second, third, and fourth stages of the N1. This would give it a lift-off mass of 700 tonnes and a 20 tonne payload into low earth orbit. It could replace Chelomei's Proton launch vehicle in the medium-lift role. More...
  • N111 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. It was originally planned the N1 would form the basis of a family of launch vehicles that could replace existing ICBM-derived boosters. The N111 would use the third and fourth stages of the N1, and the second stage of Korolev's R-9 ICBM. This would result in a lift-off mass of 200 tonnes and a five tonne payload. It could replace the R-7 derived boosters (Vostok and Soyuz) in this payload category. More...
  • Nexus American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Early 1960's recoverable launch vehicle proposed by Krafft Ehricke at General Dynamics. Perhaps the largest conventionally-powered launch vehicle ever conceived, it was designed to deliver 900 tonnes to low earth orbit. More...
  • Scout X-2 1C American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 1C + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair More...
  • Polyblock UR-500 Russian orbital launch vehicle. UR-500 design studies considered two variants of the first stage: polyblock and monoblock. The polyblock variant consisted of a centre large diameter oxidizer tank surrounded by several smaller diameter fuel tanks. This version could be assembled in a special rig with the lateral blocks being sequentially mounted on the centre. In January 1962 this design was chosen as most advantageous, following studies that indicated improved wind loads and bending moment characteristics compared to the monoblock design. The developed version of the design would become known as the Proton. More...
  • RBSS American winged orbital launch vehicle. The Recoverable Booster Space System was a plan circulated in the early 1960's to use the XB-70 as a recoverable supersonic first stage for a range of systems. The XB-70 would be capable of orbiting a 6800 kg payload, or an X-20 manned space glider. More...
  • SK-100 Ukrainian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. In 1962 Yangel produced his first design for a large clustered rocket. The SK-100 would have clustered seven R-16 ICBM first stages in order to put 100 metric tons into earth orbit. The concept was abandoned for the simpler R-56 design. More...
  • Sea Dragon American sea-launched heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Sea Dragon was an immense, sea-launched, two-stage launch vehicle designed by Robert Truax for Aerojet in 1962. It was to be capable of putting 1.2 million pounds (550 tonnes) into low Earth orbit. The concept was to achieve minimum launch costs through lower development and production costs. This meant accepting a larger booster with a lower performance propulsion system and higher stage dead weight then traditional NASA and USAF designs. More...
  • UR-700 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The UR-700 was the member of Vladimir Chelomei's Universal Rocket family designed in the 1960's to allow direct manned flight by the LK-700 spacecraft to the surface of the moon. However Korolev's N1 was the selected Soviet super-booster design. Only when the N1 ran into schedule problems in 1967 was work on the UR-700 resumed. The draft project foresaw first launch in May 1972. But no financing for full scale development was forthcoming; by then it was apparent that the moon race was lost. More...
  • X-15/Blue Scout American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. In March 1962, NASA proposed an orbital launch vehicle using the B-52/X-15 combination. A Blue Scout booster would be fitted to an extendable launch rail on the belly of the X-15. The X-15 would be air-launched from the B-52, and then itself air-launch the Blue Scout well above the earth's atmosphere. More...
  • Martlet Canadian gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. In 1962-1967 Canada's Gerard Bull led development of the Martlet system for gun-launched access to space. The program was cancelled before the objective of gun launch to orbit was attained. More...
  • Scout X-3M American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x MG-18 More...
  • N1 1964 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle for the N1-L3 lunar landing mission as described in the draft project of 1964. Design requirement for the single-launch lunar-orbit-rendezvous lunar landing was 2750 tonnes liftoff mass and 95 tonnes low earth orbit payload. The actual N1 that flew in 1969 to 1972 had lighter first and third stages, but never demonstrated a full fuel load using superchilled propellants as planned in the draft project.. More...
  • Scout X-4 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair 2 More...
  • Atlas Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with further improved and lightened Agena upper stage. More...
  • Lambda Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. All solid-propellant vehicle, Japan's first satellite launcher. The L-4S project simulated the procedures and demonstrated the capabilities required for orbital satellite launch essential to the follow-on Mu project. More...
  • Scout X-2B American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 1D + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair 2 More...
  • Sputnik 11A59 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Two stage version of Vostok 11A57. Used for flight test of prototype Chelomei ASAT after cancellation of UR-200 booster and before availability of Tsiklon. More...
  • Voskhod 11A57 Russian orbital launch vehicle. The 11A57 took the large third stage originally developed for the 8K78 interplanetary probe projects and applied it to increasing R-7 low earth orbit performance. It was primarily designed to launch the Zenit-4 reconnaisance satellite, but was also used for the Voskhod manned flights and later for a variety of other Zenit series versions. More...
  • Thor Delta C American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DSV-2A + 1 x Delta D + 1 x Altair 2 More...
  • Aerospaceplane American winged orbital launch vehicle. Development project from 1958-1963 for a horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing, single-stage-to-orbit vehicle that would carry three crew and additional paylaod from any airfield to orbit and back More...
  • Astro American winged orbital launch vehicle. Douglas design of the early 1960's for a two-stage-to-orbit, winged, recoverable vehicle. Two versions were envisioned - a preliminary one the size of a DC-8 and a monster vehicle capable of delivering one million pounds payload to orbit. It was assumed at this scale that Lox/LH2 vehicles could achieve stage propellant mass fractions of 88% to 86%. More...
  • Berenice Satmos French orbital launch vehicle. In April 1963, ONERA proposed using a modified Berenice suborbtial test vehicle to place a small 3.5 kg satellite ('Satmos') into a 250 x 1800 km orbit. They claimed this booster could be ready in 1964, one year before Diamant. However the given the marginal growth potential of such a design, the government decided to stick with Diamant. More...
  • CNES Shuttle 1963 French studies in the 1960's were supervised by the French Space Agency, CNES, and developed along two paths. Path 1 was a manned hypersonic booster stage, with upper stages coming in manned or unmanned variants according to the mission. Path 2 was more conservative, with either the Path 1 booster or an expendable booster launching a small re-entry vehicle - a 'Space Taxi'. More...
  • DAC Helios ISI American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. As the basic design, but featuring an Improved Specific Impulse chemical stage that used many engines feeding into single large nozzle. More...
  • DAC Helios American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono 1963 concept for a chemical-boosted / nuclear upper stage launch vehicle, designed as alternatives to the Convair/Ehricke Helios. The baseline version used a nuclear, recoverable upper stage boosted above the atmosphere by a minimum chemical stage. More...
  • Lockheed RTTOCV American sled-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Lockheed's HTHL TSTO spaceplane concept from 1963, an outgrowth of an earlier USAF study with Hughes. The fully reusable orbiter would have been carried by a sled-launched booster rocket rocketplane. More...
  • Nova MM S10R-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Reusable single stage to orbit Nova using cylindrical shape, 24 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been June 1978. More...
  • Nova MM T10EE-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; expendable first stage with 18 modules exhausting to a 10% length plug nozzle; expendable second stage with 2 CD module engines. Operational date would have been November 1976. More...
  • Nova MM T10RE-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; reusable first stage with 18 modules exhausting to a 10% length plug nozzle; expendable second stage with 2 CD module engines. Operational date would have been January 1977. More...
  • Nova MM S10E-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Expendable single stage to orbit Nova using cylindrical shape, 24 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been October 1977. More...
  • Nova MM R10E-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Expendable version of most exotic Martin Nova vairant; single stage to orbit, 30 cd module air augmented engines in annular shroud. Operational date would have been October 1980. More...
  • Nova MM R10R-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Reusable version of most exotic Martin Nova vairant; single stage to orbit, 30 cd module air augmented engines in annular shroud. Operational date would have been October 1980. More...
  • Nova MM T10RR-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; reusable first stage with 24 modules exhausting to a zero length plug nozzle; reusable second stage with a toroidal plug nozzle engine. Operational date would have been December 1976. More...
  • Nova MM S10E-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Expendable single stage to orbit Nova using conical shape, 30 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been November 1977. More...
  • Nova MM S10R-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Reusable single stage to orbit Nova using conical shape, 30 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been July 1978. More...
  • N11 1963 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. A military variant of the N-11 which would use a powerful third stage, probably derived from the first stage of the 8K713 GR-1, to put up to 24 tonnes in low earth orbit. This was a competitor with Chelomei's UR-500K, which was selected instead for the heavy military payload mission. More...
  • Nova MM T10RR-3 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; reusable first stage with 18 modules exhausting to a 10% length plug nozzle; reusable second stage with 2 CD module engines. Operational date would have been July 1977. More...
  • Nova MM 33 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova single stage to orbit design with 24 new high pressure LH2/Lox engines in the first stage in a plug nozzle arrangement. Operational date would have been April 1975. More...
  • Nova MM 34 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova 1 1/2 stage design with 4 new 3 million kgf LH2/Lox engines in the jettisonable booster section and a single 3 million kgf sustainer. Operational date would have been June 1976. More...
  • N1 Nuclear A Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. A version of the N1 with a nuclear upper stage was studied by Korolev in 1963. It was concluded that the optimum design would allow a single N1 to launch a direct manned lunar landing and return. However for manned Mars missions, a nuclear electric engine was found to be much more efficient. This essentially killed further consideration of thermal nuclear upper stages within the bureau. More...
  • Nova MM 14A American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using 4 300 inch solids as first stage, 5 M-1 in second stage. Operational date would have been April 1973 More...
  • N1 Nuclear V-B Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. N1 with nuclear upper stage. This variant of the Type V nuclear engine used a very heavy radiation shield to protect the crew of any manned spacecraft payload. More...
  • Nova MM 14B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using 4 280 inch solids as first stage, 4 M-1 in second stage. Operational date would have been February 1973 More...
  • Nova MM 1B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using existing engines; 14 F-1A in the first stage, 2 M-1 in the second. Operational date would have been December 1972 More...
  • Nova GD-B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using existing engines. Recoverable engine package; separation at 3,398 m/s at 76,200 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 7 30 m diameter parachutes 1300 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova-1 DAC American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono design for Nova using Lox/RP-1 in first stage, existing engines. More...
  • Nova-2 DAC American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono design for Nova using LH2/Lox in both stages. More...
  • Nova MM 1C American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using existing engines; 18 F-1A in the first stage, 3 M-1 in the second. Operational date would have been February 1973 More...
  • Nova GD-E American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using 325 inch solid motors as first stage, M-1 engines in second stage. Recoverable solid motors, separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange. Recovery of solid motors forshadowed same approach on shuttle 15 years later. Masses estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova GD-F American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using new 3.5 million kgf Lox/Kerosene engines in first stage. Recoverable stage; separation at 3,365 m/s at 89,300 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 8 46 m diameter parachutes 1300 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • N1 Nuclear AF Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. A variant of the first alternative considered in the 1963 nuclear N1 study. This was a 'high thrust' version of the Type A engine - apparently with higher propellant rate, lower specific impulse, and lower engine weight. Due to the very low density of the enormous liquid hydrogen upper stages, these immense vehicles would have been very ungainly (and had interesting stress problems during ascent!) More...
  • Nova MM 24G American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using new high pressure LH2/Lox engines; 18 in the first stage in a plug nozzle arrangement, 2 in the second. Operational date would have been December 1974. More...
  • Nova GD-H American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using 1 1/2 stage arrangement and new 2.4 million kgf Lox/LH2 engines. Recoverable booster 4 engine package would separate at 2,980 m/s at 87,800 m altitude; splashdown under 4 46 m diameter parachutes 1,000 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova DAC ISI American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono design for Nova using LH2/Lox in both stages. Improved Specific Impulse chemical stage uses many engines feeding into single large nozzle. More...
  • Nova GD-J American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using recoverable Lox/RP-1 stage of ballistic shape with 3 million kgf engines; separation at 3,420 m/s at 93,900 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 7 parachutes 1340 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • North American Air Augmented VTOVL North American Aviation's air-augmented vertical takeoff & landing single-stage-to-orbit RLV from 1963 would have used external burning ramjets which, according to preliminary studies would reduce the gross liftoff mass of a VTVL SSTO by up to 30%. More...
  • N1 Nuclear V Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Second primary alternative considered for the 1963 nuclear N1 study. The immense liquid hydrogen tank of the second nuclear stage would have dwarfed the N1 first stage mounted below it in the shadows. The extremely poor thrust to weight ratio of the Type V engine design compared to that of the Type A remains unexplained. More...
  • NAA RTTOCV NASA awarded a "Reusable Ten Ton Orbital Carrier Vehicle" contract worth $342,000 to North American Aviation. The final concept from 1963 was quite similar to Lockheed's System III design. The launch capability was 11,340 kg (25,000 lb) and the standard payload would have consisted of a small lenticular 12-man orbital transfer vehicle spaceplane for space station logistics and crew transfer. More...
  • OOST ISI American SSTO orbital launch vehicle. Alternate version of OOST using Improved Specific Impulse approach: many engines feeding into single large nozzle. More...
  • OOST American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Bono's earliest design for an expendable single-stage-to-orbit LH2/Lox booster. The baseline version used conventional engines. More...
  • RITA C American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Nuclear single-stage-to-orbit booster. More...
  • ROOST ISI American SSTO orbital launch vehicle. Bono's first design for a reusable single stage to orbit LH2/Lox booster, using Improved Specific Impulse approach: many engines feeding into single large nozzle. More...
  • RAE TSTO British winged orbital launch vehicle. The Royal Aircraft Establishment Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) Concept of the 1960's consisted of a hypersonic air-breathing first stage and rocket powered second stage. More...
  • Recoverable Booster Systems for Orbital Logistics American winged orbital launch vehicle. Lockheed investigated the economics of reusable launch vehicles for crews and light space station cargo during the early 1960s. Anticipated manned space activities in the 1970s included a two-phase Earth-orbital space station program, a lunar base, an early Mars mission, plus later Mars/Venus missions. Lockheed proposed four possible launch systems to support the scenario, ranging from System I, a 6-man Apollo CSM/Saturn-IB vehicle, to a fully reusable System IV with a ramjet-rocket booster. More...
  • ROOST American SSTO orbital launch vehicle. Bono's first design for a reusable single stage to orbit LH2/Lox booster, using conventional engines. More...
  • Soyuz 11K55 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of the Soyuz launcher envisioned for the cancelled Soyuz B translunar rocket stage. More...
  • Soyuz 11K56 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of the Soyuz launcher envisioned for the cancelled Soyuz V tanker spacecraft. More...
  • Winged Saturn V In June 1962 NASA funded studies with several contractors on Operations and Logistics for Space Stations. North American's study was dated 18 March 1963. The second alternative was a two-stage reusable booster derived from the Saturn V. This would boost either an 11,400 kg cargo, or a half-disc lifting body spaceplane, which would accommodate two crew plus ten passengers and minor cargo More...
  • N1 1962 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Final configuration of the N1 at the time of development go-ahead in 1962. The 75 tonne payload was to consist of the Raskat dispenser, which would have delivered 17 multi-megaton nuclear warheads, essentially destroying the United States in a single launch. The design also supported the OS-1 heavy space station and TMK manned Mars flyby requirements - as opposed to any manned lunar landing project. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya, in variants with Blocks ML, 2BL, or SO-L third stages according to payload. More...
  • N1 1969 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...
  • Thor DSV-2G American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x AJ10-118 More...
  • Titan II GLV American intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Version for launch of Gemini manned spacecraft. Developed in parallel with ICBM version. Differed in having redundancy features in systems and MDS (Malfunction Detection System) installed. More...
  • Diamant French orbital launch vehicle. In December 1961 France decided to demonstrate an indigenous satellite-launch capability, using stages in development for its ballistic missile program. Following careful evolutionary development, Diamant was successful on its first attempt in 1965. Improved versions were flown over the next ten years. More...
  • Rubis French orbital launch vehicle. Two-stage test vehicle consisting of 1 x Agate + 1 x P064. It was designed to test the upper stage and payload elements of the Diamant orbital launcher. These included fairing jettison, spin-up, release, and ignition of the P064 final stage. Six launches were used to validate the design and led to the success of the Diamant on its first flight. The last four launches were made on behalf of CNES to validate payloads for the D1 satellite and carry scientific instruments for the Paris Observatory and Max Planck Institute. More...
  • Emeraude VE121 French orbital launch vehicle. Emeraude was a step toward larger liquid propellant launch vehicles, building on the Veronique and Vesta experience. It burned 12.8 tonnes nitric acid/turpentine pressure-fed propellants in 91 seconds. Tthe engine was gimbaled for pitch and yaw control, with aerodynamic fins controlling roll. In anticipation of the next step, Saphir, a dummy Topaze stage topped the vehicle to confirm aerodynamic characteristics. The first three launches were failures due to propellant sloshing. This was remedied in the later tests. More...
  • Scout X-4A American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair 2 + 1 x Cetus More...
  • Kosmos 65S3 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Prototype of light satellite launcher using as a first stage the Yangel R-14 (8K65) IRBM. The protoype system was launched eight times before production was handed over to the Krasnoryarsk Machine Factory. More...
  • Delta D American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta D + 1 x Altair 2 More...
  • Vostok 8A92M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Second generation space systems required injection of lighter but higher-altitude Meteor and other satellite payloads into sun-synchronous orbits. The 8A92M version was developed for this purpose. First use was the Meteor launch on 29 June 1977. More...
  • Titan 3A American orbital launch vehicle. Titan with Transtage third stage. Core for Titan 3C. More...
  • Scout X-3C American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor + 1 x Antares 2 More...
  • Saturn V American orbital launch vehicle. America's booster for the Apollo manned lunar landing. The design was frozen before a landing mode was selected; the Saturn V could be used for either Earth-Orbit-Rendezvous or Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous methods. The vehicle ended up with the same payload capability as the 'too large' Nova. The basic diameter was dictated by the ceiling height at the Michoud factory selected for first stage manufacture. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M 2BL Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya variant with Blok-2BL upper stage for placement of Oko early-warning satellites into Molniya-class orbits with apogees of 38,000 km. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M ML Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya variant with Blok-ML upper stage for placement of communications satellites into Molniya-class orbits with apogees of 38,500 km. More...
  • Mustard The British Aircraft Corporation "Multi-Unit Space Transport And Recovery Device" design of 1964-1965 was a winged two-stage-to-orbit reuseable space shuttle using the 'triamese' concept. The three components of the design were lifting bodies with a configuration similar to the American HL-10 vehicle. BAC sought to reduce development cost by use of two boosters nearly identical to the orbiter vehicle. More...
  • Nova American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova was NASA's ultimate launch vehicle, studied intently from 1959 to 1962. Originally conceived to allow a direct manned landing on the moon, in its final iteration it was to put a million-pound payload into low earth orbit to support manned Mars expeditions. It was abandoned in NASA advanced mission planning thereafter in favor of growth versions of the Saturn V. More...
  • Reusable Orbital Carrier American sled-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. The Reusable Orbital Carrier (ROC) was a 1964 Lockheed study of a sled-launched HTHL TSTO. The booster's rocket engines would burn liquid oxygen and jet fuel while small turbojets would be used for landing approach. The 2nd stage orbiter rocketplane would make an unpowered glide return and landing. LOX, LH2 rocket propulsion would be used on the second stage. The gross liftoff weight would be about 453t and the vehicle could deliver ten passengers+3000kg to a space station. Alternatively, an unmanned 11,340kg payload could be carried. More...
  • Rombus American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Bono original design for ballistic single-stage-to-orbit (not quite - it dropped liquid hydrogen tanks on the way up) heavy lift launch vehicle. The recoverable vehicle would re-enter, using its actively-cooled plug nozzle as a heat shield. More...
  • Saturn V 2 American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage version of Saturn V, consisting of 1 x Saturn S-IC + 1 x Saturn S-II, used to launch Skylab. More...
  • SLV-3 D4 Indian all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x SLV-3-1 + 1 x SLV-3-2 + 1 x SLV-3-3 + 1 x AS-4 More...
  • Thor MG-18 American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x MG-18 More...
  • Martlet 4 Canadian gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. The Martlet 4 was ultimate goal of the HARP program - a gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. Two versions were considered: a preliminary version with two solid propellant upper stages, and a later model with two liquid propellant upper stages. Payload of the liquid propellant version would have reached 90 kg. The initial version was in an advanced stage of suborbital flight test when the HARP program was cancelled in 1967. More...
  • Thor Burner 1 American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x FW4S More...
  • Titan 3C American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3A with five segment solid motors. Man-rated design originally developed for Dynasoar spaceplane. More...
  • Saphir French orbital launch vehicle. Saphir was the penultimate step in the 'precious stones' series. The variants of the two-stage vehicle were designed to allow testing of radio-controlled guidance (VE231P), inertial guidance (VE231G), and warhead separation and re-entry of an ablative RV (VE231R). Addition of a third stage would transform Saphir into the Diamant satellite launcher. More...
  • UR-500 Russian orbital launch vehicle. The original UR-500 two stage configuration was designed as a monster ICBM. It was flown four times from 1965, but never deployed as an operational missile. The design was succeeded by three and four stage versions for launching of large payloads into space. 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...
  • Scout B American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2B + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x FW4S More...
  • Titan 3M American orbital launch vehicle. Man-rated launch vehicle designed for MOL and other missions of the 1970's. Malfunction Detection System initiated abort procedures during launch. Also suited for launch of 'bulbous and lifting body payloads'. 7 segment UA1207 motors developed but not used until Titan 4 in 1990's. Cancelled with MOL program in 1969. More...
  • Kosmos 11K63 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Series production version of satellite launcher based on Yangel R-12 IRBM. Succeeded 63S1M prototype from 1965, using same 'Dvina' launch complex. From March 16, 1967 orbital launches from Plesetsk were from the purpose-built 'Raduga' launch complex LC133. Total of 123 launches, of which 8 were failures. More...
  • Delta E American orbital launch vehicle. Thor augmented with 3 x Castor 2 motors with Delta E and Altair 2 upper stage. More...
  • Diamant A French orbital launch vehicle. Diamant development could be done relatively quickly using stages and systems being developed for strategic missiles. In May 1962 CNES selected DMA as program manager, with SEREB as the prime contractor. The Diamant orbital launch vehicle was created by replacing the payload of the existing Saphir test vehicle with a new third stage. Prior to any all-up satellite launch attempt the P064 third stage was flight tested on the smaller suborbital Rubis test vehicle. This evolutionary approach paid off. More...
  • Scout A American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. All-solid low cost lightweight launch vehicle. More...
  • Vostok 11A510 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of R-7 launch vehicle with Vostok second stage and unknown third stage used only twice to launch prototype RORSATs. These satellites were originally to have been launched on the cancelled UR-200 launcher, and operational satellites used Tsyklon-2 launchers. More...
  • Kosmos 63S1M Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Modernized version of 63S1 initial configuration of the first Kosmos launcher and the prototype for the production 11K63 launch vehicle. Suborbital launches from Plesetsk from 1965 at from the modified R-12 silo 'Dvina'. Flown only a few times in 1965-1967. Succeeded by the 11K63 production model launched from the 'Raduga' complex. More...
  • N-IM 1965 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IM would mark an tremendous increase in vehicle size and was the ultimate pure liquid oxygen/kerosene version considered. The first stage engines would be increased to 250 tonnes thrust, without reducing reliability, through use of higher engine chamber pressure. Propellant load in the first stage would be almost doubled. Second stage engine thrust would increase to 280 tonnes each and the second and third stages again enlarged. More...
  • N-IF 1965 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IF would be the first follow-on version with increased performance. The first stage engines would be increased in thrust from an average of 150 tonnes to 175 tonnes, and those in the second stage from 150 tonnes to 200 tonnes. The second and third stages would be substantially enlarged. More...
  • N-IFV-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Then N-IFV-III would add the Block V-III cryogenic third stage to the first and second stages of the N-IF. More...
  • N-IUV-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IUV-III would replace the N-IU's conventional third stage with a LOX/LH2 cryogenic third stage. This was seen at the time as the first step in exploitation of cryogenic technology in Russia. Although pursued for some time, this large stage never went into development. The more modestly-sized Block R, Block S, and Block SR instead were put into development in the early 1970's. More...
  • N-IFV-II-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. N-IFV-II, III would use only the first stage from the N-1F, and use new cryogenic second and third stages. This cryogenic second stage seems not to have been pursued beyond the study phase. More...
  • N-IMV-II-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. N-IMV-II, III was the ultimate conventionally-powered N1 ever considered. It paired the monster N-1M first stage with new cryogenic second and third stages. Both liftoff thrust and payload of this vehicle would have been double that of the American Saturn V. More...
  • N-IMV-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Then N-IMV-III would add the Block V-III cryogenic third stage to the first and second stages of the N-IM. This provided the second-highest performance of the variations considered and would certainly have been cheaper than the N-IFV-II, III. More...
  • N-IU Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IU would be the initial production version of the N1 following the mad rush to make the lunar landings. It would have essentially the same payload but would be substantially re-engineered for sharply improved reliability, most notably with autonomously operating engines. It is interesting to note that four years before the disastorous first flight Korolev already foresaw the potential engine problems that would be the downfall of the project. More...
  • Scout B 2A American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2A + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x FW4S More...
  • Orion Saturn V American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The final iteration of the Orion design was a nuclear pulse propulsion module launched into earth orbit by a Saturn V. The 100 tonne unit would have had a diameter of 10 m to match that of the booster. This would limit specific impulse to 1800 to 2500 seconds, still two to three times that of a nuclear thermal system. More...
  • R-56 Ukrainian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The R-56 was Yangel's ultimate superbooster design. Trade studies begun in 1962 resulted in a conventional tandem stage design capable of being transported on the Soviet canal system from the factory to the launch site, while still placing 40 metric tons into low earth orbit. However various Soviet government factions favored the much larger (and less practical) Korolev N1 or Chelomei UR-700 designs. Yangel made one last attempt to convince the government to sponsor a common approach to the lunar program, with different design bureaus concentrating on just one part of the mission, as the American's were doing. But his practical solutions obtained no traction, and further work on the R-56 was abandoned. More...
  • RAE Orbital Fighter British winged orbital launch vehicle. The 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 U.S. X-20 Dyna-Soar. The spaceplane would utilise a gliding re-entry to return to earth. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-4(S) American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. Saturn V core, strengthened but not stretched, with 4 Titan UA1205 strap-on solid rocket boosters. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-1 American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. Improved Saturn V configuration studied under contract NAS8-11359. Saturn IC stretched 240 inches with 5.6 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1A engines; S-II stretched 41 inches with 1.0 million pounds propellant and 5 J-2 engines; S-IVB strengthened but with standard 230,000 lbs propellant, 1 J-2 engine. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-2 American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. Saturn IC stretched 240 inches with 5.6 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1A engines; S-II stretched 41 inches with 1.0 million pounds propellant and 5 J-2 engines; S-IVB stretched 198 inches with 350,000 lbs propellant, 1 HG-3 engine. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-3 American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. Ultimate core for improved Saturn V configurations studied under contract NAS8-11359. Saturn IC stretched 240 inches with 5.6 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1A engines; S-II stretched 156 inches with 1.2 million pounds propellant and 5 HG-3 engines; S-IVB stretched 198 inches with 350,000 lbs propellant, 1 HG-3 engine. More...
  • Saturn INT-05 American orbital launch vehicle. NASA Study, 1965: Half length 260 inch solid motor with S-IVB upper stage. More...
  • Saturn INT-27 American orbital launch vehicle. UA study, 1965. Saturn variant using various combinations of 156 inch rocket motors as first and second stages, with S-IVB upper stage. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-1A American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. Saturn IC stretched 240 inches with 5.6 million pounds propellant and 6 F-1 engines; S-II stretched 156 inches with 1.2 million pounds propellant and 7 J-2 engines; S-IVB stretched 198 inches with 350,000 lbs propellant, 1 J-2 engine. More...
  • Saturn INT-05A American orbital launch vehicle. UA Study, 1965: Full length 260 inch solid motor with S-IVB upper stage. More...
  • Saturn IB-A American orbital launch vehicle. Douglas Studies, 1965: S-IB with 225 k lbf H-1's; S-IVB stretched with 350,000 lbs propellants; Centaur third stage. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-4(S)-A American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. 4 Titan UA1205 solid rocket boosters; Saturn IC stretched 337 inches with 6.0 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1 engines; S-II with 970,000 pounds propellant and 5 J-2 engines; S-IVB strengthened but with standard 230,000 lbs propellant, 1 J-2 engine. More...
  • Saturn IB-B American orbital launch vehicle. Douglas Studies, 1965: S-IB with 225 k lbf H-1's; S-IVB stretched with 350,000 lbs propellants and HG-3 high performance engine. More...
  • Saturn IB-C American orbital launch vehicle. Douglas Studies, 1965: 4 Minuteman strap-ons; standard S-IB, S-IVB stages. More...
  • Saturn IB-CE American orbital launch vehicle. Douglas Studies, 1965: Standard Saturn IB with Centaur upper stage. More...
  • Saturn IB-D American orbital launch vehicle. Douglas Studies, 1965: Standard Saturn IB with Titan UA1205 5-segment strap-on motors. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-1/J-2T/200K American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. Improved Saturn V configuration studied under contract NAS8-11359. Variant of MLV-V-1 with toroidal J-2T-200K engines replacing standard J-2 engines in upper stages. More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-1/J-2T/250K American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1965. Improved Saturn V configuration studied under contract NAS8-11359. Variant of MLV-V-1 with toroidal J-2T-250K engines replacing standard J-2 engines in upper stages. More...
  • Titan 3L2 American orbital launch vehicle. Variant of Titan with 15 foot Large Diameter Core, 2 x 7 segment strap-ons. Man-rated, optimized for delivery of heavy payloads into LEO. Never developed. More...
  • Titan 3L4 American orbital launch vehicle. Variant of Titan with 15 foot Large Diameter Core, 4 x 7 segment strap-ons. Man rated, optimized for delivery of 40,000 pound manned payloads into 250 nm / 50 deg space station orbit. More...
  • Titan 3C7 American orbital launch vehicle. Variant of Titan 3C with seven segment solid motors. Proposed by Martin for precise delivery of payloads beyond Titan 3C capacity into geosynch orbit. Never flown. More...
  • Saturn IB American orbital launch vehicle. Improved Saturn I, with uprated first stage and Saturn IVB second stage (common with Saturn V) replacing Saturn IV. Used for earth orbit flight tests of Apollo CSM and LM. More...
  • Europa European orbital launch vehicle. Europe's first space launcher. The first stage was a British Blue Streak IRBM, the second stage the French Coralie, and the third stage the German Astris. All orbital launch attempts failed due to unreliability of the third stage. The project was cancelled after withdrawal of British support and replaced by the Ariane. More...
  • ELDO A European orbital launch vehicle. Three stage version of the Europa vehicle. More...
  • Thor Delta C1 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DSV-2A + 1 x Delta D + 1 x FW4D More...
  • Atlas SLV-3 American orbital launch vehicle. Standardized Atlas booster with no or small solid upper stage. More...
  • SLV-3 Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Standardized Atlas booster with Agena B upper stage. More...
  • Delta E1 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta E + 1 x FW4D More...
  • Uprated Saturn I American orbital launch vehicle. Initial version of Saturn IB with old-design Saturn IB first stage. More...
  • Titan 3B American orbital launch vehicle. Titan core with Agena upper stage. Found to be more cost effective and higher performance than using Transtage. More...
  • Thor Burner 2 American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Star 37B More...
  • Lambda 4S Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 2 x SB-310 + 1 x L735 + 1 x L735(1/3) + 1 x L500 + 1 x L480S More...
  • Mu The Japanese Mu launcher series provided a flexible all-solid propellant launch vehicle for access to space. It was the first Japanese launch vehicle designed from the start as an orbital launch vehicle. More...
  • Kosmos 11K65 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Initial serial production version was the Kosmos-3, built at the Krasnoryarsk Machine Factory. Flew only four times, with two failures, before being succeeded by the modernized production version under the responsibility of NPO Polyot. More...
  • Cora European orbital launch vehicle. Cora was an experimental rocket to test the second and third stages of the Europa launch vehicle. More...
  • Sparta American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Redstone + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x BE-3 More...
  • Soyuz 11A511 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Standardized launch vehicle designed to replace a proliferation of earlier models (8K72, 8A91, 8K74, 8K78, 11A57). Designed initially to support launch of the Soyuz complex (7K manned, 9K rocket stage, and 11k tanker) and Zenit-4 reconnaisance satellite. Later 'U' model extended to cover a range of follow-on satellites. Compared to 11A57, the telemetry system was reduced in mass to no more than 150 kg, and engines were cherry-picked for the vehicle core to ensure that specific impulse was no less than 252 seconds at sea level, 315 in vacuum. More...
  • Delta G American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta E More...
  • AACB Class 1 American winged orbital launch vehicle. In 1965-1966 NASA and the Department of Defense jointly studied two-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicles as a follow-on to existing expendable launchers. Following review of the three classes of alternative approaches, it was recommended that the immediate goal of the United States should be development of a partially reusable 'Class I' launch vehicle, which could be available by 1975 and would be competitive with existing expendable boosters. A fully reusable vehicle should only be pursued at a later date. More...
  • AACB Class 2 American winged orbital launch vehicle. The AACB Class II launch vehicle was a fully reusable, two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. Both stages would be lifting bodies and be powered by Lox/LH2 engines. The system would be operational by 1978 and place 9,100 kg of payload in orbit. More...
  • AACB Class 3 American winged orbital launch vehicle. The AACB Class III launch vehicle was an advanced concept use air-breathing stages, but still requiring two stages to achieve orbit. The joint NASA/USAF panel concluded that the technology did not yet exist to develop this concept, so it was only regarded as an option by 1982 at the earliest. More...
  • GLO-1B Canadian gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. When compared to the early Martlet 4 designs the GLO-1B was a considerably more sophisticated vehicle with many of the shortcomings of it's predecessor having been addressed. Not long after the original HARP project ended the major assets of the project were acquired by the projects management, Dr. Gerald Bull in particular. The HARP Program became the Space Research Corporation (SRC) with the intention of resurrecting the HARP orbital program. Over the years a much improved and considerably more sophisticated Martlet 4 was developed and given the name of GLO-1B. More...
  • Ithacus American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. An adaptation of Phillip Bono's enormous ROMBUS plug-nozzle semi-single-stage-orbit launch vehicle as a 1,200 soldier intercontinental troop transport!! The recoverable vehicle would re-enter, using its actively-cooled plug nozzle as a heat shield. More...
  • Martlet 2G-1 Canadian gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. The Martlet 2G-1 was the absolute minimum gun-launched satellite vehicle. Conceived when the HARP project was under threat, it was a seven-inch diameter, two-stage solid propellnat vehicle that would be sabot-launched from the HARP 16 inch gun. Its total payload in orbit would have been just two kilogrammes - ideal for today's planned nano-satellites. Unfortunately even this minimum orbital launch vehicle could not be demonstrated before the program was shut down. More...
  • Pegasus VTOVL American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Bono design for semi-single-stage-to-orbit ballistic VTOVL launch vehicle. Drop tanks were shed on the way to orbit. Pegasus could deliver either a Satun V-size payload to LEO or 172 passengers and their luggage the 12,000 km from Vandenberg to Singapore in 39 minutes. More...
  • Saturn INT-11 American orbital launch vehicle. Chrysler Studies, 1966: S-IB with 4 Titan UA1205 with standard S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, or 4 Titan UA1207 strap-ons with 20-foot stretche S-IB stage, S-IVB stage. S-IB ignition at altitude. More...
  • Saturn INT-12 American orbital launch vehicle. Chrysler Studies, 1966: S-IB with only 4 H-1 motors, with 4 Titan UA1205 with standard length S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, or 4 Titan UA1207 strap-ons with 20-foot stretche S-IB stage, S-IVB stage. S-IB ignition at sea level at same time as strap-ons. More...
  • Saturn INT-13 American orbital launch vehicle. Chrysler Studies, 1966: S-IB with 2 Titan UA1205 with standard length S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, or 2 Titan UA1207 strap-ons with 20-foot stretche S-IB stage, S-IVB stage. S-IB ignition at sea level at same time as strap-ons. More...
  • Soyuz 11A514 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of Soyuz launcher with increased payload, designed to launch Soyuz R military reconnaisance satellite. Cancelled along with the Soyuz R project in 1966. Unknown differences to standard Soyuz to reach payload requirement of circa 6700 kg to 65 degree orbit. More...
  • Saturn INT-14 American orbital launch vehicle. Chrysler Studies, 1966: S-IB with 4 Minuteman motors as strap-ons, with no, 10, or 20-foot stretch S-IB stages, S-IVB stage. S-IB ignition at sea level at same time as strap-ons. More...
  • Saturn INT-15 American orbital launch vehicle. Chrysler Studies, 1966: S-IB with 8 Minuteman motors as strap-ons, with no, 10, or 20-foot stretch S-IB stages, S-IVB stage. S-IB ignition at sea level at same time as strap-ons. More...
  • Saturn INT-16 American orbital launch vehicle. UA Studies, 1966: S-IVB upper stage with from 2 to 5 Titan UA1205, 1206, or 1207 motors as first stage, clustered around from 1 to 3 of the same motors as a second stage. S-IVB upper stage. More...
  • Saturn INT-17 North American study, 1966. Saturn variant with a modified S-II first stage with seven high-performance HG-3 engines; S-IVB second stage. Poor performance and cost-effectiveness and not studied further. More...
  • Saturn INT-18 North American study, 1966. Saturn variant with Titan UA1205 or 1207 motors as boosters, Saturn II stage as core, and Saturn IVB upper stage. Various combinations of numbers of strap-ons, propellant loading of the two core stages, and sea-level versus altitude ignition were studied. More...
  • Saturn INT-19 North American study, 1966. Saturn variant with 4 to 12 Minuteman motors as boosters, Saturn II stage as core, and Saturn IVB upper stage. Saturn II stage would be fitted with lower expansion ratio engines and would ignite at sea level. Various combinations of numbers of strap-ons, propellant loading of the two core stages were studied. More...
  • Starclipper American winged orbital launch vehicle. Lockheed ILRV design created for the USAF in 1966. X-24B lifting body configuration orbiter with linear aerospike engine and wrap-around drop tank. Related to Lockheed Shuttle LS200 proposal. More...
  • Saturn V-ELV American orbital launch vehicle. NASA study, 1966. No-height-limitation stretched Saturn with Titan UA1207 motors for thrust augmentation. More...
  • Proton-K/D Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was originally designed to send manned circumlunar spacecraft into translunar trajectory. Guidance to the Block D stage must be supplied by spacecraft. The design was proposed on 8 September 1965 by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon. The Korolev design was selected, and first flight came on 10 March 1967. The crash lunar program led to a poor launch record. Following a protracted ten year test period, the booster finally reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...
  • Kosmos 11K65M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Definitive and prolific production version of satellite launcher based on Yangel R-14 IRBM. After further development at NPO Polyot (Omsk, Chief Designer A S Klinishkov), the modified Kosmos-3M added a restartable second stage with an orientation system. This booster was launched form two 'Cusovaya' launch complexes from 1967. The second stage used low thrust rockets using gas generator output to adjust the final velocity of the stage More...
  • N1M Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1M was to be the first Soviet launch vehicle to use liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen high energy cyrogenic propellants. It was designed to launch payloads in support of the LEK lunar expeditions (two cosmonauts on the surface), the DLB (long-duration lunar base), and heavy unmanned satellites into geosynchronous and interplanetary trajectories. As originally conceived, the advanced propellants would be used in all upper stages. However due to delays in Kuznetsov development of a 200 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engine, the final version used an N1 first stage, with a Block V-III second stage, and Blocks S and R third and fourth stages. More...
  • Tsiklon-2A Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Minimal modification of the R-36 ICBM used in replacement of Chelomei's cancelled UR-200 booster for initial launches of the IS ASAT and US naval radarsat. Development was authorized in late 1965 and first launch was made before the end of 1967. It flew only eight times before being replaced by the definitive Tsyklon-2 space launch vehicle. More...
  • Orion Starship - Heat Sink American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The heat sink version of Dyson's starship would have a pusher plate made of copper. This would require 5 million tonnes of exposed surface to absorb and then reradiate 1 megaton of bomb energy. The plate would have to be 20 km in diameter. More...
  • Saturn V-24(L) American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1967. 4 260 inch liquid propellant boosters (each with 2 F-1A).; Saturn IC stretched 336 inches with 6.0 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1A engines; S-II stretched 156 inches with 1.2 million pounds propellant and 5 HG-3 engines; S-IVB stretched 198 inches with 350,000 lbs propellant, 1 HG-3 engine. Not studied in detail since vehicle height of 600 feet with payload exceeded study limit of 410 feet. More...
  • Saturn V-23(L) American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1967. 4 260 inch liquid propellant boosters (each with 2 F-1's!).; Saturn IC stretched 240 inches with 5.6 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1 engines; S-II strengthened but with standard 930,000 pounds propellant and 5 J-2 engines; S-IVB stretched 198 inches with 350,000 lbs propellant, 1 J-2 engine. More...
  • Saturn INT-20 American orbital launch vehicle. Saturn variant consisting of S-IC first stage and S-IVB second stage. Consideration was given to deleting one or more of the F-1 engines in the first stage. More...
  • Saturn LCB-Alumizine-250 American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing Low-Cost Saturn Derivative Study, 1967 (trade study of 260 inch first stages for S-IVB, all delivering 86,000 lb pyld to LEO): Low Cost Booster, Single Pressure-fed N2O4/Alumizine Propellant engine, Ni-250 Steel Hull. More...
  • Saturn V/4-260 American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1967-1968. Use of full length 260 inch solid rocket boosters with stretched Saturn IC stages presented problems, since the top of the motors came about half way up the liquid oxygen tank of the stage, making transmission of loads from the motors to the core vehicle complex and adding a great deal of weight to the S-IC. Boeing's solution was to retain the standard length Saturn IC, with the 260 inch motors ending half way up the S-IC/S-II interstage, but to provide additional propellant for the S-IC by putting propellant tanks above the 260 inch boosters. These would be drained first and jettisoned with the boosters. This added to the plumbing complexity but solved the loads problem. More...
  • Saturn LCB-Storable-140 American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing Low-Cost Saturn Derivative Study, 1967 (trade study of 260 inch first stages for S-IVB, all delivering 86,000 lb pyld to LEO): Low Cost Booster, Single Pressure-fed N2O4/UDMH Propellant engine, HY-140 Steel Hull. More...
  • Saturn LCB-Alumizine-140 American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing Low-Cost Saturn Derivative Study, 1967 (trade study of 260 inch first stages for S-IVB, all delivering 86,000 lb pyld to LEO): Low Cost Booster, Single Pressure-fed N2O4/Alumizine Propellant engine, HY-140 Steel Hull. More...
  • Saturn LCB-Storable-250 American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing Low-Cost Saturn Derivative Study, 1967 (trade study of 260 inch first stages for S-IVB, all delivering 86,000 lb pyld to LEO): Low Cost Booster, Single Pressure-fed N2O4/UDMH Propellant engine, Ni-250 Steel Hull. More...
  • Saturn LCB-Lox/RP-1 American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing Low-Cost Saturn Derivative Study, 1967 (trade study of 260 inch first stages for S-IVB, all delivering 86,000 lb pyld to LEO): Low Cost Booster, Single Pressure-fed Lox/RFP-1 engine. More...
  • Saturn INT-21 American orbital launch vehicle. Saturn variant consisting of S-IC first stage and S-II second stage. This essentially flew once to launch Skylab in 1972, although the IU was located atop the Skylab space station (converted S-IVB stage) rather than atop the S-II as in the INT-21 design. More...
  • Saturn S-IC-TLB American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing Low-Cost Saturn Derivative Study, 1967 (trade study of 260 inch first stages for S-IVB, all delivering 86,000 lb pyld to LEO): S-IC Technology Liquid Booster: 260 inch liquid booster with 2 x F-1 engines, recoverable/reusable More...
  • Saturn MLV-V-4(S)-B American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1967. Configuration of improved Saturn 5 with Titan UA1207 120 inch solid rocket boosters. Saturn IC stretched 336 inches with 6.0 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1 engines; Saturn II and Saturn IVB stages strengthened but not stretched. Empty mass of stages increased by 13.9% (S-IC), 8.6% (S-II) and 11.8% (S-IVB). Studied again by Boeing in 1967 as Saturn V-4(S)B. More...
  • Saturn V-25(S)B American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1967. 4 156 inch solid propellant boosters; Saturn IC stretched 498 inches with 6.64 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1 engines; S-II standard length with 5 J-2 engines; S-IVB stretched 198 inches with 350,000 lbs propellant, 1 J-2 engine. More...
  • Saturn V-3B American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1967. Variation on MSFC 1965 study Saturn MLV-V-3 but with toroidal engines. Saturn IC stretched 240 inches with 5.6 million pounds propellant (but only 4.99 million pounds usable without solid rocket boosters) and 5 F-1A engines; S-II stretched 186 inches with 1.29 million lbs propellant and 5 J-2T-400 engines; S-IVB stretched 198 inches with 350,000 lbs propellant, 1 J-2T-400 engine. More...
  • SASSTO American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Bono proposal for first step toward VTOVL SSTO vehicle - heavily modified Saturn IVB with plug nozzle engine. More...
  • Saturn LCB-SR American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing Low-Cost Saturn Derivative Study, 1967 (trade study of 260 inch first stages for S-IVB, all delivering 86,000 lb pyld to LEO): Low Cost Booster, 260 inch solid motor, full length. More...
  • Spacemaster American winged orbital launch vehicle. Martin-Marrietta shuttle Phase A design. X-24B type lifting body orbiter with unique catamaran-configuration booster. More...
  • Delta J American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta E + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • Delta N American orbital launch vehicle. Long Tank Thor augmented with 3 Castor 2 boosters and Delta E upper stage. More...
  • Delta M American orbital launch vehicle. Long Tank Thor augmented with 3 Castor 2 boosters and Delta E / Burner 2 (Star 37D) upper stages. More...
  • Proton-K Russian orbital launch vehicle. Development of a three-stage version of the UR-500 was authorised in the decree of 3 August 1964. Decrees of 12 October and 11 November 1964 authorised development of the Almaz manned military space station and the manned circumlunar spacecraft LK-1 as payloads for the UR-500K. Remarkably, due to continuing failures, the 8K82K did not satisfactorily complete its state trials until its 61st launch (Salyut 6 / serial number 29501 / 29 September 1977). Thereafter it reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...
  • Hyperion SSTO American sled-launched SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Yet another of Philip Bono's single-stage-to-orbit designs of the 1960's, using a plug-nozzle engine for ascent and as a re-entry heat shield. Hyperion would have taken 18,100 kg of payload or 110 passengers to orbit or on 45 minute flights to any point on earth. Hyperion used a sled for launch, which would have seriously hurt its utility. The sled gave a 300 m/s boost to the vehicle before it ascended to orbit. The sled would have 3 km of straight course, followed by 1 km up a mountainside, with a 3 G acceleration. More...
  • McDonnell-Douglas ILRV American winged orbital launch vehicle. The McDonnell-Douglas ILRV design featured fold-out wings for improved low-speed lift-to-drag ratio during final descent and landing. All of the vehicle's propellants were moved outside the orbiter into two large hydrogen tanks and two smaller oxygen tanks. The original concept was sized for an 11,340kg, 9.44m x 4.57m payload. More...
  • Orion Starship - Ablative American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The ablative version of Dyson's starship would be smaller and faster then the heat sink version. It would have a mass of 100,000 tons unloaded and be equipped with 300,000 one megaton bombs. More...
  • Saturn V-4X(U) American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1968. Four core vehicles from Saturn V-25(S) study lashed together to obtain million-pound payload using existing hardware. First stage consisted of 4 Saturn IC's stretched 498 inches with 6.64 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1 engines; second stage 4 Saturn II standard length stages with 5 J-2 engines More...
  • Saturn V-A American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1968. Essentially identical to Saturn INT-20; standard Saturn IC stage together with Saturn IVB second stage, with Centaur third stage for deep space missions. More...
  • Saturn V-B American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1968. Intriguing stage-and-a-half to orbit design using Saturn S-ID stage. The S-ID would be the same length and engines as the standard Saturn IC, but the four outer engines and their boost structure would be jettisoned once 70% of the propellant was consumed, as in the Atlas ICBM. This booster engine assembly would be recovered and reused. The center engine would be gimbaled and serve as a sustainer engine to put the rest of the vehicle and its 50,000 pound payload into orbit. At very minimal cost (36 months leadtime and $ 150 million) the United States could have attained a payload capability and level of reusability similar to that of the space shuttle. More...
  • Saturn V-C American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1968. S-ID stage-and-a-half first stage and Saturn IVB second stage. Centaur available as third stage for deep space missions. 30% performance improvement over Saturn V-A/Saturn INT-20 with standard Saturn IC first stage. More...
  • Saturn V-D American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1968. Rehashed the Boeing 1967 studies, covering a variety of stage stretches and 120, 156, or 260 inch solid rocket boosters, but with S-ID stage-and-a-half first stage. More...
  • Saturn V-Centaur American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1968. S-ID stage-and-a-half first stage and Saturn IVB second stage. Centaur available as third stage for deep space missions. 30% performance improvement over Saturn V-A/Saturn INT-20 with standard Saturn IC first stage. More...
  • Starclipper Light American winged orbital launch vehicle. Downsized version of the Starclipper, equipped with conventional bell nozzle engines, released by NASA for public consumption in 1968. More...
  • Saturn V-25(S)U American orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1968. 4 156 inch solid propellant boosters; Saturn IC stretched 498 inches with 6.64 million pounds propellant and 5 F-1 engines; S-II standard length with 5 J-2 engines. This vehicle would place Nerva nuclear third stage into low earth orbit, where five such stages would be assembled together with the spacecraft for a manned Mars expedition. More...
  • Triamese American winged orbital launch vehicle. The General Dynamics proposed an ingenious "Triamese" concept for the US Air Force "Integral Launch & Re-entry Vehicle" program. This system (originally developed in 1965 for a classified USAF SAMSO study) would have utilised three virtually identical reusable booster/orbiter element vehicles rather than develop two different booster and orbiter spaceplanes. General Dynamics estimated that the Triamese only would cost $1-2 billion to develop (=$4.5-9B at 1999 economic conditions) and be operational by 1976. More...
  • UR-700 / RD-350 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. UR-700 with high energy upper stage consisting of 3 x RD-350 LF2/LH2 engines with a total thrust of 450 tonnes. Usable third stage propellant 350 tonnes, payload increased to 215 tonnes More...
  • UR-700 / RO-31 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. UR-700 with high energy upper stage consisting of 7 x RO-31 Nuclear A engines using LH2+Methane propellants with a total thrust of 280 tonnes. Usable third stage propellant 196 tonnes, payload increased to 230 to 250 tonnes More...
  • UR-700 / 11D54 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. UR-700 with high energy upper stage consisting of 9 x RD-54 / 11D54 Lox/LH2 engines with a total thrust of 360 tonnes. Usable third stage propellant 300 tonnes, payload to a 200 km, 51.5 degree orbit increased to 185 tonnes More...
  • UR-900 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. In 1962 Vladimir Chelomei proposed a family of modular launch vehicles. In January 1969, Chelomei was proposing the UR-900 for the Mars expedition. A garbled description of this launch vehicle appears in Chertok's memoirs. This would seem to be a version of the UR-700 moon rocket using 15 RD-270 modules in the first and second stages in place as opposed to the nine modules of the UR-700. The third and fourth stages were derived from the UR-500. The booster could deliver 240 tonnes to low earth orbit. More...
  • Thorad Agena D SLV-2H Thor Agena upgraded with Long Tank Thor stage. Variant with straight tank from Delta was Thorad (Long Tank Augmented Thrust Thor Delta) More...
  • Black Arrow British orbital launch vehicle. Britain's only indigenous launch vehicle. Following cancellation of the project in July 1971, one final launch was permitted, which successfully placed the Prospero satellite in orbit. More...
  • UR-700M Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. In 1969 the Soviet Union began project Aelita, studying the best method to beat the Americans in landing a man on Mars. Chelomei's team reached the conclusion that a Mars expedition would best be launched by an immense vehicle would allow their MK-700 Mars spacecraft to be orbited in two launches. The proposed UR-700M launch vehicle had a gross lift-off mass of 16,000 metric tons and could deliver 750 metric tons to orbit. By 1972 the Nixon administration had cancelled NASA's plans for manned Mars missions. Perhaps not coincidentally, a Soviet expert commission the same year concluded that the Mars project - and the UR-700M booster - were beyond the technical and economical capabilities of the Soviet Union and should be shelved indefinitely. More...
  • Tsiklon-2 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. A government decree of 24 August 1965 ordered development by Yangel of a version of his R-36 rocket to orbit Chelomei's IS (Istrebitel Sputnik) ASAT and US (Upravlenniye Sputnik) naval intelligence satellites. The Tyklon 2 definitive operational version replaced the 11K67 launch vehicle from 1969 and was an adaptation of the 8K69 (SS-9) two stage ICBM. The IS and US Raketoplan-derived payloads had their own engines for insertion into final orbit. More...
  • Mu-3D Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 8 x SB-310 + 1 x M-10 + 1 x M-20 + 1 x M-30 + 1 x M-40 More...
  • Delta L American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1B + 1 x Delta E + 1 x FW4D More...
  • Lambda 4T Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 2 x SB-310 + 1 x L735 + 1 x L735(1/3) + 1 x L500 + 1 x L480S More...
  • CZ-1 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. China began development of the CZ-1 (Changzheng-1 = Long March-1) launch vehicle in the second half of 1965. The project was undertaken with the specific objective of launching China's first satellite, the DFH-1. The CZ-l's first and second stages were adapted from those of the DF-3 intermediate range ballistic missile. The third stage used a new-design solid rocket motor. More...
  • Beta German SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. In 1969 rocket pioneer Dietrich Koelle was working at MBB (Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm). There he sketched out a reusable VTOVL design called BETA using Bono's SASSTO as a starting point. The vehicle, taking European technology into account, was a bit heavier than Bono's design. But the thorough analysis showed even this design would be capable of delivering 2 tonnes of payload to orbit. More...
  • MLLV American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Boeing study, 1969, for Saturn follow-on. Plug nozzle, single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle could itself put 1 million pounds payload into orbit. By addition of up to 12 260 inch solid motors up to 3.5 million pounds payload into orbit with a single launch. 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 MDC A Alternate American winged orbital launch vehicle. McDonnell-Douglas shuttle proposal phase A of November 1969. Delta wing first stage and HL-10 lifting body second stage. More...
  • Saenger I German winged orbital launch vehicle. Final version of the Saenger spaceplane, as conceived by Eugen Saenger during his lifetime. A rocket propelled sled would be used for horizontal launch of delta-winged, rocket-propelled first and second stages. 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...
  • Delta N6 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 6 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1C + 1 x Delta E More...
  • Diamant B French orbital launch vehicle. As a follow-on to the Diamant-A, CNES decided to evolve a more capable launch vehicle. The Diamant-B used a new first stage with 50% more propellants and 33% more thrust; the same second stage; and a fatter third stage. Six Diamant-B boosters were ordered. Originally four of these were to be used to test the Europa 2 launch vehicle's Perigee-Apogee System. These tests were cancelled and instead CNES used five of the six boosters for orbital attempts. More...
  • N1F Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1F would have been the definitive flight version of the N1, incorporating all changes resulting from the four flight tests of the vehicle, including the new Kuznetsov engines and 10% greater liftoff mass by using superchilled propellants in all stages. N1 8L would have been the first N1F configuration flight, with launch planned in the third quarter of 1975 at the time the project was cancelled. More...
  • Mu-4S Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 8 x SB-310 + 1 x M-10 + 1 x M-20 + 1 x M-30 + 1 x M-40 More...
  • Soyuz 11A511L Russian orbital launch vehicle. 11A511 with reinforced second stage, large fairing for earth orbit test of LK lunar lander. More...
  • Gommersall American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Edward Gomersall of NASA's Ames Research Center produced a conservative design for an SSTO in 1970. His vehicle was based on realistic structural technology and used a derivative of the J-2S engine. 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 R134G American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell/General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase B, November 1970. Straight wing low-cross range orbiter. More...
  • Titan 23B American orbital launch vehicle. Basic Titan 3A core, originally developed for Titan 3C, with Agena D upper stage replacing Transtage. New radio guidance system, 1.5 m diameter fairing atop Agena. Payload remained attached to the Agena. More...
  • Delta M6 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 6 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1C + 1 x Delta E + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • Titan 33B American orbital launch vehicle. Basic Titan 3A core, except guidance provided by the Agena upper stage. The Agena and its payload were completely enclosed in a new 3.05 m diameter shroud. 'Ascent Agena' seperated after orbital insertion and did not remain attached to the payload. More...
  • N1F Sr Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The final more modest version of the N1F replaced the fourth and fifth stages of the N1 with the single liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen Block Sr stage. Development of the Sr stage was from May 1971 until cancellation of the N1 project in May 1974. More...
  • Titan 3D American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3C without transtage. More...
  • Titan 24B American orbital launch vehicle. Stretched first stage, originally developed for the cancelled MOL program, with Agena D upper stage. Radio guidance system, 1.5 m diameter fairing atop Agena. Payload remained attached to the Agena. More...
  • Scout B-1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2C + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Star 20 More...
  • Lambda 4SC Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 2 x SB-310 + 1 x L735 + 1 x L735(1/3) + 1 x L500 + 1 x L480S 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...
  • Thor Burner 2A American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Star 37B + 1 x Star 26B More...
  • Europa II European orbital launch vehicle. Four stage version of the Europa vehicle, adding a P068 fourth stage. More...
  • Soyuz 11A511M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Development of the Soyuz-M began in 1967 to launch the 6.6 metric ton Soyuz 7K-VI manned military spacecraft into a 65-degree inclination earth orbit. The spacecraft was cancelled, but development continued, and eight were Soyuz-M's were built and used to launch Zenit-4MT reconnaissance satellites in 1971-1976. The differences compared to the Soyuz-U are not known, and what (if anything) differentiated these Zenit-4MT missions from others is also a mystery. More...
  • Scout B-1 F American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2C + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x FW4S 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...
  • SERV American VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Chrysler ballistic single stage to orbit alternate shuttle proposal of June 1971. This was the most detailed design study ever performed on a VTOVL SSTO launch vehicle. The 2,040 tonne SERV was designed to deliver a 53 tonne payload to orbit in a capacious 7 m x 18 m payload bay. More...
  • Titan 23C American orbital launch vehicle. Post-MOL standardisation of Titan 3C, with man-rated systems removed, upgraded first stage engines, digital avionics, blowdown solid rocket motor thrust vector control in place of pressure-regulated system, simplified Transtage attitude control system. More...
  • Delta 0900 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1C + 1 x DSV-3N-4 More...
  • FB-1 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The FB-1, like the CZ-2 launch vehicle begun the following year, was a two-stage booster developed from the DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missile. Payload for the booster was the JSSW, believed to have been a television-transmission military reconnaissance satellite. The incredible decision to develop two nearly identical rockets concurrently can be blamed on the turbulent factional politics after the Cultural Revolution. More...
  • Scout D-1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 3A + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Star 20 More...
  • Delta 1604 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 6 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta F + 1 x Star 37C More...
  • Delta 0300 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1C + 1 x DSV-3N-4 More...
  • Delta 1914 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37C More...
  • ATV American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. George Detko of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center produced designs for SSTO vehicles as early as 1960. The expendable vehicle had a gross listoff mass of only 22 tonnes, and could deliver a two-person crew to orbit. More...
  • Scout D-1 F American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 3A + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x FW4S More...
  • Shuttle LRB 1972 American winged orbital launch vehicle. Original design for a shuttle with liquid rocket boosters, completed in March 1972 as part of the shuttle design decision process More...
  • Saturn Shuttle American orbital launch vehicle. A winged recoverable Saturn IC stage was considered instead of solid rocket boosters after the final shuttle design was selected. More...
  • Vertikal-4 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Soviet sounding rocket, based on the R-14 IRBM. More...
  • K65M-R Russian orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle for suborbital tests consisting of 1 x R-14 + 1 x S3M. More...
  • Soyuz 11A511U Russian standardised man-rated orbital launch vehicle derived from the original R-7 ICBM of 1957. It has been launched in greater numbers than any orbital launch vehicle in history. Not coincidentally, it has been the most reliable as well. After over 40 years service in Russia, ESA built a new launch pad at Kourou which will keep it in service from three launch sites in three countries well into the mid-21st Century. More...
  • Delta 1913 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • Scout A-1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2C + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x Altair 2 More...
  • Delta 1900 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta F More...
  • N1F-L3M Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1M was found to be too ambitious. The N1F of 1968 was instead pencilled in to be the first Soviet launch vehicle to use liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen high energy cyrogenic propellants. The N1F would have only used the Block S and Block R fourth and fifth stages in place of the N1's Block G and Block D. More...
  • Delta 2313 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • Titan 3E American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3D with Centaur D-1T upper stage. Used by NASA for deep space missions in 1970's. More...
  • Mu-3C Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 8 x SB-310 + 1 x M-10 + 1 x M-22TVC + 1 x M-3A More...
  • Proton-K/DM Russian orbital launch vehicle. The original four stage Proton / Block D configuration was used until 1976, at which time it was replaced by a modernised version equipped with N2O4/UDMH verniers for precise placement of payloads in geosynchronous orbit and its own self-contained guidance unit. This was accepted into military service in 1978 with the first Raduga launch. The stage was first developed for launch of gesynchronous military communications and early warning satellites (Raduga, Ekran, Gorizont, Potok, SPRN). Its later versions continue in use for launch of MEO and geosynchronous comsats, and was Russia's most successful commercial launcher. More...
  • Delta 2914 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37E More...
  • Scout E-1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 3A + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x FW4S + 1 x BE-3 More...
  • RLA Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The RLA (Rocket Flight Apparatus) family of modular, lox/kerosene powered vehicles were designed by Glushko in 1974 to meet the Soviet military's third-generation space launch requirements. The approach was rejected by 1976 in favor of the Zenit/Energia family using both lox/kerosene amd lox/hydrogen stages. More...
  • CZ-2A Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-2 was originally designed for launch of the FSW-1 recoverable military reconnaissance satellite. More...
  • Delta 2310 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • Albatros Unique Russian space shuttle design of 1974. Hydrofoil-launched, winged recoverable first and second stages. Hydrofoil would have been propelled to launch speed by the launch vehicles rocket engines, using a 200 tonne fuel store in the hydrofoil. Advantages: launch from the Caspian Sea into a variety of orbital inclinations, variations in launch track possible to meet range safety requirements. Proposal of Alexeyev/Sukhoi OKBs. More...
  • N1-MOK Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Ultimate derivative of N1. Single-stage-to-orbit vehicle based on N1 Block A. Propellants changed to LH2/LOX, 16 x modified NK-33 engines + 4 Liquid Air Cycle Engine Liquid Air/LH2 boosters. All figures estimated based on tank volume of Block A and delivery of 90,000 kg payload to 450 km / 97.5 degree MKBS orbit. Briefly described in RKK Energia official history and in some detail in Peter James'
      1974
    book Soviet Conquest from Space! More...
  • RLA-120 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Medium booster concept with a payload to low earth orbit of 30 metric tons using the RLA-120 core and a 150 metric ton upper stage. Glushko proposed that the RLA-120 would boost reconnaissance satellites and modules of his POS Permanent Orbital Station into a sun synchronous orbit beginning in 1979. The government rejected the RLA concept, but this design led directly to the successful Zenit-2 booster. More...
  • RLA-150 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Super-booster concept with a payload to low earth orbit of 250 metric tons using six modules as the first stage and the RLA-120 core. Glushko proposed that the booster could launch a Soviet manned Mars landing by 1983. The government rejected the RLA concept, but it did lead to the Energia booster of the 1980's. More...
  • RLA-135 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Heavyweight booster concept with a payload to low earth orbit of 100 metric tons using two modules as the first stage and the RLA-120 core. Glushko proposed that the booster could launch a Soviet manned lunar landing by 1981. The government rejected the RLA concept, but it did lead to the Zenit-2 and Energia boosters of the 1980's. More...
  • Delta 2910 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • Diamant BP.4 French orbital launch vehicle. In January 1972 a further evolution, the Diamant BP.4, was authorized. The second stage was replaced with the P4 Rita motor developed for the MSBS SLBM. The larger 1.38 m diameter fairing developed for the British Black Arrow launcher allowed larger payloads to be accommodated. Three launches of the BP.4 in 1975 completed the Diamant saga. More...
  • Titan 34B American orbital launch vehicle. Stretched Titan core, originally developed for Titan 3M MOL, with Agena D upper stage. Guidance provided by the Agena upper stage. The Agena and its payload were completely enclosed in a 3.05 m diameter shroud. 'Ascent Agena' seperated after orbital insertion and did not remain attached to the payload. More...
  • Delta 1410 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • UR-500MK Russian orbital launch vehicle. In 1975 Chelomei proposed this version of the Proton powered by lox/kerosene NK-33 engines developed for the cancelled N1 moon booster. This would give the Soviet Union an equivalent to the all-new Zenit-2 booster being developed by Glushko, but at a fraction of the time and expense through the use of existing components. The proposal had no chance politically, and was never seriously considered. More...
  • Scout F American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 3A + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2B + 1 x Star 20 More...
  • Delta 1910 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • Delta 2913 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • N-1 Delta Licensed version of Delta built in Japan using both US and Japanese components. 4 stage vehicle. More...
  • CZ-2C Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-2C was the definitive low earth orbit launch vehicle derived from DF-5 ICBM. It became the basis for an entire family of subsequent Long March vehicles. Many adaptive modifications were made to the configuration of the CZ-2A to handle a variety of new satellites and upper stages. The CZ-2C had improved technical performance and payload capacity compared to the CZ-2A, with later versions having a payload capability of 2,800 kg into a 200 km circular orbit. More...
  • Delta 3914 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37E More...
  • Volna SLV Russian launch vehicle based on surplus R-29RL submarine launched ballistic missiles. Suborbital and orbital versions. Payload volume 1.3 cu. M. Payload 115 kg to 3000 km or 1250 kg to 200 km altitude suborbital trajectories, or 120 (260 lb) kg to a 200 km orbit. Liftoff mass 34 tonnes. More...
  • Proton-K/D-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This derivative of the original four stage Block D / 11S824 version of the Proton was used from 1978 to launch Lavochkin OKB planetary probes (Mars, Venera) and high earth orbit astronomical observatories (Astron, Granat). Guidance to the Block D-1 stage must be supplied by spacecraft. Equipped with N2O4/UDMH verniers for precise placement of payloads in high orbits or planetary trajectories. More...
  • EDIN05 American winged orbital launch vehicle. In February 1976 this version of the shuttle was proposed. A single liquid rocket booster under the external tank would replace the two solid rocket boosters. More...
  • SSOAR American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. P Seigler founded a company in 1976 to promote his design for a VTOVL SSTO vehicle using a lox/hydrogen aerospike engine. More...
  • Vulkan Super heavy-lift version of Energia with six strap-on boosters, and in-line upper stages and payloads. The concept was put on the back burner when Energia / Buran development begun. More...
  • Mu-3H Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 8 x SB-310 + 1 x M-13 + 1 x M-22TVC + 1 x M-3A + 1 x KM-H More...
  • Otrag $200 million was spent from 1975-1987 by Lutz Kayer in a serious attempt to develop a low-cost satellite launcher using clusters of mass-produced pressure-fed liquid propellant modules. The project was finally squelched by the German government under pressure from the Soviet and French. More...
  • Tsiklon-3 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. The Tsyklon 3 was developed in 1970-1977 as a part of a program to reduce the number of Soviet booster types. The first two stages were derived from the 8K68 version of the R-36 ICBM, while the restartable third stage was derived from that of the R-36-O. Compared to the Tsyklon 2, the launch vehicle increased payload to 4 metric tons, provided for completely automated launch operations, and had increased orbital injection accuracy. More...
  • Boeing SPS SSTO American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. In 1977 Boeing produced a vehicle design for a 227 tonne payload vertical takeoff launch vehicle to be used to launch components for the huge Satellite Solar Power platforms that NASA was promoting at the time. The booster would launch from the edge of a water-filled man-made lagoon and recover in the lagoon and used a water-cooled heat shield for reentry. More...
  • Boeing SDV American orbital launch vehicle. The Boeing SDV Class I vehicle would lead to the Shuttle-C, using the shuttle aft fuselage with SSME engines to power a cargo canister into orbit. More...
  • System 49 Russian air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. The Spiral project was not cancelled with the decision to proceed with the large Buran spaceplane. Instead flight test of the orbiter continued but the launcher design was rethought. The ambitious Mach 4 air-breathing first stage was abandoned. Instead the rocket stages and the manned Spiral orbiter were mounted on the back of an An-124 subsonic transport. This concept would evolve through the Bizan concept to the MAKS of the 1980's, which reached the hardware development stage. More...
  • UR-530 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Design for an upgraded Proton, replacing the first stage with a cluster of six modular stages derived from the UR-100N first stage. Detail design to the draft project stage was undertaken in 1976-1977 but the much larger and more expensive Energia/Buran system was selected for development instead. More...
  • CZ-2 Spaceplane Launcher Chinese orbital launch vehicle. Tsien's manned spacecraft design proposed in the late 1970's was a winged spaceplane, launched by a CZ-2 core booster with two large strap-on boosters. It so strongly resembled the cancelled US Dynasoar of 15 years earlier that US intelligence analysts wondered if it wasn't based on declassified Dynasoar technical information. More...
  • Atlas F/SVS American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas F + 1 x Star 37E + 1 x Star 37E upper stages. More...
  • VTOVL American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing. More...
  • VTOHL 45t American SSTO winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertical Takeoff Horizontal Landing (winged). More...
  • VTOHL 9t American SSTO winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertical Takeoff Horizontal Landing (winged). More...
  • SLV-3 Indian all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x SLV-3-1 + 1 x SLV-3-2 + 1 x SLV-3-3 + 1 x SLV-3-4 More...
  • SLV Indian all-solid orbital launch vehicle. More...
  • Scout G American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 3A + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 3 + 1 x Star 20 More...
  • Ariane French orbital launch vehicle. First successful European commercial launch vehicle, developed from L3S Europa launch vehicle replacement design. Development of the Ariane 1 was authorised in July 1973, took eight years, and cost 2 billion 1986 Euros. More...
  • Ariane 1 French orbital launch vehicle. First version of the Ariane launch vehicle. More...
  • Star-raker American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell International's Star-raker was an enormous 1979 heavy-lift ramjet/rocket horizontal takeoff/horizontal landing single-stage-to-orbit concept capable of atmospheric cruise and powered landing for maximum operational flexibility. More...
  • Rif Russian orbital launch vehicle. R-39 SLBM adapted for use as suborbital test vehicle or orbital launch vehicle. More...
  • Delta 3910 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • Mu-3S Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 8 x SB-310 + 1 x M-13TVC + 1 x M-22TVC + 1 x M-3A More...
  • Ariane 2/3 French orbital launch vehicle. Improved version of the Ariane 1. It featured increased thrust first and second stage engines, a 25% stretched third stage, 4 seconds specific impulse improvement in the third stage, a larger internal payload fairing volume, and introduced the Sylda payload carrier for dual payloads. The Ariane 3 version added two solid rocket motor strap-ons. Development was authorised in July 1980 and had a total cost of 144 million 1986 Euros. More...
  • Delta 3910/PAM American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P + 1 x Star 48B More...
  • K65M-RB Russian orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle for suborbital tests consisting of 1 x R-14 + 1 x S3M. More...
  • CZ-1M Chinese orbital launch vehicle. Proposed launch vehicle derived from CZ-1, with an Italian Mage upper stage. Never flown. More...
  • Babylon Gun From March of 1988 until the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Iraq contracted with Gerard Bull to build three superguns: two full sized 'Project Babylon' 1000 mm guns and one 'Baby Babylon' 350 mm prototype. Nine tonnes of special supergun propellant could fire a 600 kg projectile over a range of 1,000 kilometres, or a 2,000 kg rocket-assisted projectile. The 2,000 kg projectile would place a net payload of about 200 kg into orbit at a cost of $ 600 per kg. The 1000 mm guns were never completed. After the war UN teams destroyed the guns and gun components in Iraqi possession. More...
  • IHLLV American orbital launch vehicle. Same concept as Shuttle C. Shuttle orbiter replaced by recoverable pod with shuttle main engines and payload cannister. Quick way for US to obtain heavy payload capability and reduce shuttle cost per kg to orbit by 3 X. More...
  • Titan 2B American intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Space launch version of Titan 2 ICBM, obtained through minimal modification of ICBM (new wiring and avionics only, and use of existing ICBM re-entry vehicle shroud). Proposed in the late 1980's but never developed. More...
  • Titan 2L American intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Version of refurbished Titan 2 ICBM with two liquid propellant strap-on stages. Proposed in the late 1980's but never developed. More...
  • Titan 2S American intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Version of refurbished Titan 2 ICBM with two to eight Castor 4A solid-propellant strap-on stages. Proposed in the late 1980's but never developed. More...
  • N-2 Licensed version of Delta built in Japan using both US and Japanese components. 4 stage vehicle. 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...
  • Delta 3913 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37N More...
  • Percheron American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Low cost commercial test vehicle. First test failed and satellite launch project sank for lack of further investors and customers. More...
  • Atlas E/SVS American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas E + 1 x Star 37E + 1 x Star 37E upper stages. More...
  • N-2 (2) American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage version consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor N + 1 x AJ10-118FJ More...
  • Bizan-T Russian air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Air launched from catamaran heavy-life aircraft, predecessor of later Gerakl / Molniya-1000 design. 900 tonnes takeoff mass. Release conditions: Suspended load, Mach 0.7 at 8 to 9 km altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 270 m/s. More...
  • Delta 2 7000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 7000 series used GEM-40 strap-ons with the Extra Extended Long Tank core, further upgraded with the RS-27A engine. More...
  • System 49-M Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. The 49M was an application of the system 49 design concept, but with a larger carrier aircraft. The system would have a 770 tonne gross takeoff mass. The orbiter/rocket stage combination weighted 370 tonnes, with the orbiter mass being 28 tonnes in orbit, including a 9 tonne payload in a 8.0 m x 3.3 m diameter payload bay. The tripropellant single rocket stage was equipped 1 x NK-43 / 11D112 engine burning Lox/Kerosene and 2 x RD-57 / 11D57 engines burning Lox/LH2. The orbiter could have one or two crew, and was designed for 100 reuses. Development costs for the new heavy lift aircraft and larger orbiter would be too high, and the design was abandoned in favour of the Bizan concept. More...
  • Delta 3920 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta K More...
  • Delta 3920/PAM American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B More...
  • Proton-K/DM-2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This improved four stage version uses the Block DM-2 / 11S861 fourth stage, which has its own guidance unit. This reduces payload but does not require the spacecraft's guidance system to provide steering commands to booster. Replaced the original Block DM / 11S86 version from 1982 to 1995. Used for launch of Glonass navigation satellites into medium earth orbit; and launch of Luch, Ekran-M, Potok, Raduga, Gorizont, Raduga-1, Elektro, and Gals communications satellites into geosynchronous orbit. Commercial version with Saab payload adapter-seperation system for Western payloads was dubbed 'Block DM1'. More...
  • Delta 3924 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 37E More...
  • Soyuz 11A511U2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Soyuz 11A511U2 used synthetic kerosene ('Sintin') in first stage for launch of premium reconnaisance satellite and manned payloads requiring just a bit more payload than the standard 11A511 could offer. Further use of the 11A511U2 abandoned in 1996 due to Sintin production stoppage. Later Soyuz spacecraft launched on standard Soyuz, with reduced payload and rendezvous with Mir in lower orbit accepted. More...
  • Ariane 4 French orbital launch vehicle. The ultimate Ariane development. Compared with the Ariane 2/3, the Ariane 4 featured stretched first (61%) and third stages, a strengthened structure, new propulsion bay layouts, new avionics, and the Spelda dual-payload carrier. The basic 40 version used no strap-on motors, while the Ariane 42L, 44L, 42P, 44P, and 44LP versions used varous combinations of solid and liquid propellant strap-on motors). Development was authorised in January 1982, with the objective of increasing payload by 90%. Total development cost 476 million 1986 ECU's. More...
  • Bizan Russian air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Bizan was the 1982 Soviet air-launched spaceplane design iteration between the '49' and 'MAKS' concepts. Like the '49', it was air-launched from atop an An-124 transport. Unlike the '49', it was a single-stage-to-orbit tripropellant concept. More...
  • HOTOL This single-stage-to-orbit winged horizontal takeoff/horizontal landing launch vehicle concept was powered by the unique Rolls-Royce RB545 air / liquid hydrogen / liquid oxygen rocket engine. HOTOL development was conducted from 1982 to 1986 before the British government withdrew funding. It was superseded by the Interim HOTOL design which sought to reduce development cost through use of existing Lox/LH2 engines. More...
  • Proton-K/DM-2 DM1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of the 11S861 with adapter for Lockheed Martin AS 4000 bus spacecraft. More...
  • Atlas H American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas H used the Atlas first stage developed for the Atlas G vehicle. It was flown without the Centaur upper stage. More...
  • Shtil Russian intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle based on R-29RM SLBM. More...
  • Titan 34D American orbital launch vehicle. Stretched Titan core designed for use with 5 1/2 segment solid rocket motors. IUS (Interim/Inertial Upper Stage) solid upper stages, Transtage, or used without upper stages. More...
  • Atlas E/SGS-2 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas E + 1 x Star 48 + 1 x Star 48 upper stages. More...
  • Martin Marietta SDV American orbital launch vehicle. The Martin Marietta Class I SDV would lead to the Shuttle-C, using the shuttle aft fuselage with SSME engines to power a cargo canister into orbit. More...
  • CZ-3 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 3 was a three-stage launch vehicle designed for delivery of satellites of 1,500 kg mass into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The first and second stages were based on the CZ-2C, and designed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. The majority of the technology and flight hardware used in the CZ-3 had been qualified and proven on the CZ-2C. The third stage, manufactured by CALT, was equipped with an LOX/LH2 cryogenic engine. Long March 3 was also capable of placing spacecraft into an elliptical or circular low earth orbit and sun synchronous orbit. More...
  • Ariane 3 French orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 2 x PAP solid rocket boosters + Ariane 2 core. More...
  • Copper Canyon American winged orbital launch vehicle. DARPA program of 1984 that proved the technologies and concept for the X-30 National Aerospace Plane concept. More...
  • Shuttle LRB American winged orbital launch vehicle. Shuttle with Liquid Rocket Boosters in place of Solid Rocket Boosters. More...
  • Mu-3S-II Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 2 x SB-735 + 1 x M-13 + 1 x M-23 + 1 x M-3B More...
  • Zenit-2 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Two-stage version that continued to be used for launch of Russian military satellites tailored to it after the fall of the Soviet Union. 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...
  • VLS Brazilian satellite launcher building on successful family of sounding rockets. More...
  • Delta 4000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 4000 series used more powerful Castor 4A strap-ons, but the old Extended Long Tank core with MB-3 engine. Only two of these were launched. More...
  • Delta 5000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 5000 series used the more powerful Castor 4A strap-ons but with the Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine. Only one was launched. More...
  • Delta 1000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 1000 series used Castor 2 strap-ons and the Extended Long Tank core with MB-3 engine. More...
  • Delta 0100 American orbital launch vehicle. The military Thor-Delta vehicles were developed into the first of a series of commercial satellite launch vehicles. The Delta 0100 series featured Castor 2 solid propellant strap-ons and a Long Tank Thor core with MB-3 engine. More...
  • Delta 3925 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B More...
  • Delta C American orbital launch vehicle. Unaugmented Thor with Delta D and solid propellant upper stages. More...
  • Jarvis American orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle planned for Pacific launch based on Saturn V engines, tooling. Masses, payload estimated. More...
  • Kvant Russian orbital launch vehicle. The Kvant was the Soviet third generation light launch vehicle planned to replace the Kosmos and Tsyklon series. Unlike the vehicles it was to replace, the booster used non-toxic 'environmentally friendly' liquid oxygen/kerosene propellants. Although such a light launch vehicle was on Space Forces wish lists since 1972, full scale development was again deferred due to the crash effort on Soviet 'star wars' in the second half of the 1980's. RKK Energia marketed the vehicle design from 1994 to 2001, but could find no source for development funds. More...
  • LV-3B American orbital launch vehicle. First operational version of Atlas ICBM and used as launch vehicle for Project Mercury. More...
  • LART German winged orbital launch vehicle. MBB/ERNO airbreathing horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing single stage to orbit proposal from the mid-1980s. Largely similar to the BAe HOTOL. More...
  • MAKS Russian air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. The MAKS spaceplane was the ultimate development of the air-launched spaceplane studies conducted by NPO Molniya. The draft project for MAKS was completed in 1988 and consisted of 220 volumes, generated by NPO Molniya and 70 sub-contractors and government institutes. Development of MAKS was authorised but cancelled in 1991. At the time of the cancellation, mock-ups of both the MAKS orbiter and the external tank had been finished. A 9,000 kgf experimental engine with 19 injectors was tested. There were 50 test burns proving the separate modes and a smooth switch between them. Since it was expected that MAKS could reduce the cost of transport to earth orbit by a factor of ten, it was hoped in the 1990's that development funding could be found. However this did not materialise. MAKS was to have flown by 1998. More...
  • Saenger II Proposed two stage to orbit vehicle. Air-breathing hypersonic first stage and delta wing second stage. The German Hypersonics Programme and its Saenger II reference vehicle received most of the domestic funding for spaceplane development in the late 1980s and early 1990s. More...
  • Titan 4 American orbital launch vehicle. Developed to handle military payloads designed for launch on Shuttle from Vandenberg before the USAF pulled out of the Shuttle program after the Challenger disaster. Further stretch of core from Titan 34, 7-segment solid rocket motors (developed for MOL but not used until 25 years later). Enlarged Centaur G used as upper stage (variant of stage designed for Shuttle but prohibited for flight safety reasons after Challenger). Completely revised electronics. All the changes resulted in major increase in cost of launch vehicle and launch operations. More...
  • Thor Burner American orbital launch vehicle. Thor DM-18A with 'Burner' upper stage solid rocket packages used for launch of classified payloads. More...
  • Yakovlev MVKS Russian SSTO winged orbital launch vehicle. In reaction to US X-30 project, government decrees of 27 January and 19 July 1986 ordered development of a Soviet equivalent. The Ministry of Defence issued technical specifications on 1 September for an MVKS, a single-stage reusable aerospaceplane system. The MKVS was to provide effective and economic delivery to near-earth orbit; develop the technology for effective transatmospheric flight; provide super high-speed intercontinental transport, and fulfil military objectives in and from space. It is known that the Tupolev, Yakovlev, and Energia design bureaux submitted designs. No details of the Yakovlev design have become available to date. More...
  • Ariane 2 French orbital launch vehicle. Basic three stage vehicle without solid rocket motor strap-ons. Payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit was 2,175 kg. More...
  • H-1 Japanese license-built version of Delta launch vehicle, with Japanese-developed upper stages. More...
  • H-1 (2) American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage version consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor N + 1 x LE-5 More...
  • H-1 6R American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage version consisting of 6 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor N + 1 x LE-5 + 1 x UM129A More...
  • Barbarian MM American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Zenith Star space-based chemical laser missile defence weapon required a launch vehicle capable of placing a 45,000 kg payload into low earth orbit. Martin and Aerojet turned to their work 20 years earlier on advanced Titans for the MOL program. These earlier studies were combined with new concepts for tank construction and materials. The Martin Barbarian was a 4.57 m diameter Titan vehicle (instead of the customary 3.05 m) with four LR-87 engines on the first stage, and a single LR-87 engine on the second stage. More...
  • Tu-2000 Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. This Soviet equivalent to the US X-30 single-stage-to-orbit scramjet aerospaceplane began development in1986. Three versions were planned: a Mach 6 test vehicle, under construction at cancellation of the program in 1992; a Mach 6 intercontinental bomber; and a single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. More...
  • VKS Russian SSTO winged orbital launch vehicle. RKK Energia's proposed solution to the Soviet government's MVKS requirement for a single-stage-to-orbit reusable aerospaceplane system was this 700-metric-ton, turboramjet/rocket mised propulsion design. Work began in 1986 but abandoned when the Soviet Union collapsed. More...
  • Energia The Energia-Buran Reusable Space System (MKS) began development in 1976 as a Soviet booster that would exceed the capabilities of the US shuttle system. Following extended development, Energia made two successful flights in 1987-1988. But the Soviet Union was crumbling, and the ambitious plans to build an orbiting defense shield, to renew the ozone layer, dispose of nuclear waste, illuminate polar cities, colonize the moon and Mars, were not to be. Funding dried up and the Energia-Buran program completely disappeared from the government's budget after 1993. More...
  • ALS American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Advanced Launch System (ALS), was a US Air Force funded effort in 1987-1989 to develop a flexible, modular, heavy-lift, high rate space launch vehicle that could deliver payloads to earth orbit at a tenth the cost of existing boosters. Such a vehicle was seen as essential to supporting the launch of the huge numbers of satellites required for deployment of the ‘Star Wars' ballistic missile defense system. With the end of the Cold War, Star Wars was abandoned. The projected launch rate without the Star Wars requirement could never pay back the $15 billion non recurring cost, and the program was ended. More...
  • Barbarian MDD American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Proposed launch vehicle for large SDI 'Star Wars' payloads. Expected to cost $ 400-500 million, the Barbarian could place the Zenith-Star chemical laser into low earth orbit. It would consist of 3 Shuttle SRM's, attached around a ring of six Delta RS-27 first stage boosters, which in turn clustered around a single Delta first stage booster that was the last stage of the launch vehicle. More...
  • Beta III German SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. In 1969 Dietrich Koelle proposed his BETA III design. This was to deliver 20 tonnes to orbit with a launch mass of 600 tonnes. In 1996 and 1998 he updated the design for use as an ISS resupply vehicle in place of the shuttle, and as a space tourism vehicle for 100 passengers. More...
  • Beta II German SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Beta II was Dietrich Koelle's nominal 350 tonne lift-off mass SSTO design for launch of a 10 tonne European spaceplane. More...
  • Beta IV German SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Beta II was Dietrich Koelle's largest SSTO concept, with a nominal 2000 tonne lift-off mass SSTO design and 100 tonne payload. More...
  • Delta 2 6000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 6000 series used the Castor 4A strap-ons with the ultimate Extra Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine. More...
  • EARL I German winged orbital launch vehicle. A larger Earl 14 configuration was studied, but the study centered on the Earl 5 / 18 / 7 configurations. The second stage was mounted on top of the booster. Earl 5 and 7 had winged second stages, with payloads to low earth orbit of 5380 kg to 7180 kg. Earl 14 featured an expendable upper stage which increased payload to 18,000 kg. More...
  • Groza Variant of the Energia launch vehicle with two strap-on boosters instead of four. This would have fullfilled the 50 tonne payload requirement had the third generation booster plan been fully implemented. More...
  • STS-2000 TSTO Two stage to orbit horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing variant of STS-2000. Ramjet/rocket mixed power first stage. Mach 6 separation of rocket-powered second stage. French study of the 1980's. More...
  • STS-2000 SSTO French winged orbital launch vehicle. Single stage to orbit ramjet/rocket mix power horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing study of the 1980's. More...
  • Ariane 44LP French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 2 liquid rocket + 2 solid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Proton-K/D-2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was a modification of the original Block D / 11S824M for launch of late 1980's Lavochkin OKB probes on missions to Mars. Guidance to the Block D-2 stage must be supplied by spacecraft. More...
  • Titan 2G American intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Space launch version, obtained through minimal refurbishment of decommissioned ICBM's. More...
  • CZ-4A Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-4 was developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. Its first stage was essentially the same as that of the CZ-3 and the second stage was identical to that of the CZ-3. The CZ-4's third stage, however, was a development, featuring a thin wall common intertank bulkhead tankage and two-engine cluster with both engines gimbling about two perpendicular axes. The third stage engine cluster connected to the tank aft bulkhead through the engine bay. The CZ-4 had two payload fairing configurations: Type-A and Type-B. The CZ-4 was designed for launching satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits. More...
  • Shavit Israeli all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Satellite launcher derived from Jericho II MRBM, essentially identical to South African RSA-3. More...
  • Energia/Buran Design version of Energia, with the reusable Buran manned spaceplane mounted to the side of the core. More...
  • Chang Cheng 1 Chinese winged orbital launch vehicle. The Chang Cheng 1 (Great Wall 1) vertical takeoff / horizontal landing two-stage space shuttle was a compromise design created jointly by Shanghai Astronautics Bureau 805 (now the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology) and Institute 604 of the Air Ministry in 1988. An expendable booster, consisting of three of Shanghai's planned liquid oxygen/kerosene modular boosters, would boost the winged second stage shuttle to a high altitude. The engines of the winged shuttle stage would take it to orbit. This approach would allow a first flight to be made in 2008. More...
  • CZ-1C Chinese orbital launch vehicle. Proposed launch vehicle derived from the CZ-1, with a new upper stage. Never flown. More...
  • EARL German winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertical takoff / horizontal landing two-stage launch vehicle study from the 1980s. More...
  • H-2 HTOHL The H-2 horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing two-stage reusable space shuttle was proposed by Institute 601 of the Air Ministry in 1988. The first stage would used air breathing engines to accelerate the rocket-powered second stage to release velocity. This ambitious design would leapfrog China ahead of other spacefaring nations, but would be available no earlier than 2015. It was decided the concept was beyond Chinese technical capability, and it was not pursued further. More...
  • Liberty American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Private commercial launch vehicle. More...
  • MAKS-M Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Fully reusable unpiloted verion of MAKS, similar to Interim HOTOL. Air launched from An-225. MAKS was found to have superior payload, lower non-recurring cost and technical risk. MAKS-M would require new materials. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 275,000 kg, 38.0 m length x 24.0 m wingspan, 900 kph at 9,500 m altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 270 m/s. Payload bay 7.0 m long x 4.6 m diameter. More...
  • MAKS-T Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. All cargo version of MAKS. Air-launched heavy-lift launcher would use an expendable second stage with a payload container. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 275,000 kg, 38.0 m length x 24.0 m wingspan, 900 kph at 9,500 m altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 270 m/s. Payload bay 13.0 m long x 5.0 m diameter. More...
  • Phoenix C American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. The larger 180 tonne Phoenix design of the 1980's was envisioned in two versions -- the Phoenix C (Cargo, unmanned) and Phoenix E (Excursion -- for use as a lunar or Mars lander and personnel transport to earth orbit). The earlier versions used liquid oxygen oxidiser and two fuels (hydrogen and propane) but later iterations used only oxygen and hydrogen (varying the oxidiser to fuel ration during ascent). The designs used an 'aeroplug' in place of the 'aerospike' of earlier SSTO designs. Gary Hudson and Maxwell Hunter spent several years trying to interest investors in the designs before the company folded. More...
  • Phoenix L American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. The small Phoenix design of the 1980's was envisioned in two versions -- the Phoenix L (Light, cargo only) and Phoenix LP (Light-Prime, crewed). The earlier versions used liquid oxygen oxidiser and two fuels (hydrogen and propane) but later iterations used only oxygen and hydrogen (varying the oxidiser to fuel ratio during ascent). The designs used an 'aeroplug' in place of the 'aerospike' of earlier SSTO designs. More...
  • Phoenix M American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Intermediate versions of the Phoenix concept were sketched out in the mid-1980's. These more conservative vehicles used individual altitude-compensating bell nozzles rather than the aeroplug baseline. Composite materials were to be used in the aeroshell and, possibly, in the propellant tankage. More...
  • Shuttle II American orbital launch vehicle. In May 1988 NASA Langley studied a new-technology approach to improving the shuttle's payload capability. The design would allow 9,000 to 18,000 kg of additional payload to be carried in an external payload container or in the orbiter. More...
  • SSX American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. The X-Rocket was a VTOVL SSTO design by Maxwell Hunter II at Lockheed in the late 1980's. The 227 tonne vehicle was powered by clustered RL10 engines. Internal reviews at Lockheed rejected the feasibility of the vehicle. After Hunter retired he worked with Gary Hudson to refine the design as the SSX. This was briefed by the pair to Space Defence Inititive Organization (SDIO) officials in 1988. It was largely through their efforts that the US government funded the DC-X demonstrator in the 1990's. More...
  • Titan 5 American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed Titan upgrade with cryogenic core as replacement for NLS. More...
  • VKS-D Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Air launched from An-225. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 275,000 kg, 38.0 m length x 24.0 m wingspan, 900 kph at 9,500 m altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 270 m/s. More...
  • VKS-RTO+ZhRD Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Horizontal takeoff, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, launch vehicle. Mixed rocket / ramjet propulsion. More...
  • VKS-ZhRD+GPVRD Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Horizontal takeoff, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, launch vehicle. Mixed rocket / scramjet propulsion. More...
  • VKS-G Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Air launched from Kholod Mach 5 mother ship. This was a Mikoyan supersonic cargo aircraft, designed from Spiral 50-50 design. Combined-cycle turbo-ramjet engine. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 200,000 kg, Mach 5 at 25 to 30 km altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 1130 m/s. It was concluded that the extensive development would be required for the combination-cycle engines, resulting in an extended development schedule and high technical risk. The more conservative subsonic-launched MAKS was chosen instead. More...
  • V-2 VTOHL Chinese winged orbital launch vehicle. The V-2 vertical takeoff / horizontal landing two-stage reusable space shuttle was proposed by Beijing Department 11 of the Air Ministry in 1988. The first stage would use liquid oxygen/kerosene engines, while the second would use liquid oxygen/hydrogen engines. Both stages would be winged, and first flight would be no earlier than 2015. More...
  • VKS-O Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertical takeoff, ballistic re-entry, single-stage-to-orbit, Lox/Kerosene/LH2 tripropellant rocket engine powered, reusable launch vehicle. 550 tonne and 770 tonne gross lift-off mass versions considered. More...
  • VKS-R Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Sled launched, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, Lox/LH2 launch vehicle. 290 tonne and 550 tonne versions considered. Studied in tradeoff studies leading to MAKS. Release conditions: Piggy-back, 290,000 kg, Mach 0.5, zero altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 100 m/s. The wheeled sled would get the vehicle up to a velocity where the wings could provide lift, allowing lower-thrust engines to be used than in a vertical-takeoff design. This saved weight, but velocity losses during lifting flight to orbit almost cancelled the advantage, resulting in the approach being unattractive in comparison to pure vertical-launch or air-launch designs. More...
  • VKS-V Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertical takeoff, delta winged, single-stage-to-orbit, Lox/Kerosene/LH2 tripropellant rocket engine powered vehicle. 550 tonne gross liftoff mass and 1000 tonne versions studied. Analogous to NASA's Shuttle-2 and RKK Energia's VKS. More...
  • Delta 6925 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27+ 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B More...
  • Delta 3920-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta K More...
  • RSA South African orbital launch vehicle. Israel and South Africa collaborated closely in rocket technology in the 1970's and 1980's. South Africa provided Israel with the uranium and test facilities it needed for its strategic weapons programmes. In exchange Israel provided aerospace technology. This included the capability of building the ten-tonne solid propellant rocket motors designed for the Israeli Jericho-2 missile. These motors were the basis of two space launchers for an indigenous 'R5b' space programme. It seems that South Africa also planned to use these motors in a series of missiles to provide a nuclear deterrent. More...
  • RSA-3 The RSA-3 satellite launcher began development as an IRBM in the 1980's because of the perceived Soviet threat and isolation of South Africa. It was developed with the assistance of Israel and was believed to be essentially identical to the Israeli Jericho missile/Shavit launch vehicle. The objective of the satellite launcher was to place a small surveillance satellite of 330 kg mass into a 41 degree, 212 x 460 km orbit around the earth. Development continued even after South African renunciation of its nuclear weapons. However the launcher was found not to be viable commercially and so was cancelled in mid-1994. More...
  • Ariane 44L French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 4 liquid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Delta 4925-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x ELT Thor /MB-3 + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.4 m (8 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • AMROC IRR American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Single stage vehicle. More...
  • AMROC American low cost orbital launch vehicle. The AMROC corporation proposed to develop low-cost hybrid-propulsion orbital launch vehicles in the 1980's. Actual flight hardware did not go beyond a small test vehicle. More...
  • Delta 5920-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta K with 2.4 m (8 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Tamouz Iraqi space launch vehicle/ICBM based on clustering of Scud tactical missiles. Canadian rocket scientist Gerald Bull was allegedly killed by Israeli agents not for his work on the supergun, but rather for his much more damaging assistance to the Iraqis in doing the dynamic calculations for the Tamouz. More...
  • Buran-T Fully recoverable version of Energia launch vehicle, with four winged boosters and a winged core stage. More...
  • Exploration HLLV American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Numerous NASA studies in the late 1980's and 1990's came to the same conclusion as the Nova studies of the 1960's - to get to Mars, an extremely heavy lift launch vehicle was needed to assemble Mars expeditions in low earth orbit. A nominal heavy list vehicle with a payload of at least 140 tonnes into a Space Station Freedom orbit would have to be developed for such missions. More...
  • Shuttle LRB 1989 American orbital launch vehicle. In July 1989 a NASA Langley/George Washington University joint study was made of various Liquid Rocket Booster configurations. More...
  • Shuttle C American orbital launch vehicle. NASA Marshall design for a cargo version of the shuttle system. The shuttle orbiter would be replaced by an unmanned recoverable main engine pod. The same concept was studied earlier as the Interim Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (IHLLV) and as the Class I Shuttle Derived Vehicle (SDV). The Phase I two-SSME configuration would have a payload of 45,000 kg to low earth orbit. Design carried to an advanced phase in 1987-1990, but then abandoned when it was found the concept had no cost advantage over existing expenable launch vehicles. More...
  • Commercial Titan 3 American orbital launch vehicle. Commercial version of Titan 34D military booster. It differed in having a lengthened second stage and a 4 m diameter payload shroud to handle shuttle-class or Ariane-type dual payloads. More...
  • Ariane 40 French orbital launch vehicle. 3 stage core vehicle with original Ariane H10 upper stage. A fully fueled Ariane core cannot lift off the ground without strap-on liquid or solid motors. When Ariane 4 is launched in this configuration, the propellant tanks of the first and second stages are not completely filled. More...
  • Delta 6920-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27+ 1 x Delta K with 2.4 m (8 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Pegasus American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Privately-funded, air-launched winged light satellite launcher. More...
  • Delta 6925-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27+ 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.4 m (8 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Delta 6920-X Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27+ 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter fairing More...
  • Titan 405A American orbital launch vehicle. Version of Titan 4 with no upper stage, configured for launch of lower-mass, higher-orbit SDS and NOSS-2 payloads from Cape Canaveral. More...
  • CZ-2E Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-2E added four liquid rocket booster strap-ons to the basic CZ-2 core to achieve a low earth orbit payload capability approaching the Russian Proton, US Titan, or European Ariane rockets. The Long March 2E had a maximum payload capability of 9,500 kg to low earth orbit. More...
  • Atlas I American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas I launch vehicle was derived from the Atlas G, and included the same basic vehicle components (Atlas booster and Centaur upper stage). Significant improvements in the guidance and control system were made with an emphasis on replacing analog flight control components with digital units interconnected with a digital data bus. More...
  • Ariane 42P French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 2 solid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Rokot Russian all-solid orbital launch vehicle, consisting of decommissioned UR-100N ICBMs with a Briz-KM upper stage. More...
  • Delta 7925 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B More...
  • Aerospatiale VTVL French SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Aerospatiale vertical takeoff, vertical landing single stage to orbit study. More...
  • Astros German sled-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Under the Future European Space Transportation Investigation Programme (FESTIP) of 1994-1999 French agencies and contractors designed a number of alternative reusable space launchers. This one was a Sled-launched horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing single stage to orbit. Essentially similar to FESTIP FSS-4 More...
  • DSL HTHL German winged orbital launch vehicle. Under the Future European Space Transportation Investigation Programme (FESTIP) of 1994-1999 French agencies and contractors designed a number of alternative reusable space launchers. This one was a Horizontal Takeoff / Horizontal Landing Two Stage to Orbit proposal with Mach 3 stage separation. Later evolved into the FESTIP FSS-11,which was merged with FSS-12. Reusable and expendable upper stage options. More...
  • EARL II German winged orbital launch vehicle. Later EARL version from 1990. Parallel staging, both stages winged and recoverable. Expendable upper stage for heavy-lift missions. More...
  • Rokot K Russian all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Version with Briz-K upper stage. More...
  • Low Cost Cargo Vehicle American orbital launch vehicle. This variant of the Shuttle C was envisioned for delivery of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to orbit. More...
  • Oriflamme French design for a scramjet-powered horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing, single stage to orbit vehicle. More...
  • Radiance French winged orbital launch vehicle. Two stage to orbit horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing vehicle. Booster would be powered by scramjets to Mach 12 separation before second stage separated. More...
  • RWDT HTHL German winged orbital launch vehicle. Under the Future European Space Transportation Investigation Programme (FESTIP) of 1994-1999 French agencies and contractors designed a number of alternative reusable space launchers. This one was a Horizontal Takeoff / Horizontal Landing Two Stage to Orbit proposal with Mach 4 stage separation. Vehicle consisted of an unpowered 'reusable winged drop tank' and 2-engine expendable Ariane-5 upper stage. More...
  • Spacecab British winged orbital launch vehicle. The Bristol Spaceplanes Spacecab was a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) Manned Spaceplane, with an airbreathing supersonic / hypersonic, delta winged first stage and a second stage powered by a liquid fuelled rocket engine. It was proposed by David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd. in the 1980`s / 1990's. The Concorde-sized spacecraft would deliver a payload of 6 persons to low Earth orbit. It would serve as a prototype for the larger 50-person Spacebus. More...
  • STAR-H French winged orbital launch vehicle. Mach 6 hypersonic first stage would launch Hermes spaceplane with an expendable second stage. More...
  • Shuttle C Block II American orbital launch vehicle. In August 1989 NASA studied a version of the Shuttle-C with two Advanced Solid Rocket Mortors (ASRM's) in place of the standard RSRM's. This would increase the payload by 4500 kg, but also require use of a new 10 m x 30 m payload module. More...
  • Spacebus British winged orbital launch vehicle. The Bristol Spaceplanes Spacebus was a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) Manned Spaceplane, with an airbreathing supersonic / hypersonic, delta winged first stage and a second stage powered by a liquid fuelled rocket engine. It was proposed by David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd. in the 1980`s / 1990's. The 6-crew Concorde-sized Spacecab would serve as a prototype for the larger 50-person Spacebus. More...
  • Shuttle Z American orbital launch vehicle. Shuttle-Z was Shuttle-C on steroids, the ultimate development of the shuttle to be used to put Mars expeditions into orbit. It would use 4 SSME's, and a third stage with 181,000 kg of propellant powered by 1 SSSME. But such designs would require new handling facilities due to the extra height of the vehicle. More...
  • Titan 4B American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 4 with Upgraded Solid Rocket Motors replacing UA1207. Developed to improve performance for certain missions, and reduce number of field joints in motor after Challenger and Titan 34D explosions involving segmented motors. More...
  • TARANIS French study of vertical takeoff / horizontal landing, two stage to orbit launch vehicle with expendable orbiter fuel tanks. More...
  • X-30 American SSTO winged orbital launch vehicle. Air-breathing scramjet single stage to orbit. Second attempt after study of similar proposal in early 1960's. Cancelled due to cost, technical challenges. More...
  • LCLV American low cost orbital launch vehicle. As a result of TRW's review of the Truax/Aerojet Sea Dragon, TRW became so interested in the concept that they undertook studies of their own, which resulted in a design that became known as the 'Big Dumb Booster'. They proposed structural approaches that were even more conservative than Aerojet's, e.g., the use of T-180 steel instead of maraging steel, which would result in even heavier and cheaper tankage. TRW finally obtained USAF funding for fabrication of stage sections and demonstration of scaled-up versions of the TRW pump-fed Apollo Lunar Module ascent engine. The design promised low cost access to space using low technology (steel stages built to low tolerances in shipyards, pressure-fed engines, and low cost storable propellants). But yet again neither NASA or USAF showed interest in true cheap access to space. More...
  • Titan 403A American orbital launch vehicle. Version of Titan 4 with no upper stage, configured for launch of lower-mass, higher-orbit Lacrosse, SDS and NOSS-2 payloads from Vandenberg. More...
  • Ariane 44P French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 4 solid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Pegasus/HAPS American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Five stage version consisting of 1 x NB-52 + 1 x Orion 50S + 1 x Orion 50 + 1 x Orion 38 + 1 x HAPS More...
  • Atlas II American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas II booster was 2.7-meters longer than an Atlas I and included uprated Rocketdyne MA-5A engines. The Atlas I vernier engines were replaced with a hydrazine roll control system. The Centaur stage was stretched 0.9-meters compared to the Centaur I stage. Fixed foam insulation replaced Atlas I's jettisonable insulation panels. The original Atlas II model was developed to support the United States Air Force Medium Launch Vehicle II program. Its Centaur used RL10A-3-3A engines operating at an increased mixture ratio. The first Atlas II flew on 7 December 1991, successfully delivering AC-102/Eutelsat II F3 to orbit. More...
  • Ares Mars Direct American orbital launch vehicle. The Ares launch vehicle was designed for support of Zubrin's Mars Direct expedition. It was a shuttle-derived design taking maximum advantage of existing hardware. It would use shuttle Advanced Solid Rocket Boosters, a modified shuttle external tank for handling vertically-mounted payloads, and a new Lox/LH2 third stage for trans-Mars or trans-lunar injection of the payload. Ares would put 121 tonnes into a 300 km circular orbit , boost 59 tonnes toward the moon or 47 tonnes toward Mars. Without the upper stage 75 tonnes could be placed in low earth orbit. More...
  • DRM1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Mars Design Reference Mission version 1.0 studied a number of heavy-lift boosters capable of lofting more than 200 tonnes into low earth orbit. The Red Team recommended configuration was an NLS / shuttle-derived vehicle with F-1A powered liquid rocket boosters. More...
  • Interim HOTOL Initiated by a British Aerospace team led by Dr Bob Parkinson in 1991, this was a less ambitious, scaled-back version of the original HOTOL. The single-stage to orbit winged launch vehicle using four Russian rocket engines. It was to have been air-launched from a Ukrainian An-225 Mriya (Dream) aircraft. Interim HOTOL would separate from the carrier aircraft at subsonic speeds, and would then pull up for the ascent to orbit. It would return via a gliding re-entry and landing on gear on a conventional runway. Interim HOTOL suffered from the same aerodynamic design challenges as HOTOL and went through many, many design iterations in the quest for a practical design. More...
  • Millenium Express American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Space Systems Division proposal for the 1990 SDIO competition was a VTOL SSTO named Millennium Express. The final vehicle was a 15 degree cone with a 20%-length Rocketdyne aerospike engine. Payload was specified as 4500 kg into a polar low earth orbit. The Express could carry on its nose a payload module, a small Apollo-type two-crew seperable manned capsule, or a six-crew module that remained attached to the vehicle for recovery. The similar Douglas Delta Clipper was selected by the USAF for further development. More...
  • Nerva 2 American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Version of 1960's nuclear fission engine proposed in 1990's. More...
  • NLS American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. New (or National) Launch System (NLS) joint NASA/USAF studies began in 1989, following the demise of the ALS. They proposed development of a family of launch vehicles using a new STME engine to replace the existing ‘high cost' boosters derived from 1950's missile designs. The $12 billion nonrecurring cost was nearly that estimated for ALS, and this cost could not be recouped at projected launch rates. NLS was terminated in 1991. More...
  • NLS HLV American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NLS Heavy Lift Version. Lower cost expendable launch vehicle studied by NASA/USAF in late 1980's. More...
  • Atlas IIA American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas IIA was a commercial derivative of the Atlas II developed for the US Air Force. Higher performance RL10A-4 (or RL10A-4-1) engines replaced Atlas II's RL10A-3-3A engines. More...
  • CZ-2D Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 2D was a two-stage launch vehicle with storable propellants, suitable for launching a variety of low earth orbit satellites. Developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, the CZ-2D had a typical payload capability of 3,500kg in a 200 km circular orbit. Its first stage was identical to that of the CZ-4. The second stage was essentially the same as that of the CZ-4, except for an improved vehicle equipment bay. More...
  • Titan 404A American orbital launch vehicle. Version of Titan 4 with no upper stage, configured for launch of heavy-weight, low altitude KH-12 and Improved CRYSTAL payloads from Vandenberg. More...
  • VKS-DM Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Air launched from Gerakl / NPO Molniya-1000 heavy-lift aircraft, catamaran layout, twin-fuselage triplane. Release conditions: Suspended load, 450,000 kg, 900 kph at 9,500 m altitude. Effective velocity gain compared to vertical launch 270 m/s. More...
  • Burlak Russian air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Burlak air-launched satellite launcher was proposed in 1992 and studied by Germany in 1992-1994. Evidently based on secret anti-satellite missile. Air launched from Tu-160 bomber, released at 13,500 m altitude and Mach 1.7. Development estimated to cost only DM 50 million, but not proceeded with. Burlak/Diana variant would have been launched from Concorde. More...
  • Excalibur American sea-launched orbital launch vehicle. Excalibur was a subscale version of Sea Dragon proposed by Truax Engineering in the 1990's. It featured the same attributes as Sea Dragon: low cost design (pressure fed engines), Lox/Kerosene first stage (combustion chamber pressure 24 atmospheres) and Lox/LH2 second stage (chamber pressure 5 atmospheres). Guidance would be by a combined Inertial/GPS system. An even smaller Excalibur S vehicle would prove the concept and place 500 kg in orbit. More...
  • Ariane 40-3 French orbital launch vehicle. 3 stage core vehicle with Ariane Ariane H10-3 upper stage. More...
  • Project 921 In 1992 Xiandong Bao of the Shanghai Astronautics Bureau revealed plans for a modular family of modern rockets to support future Chinese manned space activities. The entire family would be based on a Lox/Kerosene booster stage of 306 tonnes mass, and a Lox/LH2 upper stage of 57 tonnes mass. More...
  • Timberwind American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. DARPA project. Nuclear fission engine using pebble bed reactor with spherical fuel elements. More...
  • Start-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle based on decommissioned ICBM's. Launched from mobile transporter. Liftoff mass 47 tonnes. More...
  • Ariane 42L French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 2 liquid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • PSLV Indian third-generation launch vehicle, large enough to carry polar-orbiting earth resources satellites. More...
  • Atlas IIAS American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas II booster was 2.7-meters longer than the Atlas I and included uprated Rocketdyne MA-5A engines. The Atlas I vernier engines were replaced with a hydrazine roll control system. The Centaur stage was stretched 0.9-meters compared to the Centaur I stage. Fixed foam insulation replaced Atlas I's jettisonable insulation panels. Higher performance RL10A-4 or RL10A-4-1 engines replaced Atlas II's RL10A-3-3A. The Atlas IIAS model added four Thiokol Castor IVA solid rocket boosters (SRBs) to the core Atlas stage to augment thrust for the first two minutes of flight. More...
  • 17K-AM A small two stage to orbit horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing vehicle proposed for the Russian Air Force in 1993. More...
  • ASA Russian sled-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Sled-launched airbreathing single stage to orbit horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing launch vehicle proposed in Russia. More...
  • ADLER French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane-5 derived semi-reusable proposal of 1993. Expendable fuel tanks but recoverable propulsion/avionics module. More...
  • Advanced Scout American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade of Scout proposed by the University of Rome with two strap-ons from the Ariane 4. Launch would have been from Italy's San Marco platform off Kenya. Further work cancelled in 1993. More...
  • Ajax Russian sled-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Sled-launched, air-breathing, single stage to orbit, horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing launch vehicle proposed in Russia. More...
  • Black Horse American air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Winged, single stage to orbit launch vehicle using aerial refueling and lower performance, non-cryogenic propellants. Takes off from runway at 22,000 kg gross weight; rendezvous with tanker to load 66,760 kg oxidizer; then flies to orbit. More...
  • Black Colt American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Winged, first stage of a launch vehicle using aerial refueling and existing engines. Takes off from runway; rendezvous with tanker to load oxidizer; then flies to Mach 12/150 nm to release Star 48V second stage and 450 kg payload. In comparison to Black Horse, uses existing engines and a much more achievable mass fraction by only flying to half orbital speed. More...
  • DC-X2 American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Proposed intermediate 1/2 scale test vehicle between DC-X and DC-Y orbital version. No government agency was willing to fund the $450 million development cost -- and neither were any private investors. More...
  • DC-Y American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. The ultimate goal of the Delta Clipper program, a prototype reusable single-stage to orbit, vertical takeoff/vertical landing space truck. The DC-I Delta Clipper would be the full production version. No government sponsor could be found for the concept and the $ 5 billion development cost was never funded. If it had been funded in 1991, the first DC-Y suborbital flight was predicted for 1995, and a first orbital mission in 1997. More...
  • Energia M Launch vehicle originally designed in the 1980's to fullfill the third generation 20-30 tonnes to orbit launcher requirement. It was an adaptation of the Energia launch vehicle, using two strap-on booster units instead of four, and a reduced-diameter core using a single RD-0120 engine instead of four. In the 1990's a structural test article was built and it was proposed that several Energia-M's be launched for commercial customers using surplus Energia components. No buyers came forward for the untested design. More...
  • Herakles Russian air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle design by NPO Molniya / TsAGI that would utilize air launch from a giant cargo aircraft capable of lifting 900 tonne payloads. The single stage to orbit spaceplane would be released at subsonic velocity. More...
  • Ariane 42L-3 French orbital launch vehicle. As Ariane 42L but with Ariane H10-3 upper stage. More...
  • LII Spaceplane Russian air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. LII (the Gromov Experimental Flight Institute at Zhukoskiy) designed several alternate spaceplane concepts for air-launch from the An-225 transport. These were similar to the various MAKS concepts. More...
  • MiG-2000 Russian sled-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Sled-launched single stage to orbit vehicle with air-breathing propulsion to Mach 5 (subsonic combustion). The sled would accelerate the launch vehicle to Mach 0.8. Propellants wer slush hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The vehicle would have a 3000 km cross-range on re-entry. More...
  • MAKS-D Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. NPO Molniya, Antonov, and TsAGI proposed a spaceplane demonstrator project to the European Space Agency in 1993-1994 under the RADEM project. This would be a scaled-back version of the cancelled MAKS spaceplane using existing rocket engines. An unmanned prototype of the MAKS would be fitted out with RD-120 Lox/Kerosene engines. Launched from atop the An-225, the MAKS-D would reach an altitude of 80 to 90 km and a speed of Mach 14 to 15. More...
  • MIGAKS Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Turbojet/ramjet-powered two stage to orbit horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing vehicle. Mach 6 stage separation. The orbiter had a 2000 km cross-range capability with landing on airfields with runways of 3500 m length or more. More...
  • Priboy/Surf Russian orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle using the 1st stage of the SS-N-20 SLBM topped by an SS-N-23 SLBM (RSM-52+RSM-54). Liftoff mass 104 tonnes. Can be launched from stationary or mobile platforms. More...
  • Shuttle ASRM American winged orbital launch vehicle. Shuttle using Advanced Solid Rocket Motors (development cancelled 1993). More...
  • Proton-K/DM-2M This four stage version uses the Block DM-2M / 11S861-01 upper stage, which has its own self-contained guidance unit. This reduces payload but does not require the spacecraft's guidance system to provide steering commands to booster. Used for launches of Russian geosynchronous satellites from 1994 on. 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...
  • H-II Japanese orbital launch vehicle. 3 stage vehicle consisted of 2 x H-II SRB boosters + core vehicle. More...
  • CZ-3A Chinese three-stage orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 3A, by incorporating the mature technologies of the CZ-3 and adding a more powerful cryogenic third stage and more capable control system, had a greater geosynchronous transfer orbit capability, greater flexibility for attitude control, and better adaptability to a variety of launch missions. More...
  • Delta 7925-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.4 m (8 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • ARPA Taurus American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage version consisting of 1 x TU-904 + 1 x Orion 50 + 1 x Orion 50 + 1 x Orion 38 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...
  • Pegasus XL American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Uprated version of Pegasus air-launched winged light satellite launcher. 4 stage vehicle consisting of 1 x L-1011 + 1 x Pegasus XL stage 1 + 1 x Orion 50XL + 1 x Orion 38. More...
  • Angara 1.1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. The initial flight version would be the Angara 1.1, featuring a single URM core module with the existing Briz upper stage. Payload would be 2.0 tonnes to a 200 km / 63 deg orbit). Other vehicle variants were numbered according to the number of URM's. More...
  • Delta 7925-10 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter fairing More...
  • Athena-3 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Planned but never flown heavier-lift version of Athena. More...
  • EER Aries American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Aries launched to promote a commercial launch vehicle of entirely different configuration. More...
  • Ariane 42P-3 French orbital launch vehicle. As Ariane 42P but with Ariane H10-3 upper stage. More...
  • H-II (2S) Japanese orbital launch vehicle. Three stage version consisting of 2 x H-II SSB boosters + 2 x H-II SRB boosters + core vehicle. More...
  • Kvant-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. From 1996-2001 RSC Energia carried out design studies on the Kvant-1 light launch vehicle with a low earth orbit payload capability of 1.8 to 3.0 metric tons. Market surveys seemed to indicate a need for a new launch vehicle of this class but development funding was not forthcoming. More...
  • Kosmos 65MP Russian orbital launch vehicle. Adaptation of 11K65M launcher for suborbital and single orbit test of subscale prototypes of Spiral and Buran manned spaceplanes (BOR-4 and BOR-5). More...
  • Mu-3 The Japanese Mu launcher series provided a flexible all-solid propellant launch vehicle for access to space. More...
  • RSA-4 South African all-solid orbital launch vehicle. The RSA-4 ICBM / satellite launcher was a planned follow-on to the RSA-3. A large new first stage optimised the vehicle and more than doubled the payload in comparison to the RSA-3. It is not known if the project reached the point of testing of the large motor, which was equivalent to the US Peacekeeper first stage. More...
  • Riksha Russian orbital launch vehicle. New design launch vehicle based on SLBM technology. More...
  • Start Russian orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle based on decommissioned SS-25 ICBM's (differs from ICBM/basic Start-1 in having second stage used twice, in tandem, for increased payload). Launched from mobile transporter. Liftoff mass 60 tonnes. More...
  • Pegasus H American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x L-1011 + 1 x Orion 50S + 1 x Orion 50 + 1 x Orion 38 More...
  • Shavit 1 Israeli all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Shavit 1 is an improved version of the original Shavit with a stretched first stage motor. More...
  • CZ-1D Chinese orbital launch vehicle. Proposed launch vehicle derived from the CZ-1, but with a new N2O4/UDMH second stage. Used for a suborbital re-entry vehicle test but never flown on an orbital mission. More...
  • Athena American orbital launch vehicle. Privately funded family of solid propellant satellite launch vehicles. Originally known as LMLV (Lockheed-Martin Launch Vehicle); LLV (Lockheed Launch Vehicle). Sales did not develop as hoped by the company after the MEO-satellite bubble burst in the 1990's. More...
  • Athena-1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Basic version of the Athena with a Castor 120 first stage, Orbus second stage, and OAM Orbital Adjustment Module. More...
  • Kistler K-1 American low-cost orbital launch vehicle. The Kistler K-1 was a reusable two-stage launch vehicle developed by a prestigious team of ex-Apollo managers, designed originally for launch of Iridium-class communications satellites to medium altitude earth orbit. Kistler began development but had to file for Chapter 11 protection before detailed hardware fabrication was completed. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2005, and merged with suborbital startup Rocketplane to form Rocketplane Kistler. On 8 November 2006, it was announced that Alliant Techsystems, as lead contractor, would complete the K-1 launch vehicle, with Rocketplane Kistler as a subcontractor, under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. More...
  • Conestoga 1620 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Castor 4B + 2 x Castor 4B + 1 x Castor 4B + 1 x Star 48V More...
  • Delta 7920-X Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter fairing More...
  • Ariane 44P-3 French orbital launch vehicle. As Ariane 44P but with Ariane H10-3 upper stage. More...
  • Japanese Space Plane Japanese winged orbital launch vehicle. NAL / Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. design for a single stage to orbit spaceplane. Crew of ten, empty mass 110 tonnes. LACE / Scramjet engines, 29 m wingspan. More...
  • Kankoh Maru Japanese SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Kawasaki design for single stage to orbit reusable booster. Would carry 50 passengers to orbiting hotels or fast intercontinental flights. More...
  • Skylon British single-stage-to-orbit, horizontal-takeoff-horizontal-landing turborocket orbital launch vehicle design of the mid-1990's. The novel lightweight structural design was based on lessons learned in the many iterations of the HOTOL concept. The classified Sabre turbojet-rocket combined-cycle engine was taken to a high level of test by Alan Bond at Rolls Royce. Despite the extreme promise of the design, neither British government or private financing was forthcoming. More...
  • Grom Russian orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x R-39 St 1 + 1 x R-39 St 2 + 1 x R-39 St 3 More...
  • J Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. All-solid rocket motor launch vehicle. Because of the high cost, the original J-1 design was superseded by an alternate J-1 F2 with a different booster stage. More...
  • J-1 Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Original version. More...
  • CZ-3B Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 3B was the most powerful Long March launch vehicle. It could inject a 5,000 kg payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The CZ-3B was developed on the basis of the CZ-3A, but had enlarged propellant tanks, larger fairing, and four boosters strapped onto the core stage. The CZ-3B boosters were identical to those of the CZ-3A. More...
  • Ariane 5G French orbital launch vehicle. Initial version of the Ariane 5, a bit too large for the main commercial geosynchronous communications satellite payloads. 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...
  • Ariane 5 VTVL French orbital launch vehicle. Partially reusable concept of 1995 using Ariane 5 core with vertical takeoff, vertical landing boosters. More...
  • Ariane 5 RRL French orbital launch vehicle. Partially reusable concept of 1993 using Ariane 5 core with flyback booster stages with Russian engines (RD-120 or RD-701). More...
  • Ariane 5 FLS French orbital launch vehicle. Partially reusable concept of 1988 using Ariane 5 core with twin reusable flyback boosters. More...
  • Ariane 5 EC-B French orbital launch vehicle. The ultimate evolved Ariane 5 funded as of the end of the millenium. A larger Lox/LH2 upper stage using the Vinci motor in place of the HM7B. The core remains the same. Result is an increase in GTO payload from 10.5 tonnes to 12.0 tonnes. More...
  • Ariane 5 V French orbital launch vehicle. Version of the evolved Ariane 5 using a version of the EPS storable propellant stage instead of a new Lox/LH2 stage. Result is a payload to GTO of 8 tonnes. The use of the new Aestus restartable engine in the upper stage fitted the vehicle for space station logistics missions or launch of space probes requiring complex orbital maneouvres. More...
  • Jules Verne Launcher American gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. Following the failure of the US government to fund further development of the SHARP light gas gun, John Hunter founded the Jules Verne Launcher Company in 1996 in an attempt to fund commercial development of the concept. More...
  • Magnum American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Notional NASA/MSFC heavy lift booster design, using no shuttle components but instead new technologies from the EELV and RLV programs that supposedly would reduce launch cost by a large factor. A composite core vehicle powered by RS-68 engines was flanked by two shuttle liquid rocket boosters. Baseline launch vehicle used in most NASA manned lunar and Mars mssion studies 1996-2004. More...
  • SEALAR American sea-launched orbital launch vehicle. SEALAR (SEA LAunched Rocket) was yet another attempt by Truax Engineering to get the amphibious-launch concept off the ground. The project received some Navy Research Laboratory funding in the early 1990's, with a planned first launch date of 1996. A production model would have been able to achieve orbit at an estimated cost of $ 10 million per launch. As with the earlier Truax projects, it did not achieve flight test status. More...
  • X-34A American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. The original X-34A was a three-stage vehicle consisting of the Orbital Sciences L-1011; which air-launched the X-34A reusable rocketplane; which space-launched the rocket-powered third stage; which would take a small payload to orbit. Only the third stage would be expendable. More...
  • M-V All-solid Japanese satellite launch vehicle. More...
  • Delta 7920-XC Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter composite fairing More...
  • Proton-K/17S40 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of Proton using Block DM-5 / 17S40 fourth stage. This stage has a new payload adapter for use with heavier paylods launched into sub-synchronous orbits. Used for launch of Arkon reconnaisance satellite. More...
  • Delta 7920-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 2.4 m (8 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • CZ-2C/SD On April 28, 1993, the Chinese Great Wall Industrial Corporation and Motorola signed a launch services contract for multiple launch of Iridium communications satellites using CZ-2C/SD launch vehicles. The main differences between the CZ-2C and the CZ-2C/SD were: a modified fairing with a diameter of 3.35m; a newly developed Smart Dispenser; improved second stage fuel and oxidizer tanks; and second stage engines with higher expansion ratio nozzles. More...
  • Beal BA-2 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. The Beal Aerospace BA-2 was a privately-financed heavy-lift commercial launch vehicle that used innovative technical solutions to achieve low cost to orbit. It harkened back to the low-cost Truax Sea Dragon or TRW 'Big Dumb Booster' concepts of the 1960's but added several new twists. Beal abandoned the project at the end of 2000 after the collapse of the MEO satellite market and active measures by NASA to support other, competing, more high-tech projects by the major aerospace contractors. More...
  • Pegasus XL/HAPS American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Five stage version consisting of 1 x L-1011 + 1 x Pegasus XL stage 1 + 1 x Orion 50XL + 1 x Orion 38 + 1 x HAPS More...
  • Norma Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Semi-reusable vertically launched two-stage-to-orbit vehicle. The flight profile featured a reusable flyback booster launched from a modular launch platform, an expendable second stage with a reusable orbiter that would have landed vertically. Development cost estimated at $13 billion. More...
  • Orel V7 RSSLV-2 Russian VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Fully reusable vertical takeoff / vertical landing single stage to orbit. Concept abandoned in favor of Orel V6 by 1998 due to engine reliability concerns. Version with Lox/LH2 propellants. More...
  • Orel V2 Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. This preferred near-term configuration was a semi-reusable vertical takeoff/horizontal landing two stage launch vehicle. It would use a flyback booster, expendable second stage, and a small manned spaceplane. This was preferred to the Orel V3, which was essentially the earlier MMKS/OK-M1 system with a flyback booster, expendable core tank, and small spaceplane with recoverable main engines. More...
  • Orel V7 RSSLV-3 Russian VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Fully reusable vertical takeoff / vertical landing single stage to orbit. Concept abandoned in favor of Orel V6 by 1998 due to engine reliability concerns. Tripropellant Lox/Kerosene (RG-1)/LH2 version. More...
  • Orel V4 Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Fully reusable vertical takeoff, horizontal landing two stage to orbit concept. Abandoned in favor of Orel V6. More...
  • Orel V5 Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. Vertically launched two stage to orbit concept consisting of horizontal landing booster, vertical landing orbiter. Abandoned in favor of Orel V6. More...
  • Orel V6 Fully reusable vertical takeoff / horizontal landing single stage to orbit launch vehicle. The preferred long-term alternative of the Russian Orel launch vehicle study of the 1990's. More...
  • Proton-K/17S40 DM2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of the 17S40 with payload adapter for deployment of multiple LM 700 (Iridium) spacecraft into medium earth orbit. More...
  • M-V KM Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage version consisting of 1 x M-14 + 1 x M-24 + 1 x M-34 + 1 x KM-V1 More...
  • VLM Brazilian satellite launcher using core of VLS only. Planned for launch of microsatellites. First launch 2002 or later. More...
  • Yamal Version of the Soyuz proposed with an Ariane 4 or Russian Lox/LH2 upper stage. More...
  • Athena-2 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. The Athena-2 version featured a Castor 120 first stage, Castor 120 second stage, Orbus third stage, and OAM Orbital Adjustment Module. More...
  • Delta 7925-9.5 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.9 m (9.5 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Delta 7420-XC Three stage vehicle consisting of 4 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter composite fairing More...
  • Shtil-1/1N Russian intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle based on R-29RM SLBM. More...
  • Delta 3 American orbital launch vehicle. Delta 3 was an attempt by the manufacturer to provide the ultimate development of the original Delta booster. The core vehicle was beefed-up to accomodate much larger solid rocket boosters and a new cryogenic upper stage. However problems were incurred during development, resulting in the first two launches being failures. Meanwhile the satellite launch market crashed and the new vehicle was left without customers. The venerable Delta 7925 soldiered on for NASA, and the new Delta 4 series captured the USAF EELV requirement. More...
  • Taepodong 1 North Korean orbital launch vehicle. The third stage for the satellite launch version was probably a small solid rocket engine. It failed to reach orbit in the 1998 launch attempt, and later such tests are believed to have used a different design. 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...
  • Zenit-2 11K77.05 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Version with a dispenser for multiple Globalstar communications satellite launches. More...
  • Delta 7326-9.5 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 37FM with 2.9 m (9.5 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Delta 7425-9.5 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 4 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.9 m (9.5 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Angara 4A Russian orbital launch vehicle. The Angara 4A had the same configuration as the Angara 1.2 but with a winged, recoverable URM. The booster would have 158 tonnes lift-off mass, and could place a 2.7 tonne payload into a 200 km / 63 deg orbit). The winged URM would have two jet engines and fly back to the Mirniy airfield at Plesetsk for recovery. One problem was that some abort profiles would require overflight of Norway. First flight of this version was predicted for 2003 in 1998. More...
  • Ausroc Australian low cost orbital launch vehicle. Proposed southern hemisphere launcher. More...
  • Themis French winged orbital launch vehicle. Themis was a planned ESA booster stage demonstrator, to validate integrated propellant tank technology necessary for a reusable Ariane 5 successor. The demonstrator engine would be derived from the Vulcain of the Ariane 5. Estimated cost was up to 2.5 billion dollars. THEMIS would carry 33 tonnes of propellant, enough to reach Mach 11. Expendable boosters might permit orbital flight. More...
  • Delta 7426-9.5 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 4 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 37FM with 2.9 m (9.5 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Zenit-3SL Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. From the beginning of the program a Zenit-3 version was proposed for geosynchronous launches using the N1/Proton Block D third stage. This had the potential of replacing the Proton in the role of geosynchronous launcher. It was considered for launch from Australia / Cape York in the 1980's. Finally a joint US-Norwegian-Ukraininan-Russian consortium was formed to launch the three stage commercial Zenit from the Odyssey floating launch platform in the Pacific Ocean. More...
  • CZ-4B Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-4B introduced in 1999 was an improved model of the CZ-4B with an enhanced third stage and fairing. It measured 44.1 metres in length with a first stage thrust of 300 tonnes. More...
  • Titan 404B American orbital launch vehicle. Version of Titan 4B with no upper stage, configured for launch from Vandenberg. More...
  • Delta 7320-10 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K More...
  • Proton/Briz K/M Earlier 8K82K model Proton, but Briz M storable propellant upper stage replaced the Block D cyrogenic stage. More...
  • CZ-2F Chinese orbital launch vehicle. Man-rated version of CZ-2E, designed for launch of the Shenzhou spacecraft. Little difference externally. Modifications were related to improved redundancy of systems, strengthened upper stage to handle large 921-1 spacecraft fairing and launch escape tower. President Jiang Zemin gave the name 'Shenjian' ('Divine Arrow') to the CZ-2F after the successful launch of the Shenzhou-3 mission. More...
  • H-2A 212 Japanese orbital launch vehicle. This version uses two core stages side-by-side in an asymmetric configuration, supplemented by two SRB-A solid rocket boosters. More...
  • Ariane 2010 French orbital launch vehicle. Projected version of Ariane 5 with improvements in engine and materials. More...
  • Angara The Angara was a new all-Russian heavy launch vehicle designed to replace the Zenit (which was built by a Ukrainian company) and Proton (which had launch pads only on Kazakh territory). The booster was sized for rail transport of modular manufactured components to cosmodromes at Plesetsk and Svobodniy. The design featured a single modular core that could be clustered for large payloads or used as a first stage with a variety of existing upper stages. All plans for the Angara were dependent on financing and subject to constant change. More...
  • CZ-3B(A) Chinese orbital launch vehicle. In February 1999 the China Great Wall Company announced it was developing more powerful Long March rockets using larger-size liquid propellant strap-on motors. The Long March 3B(A) would be available in 2002. More...
  • Capricorno Spanish all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Small all-solid-propellant launch vehicle pursued by Spain in 1992-1999. Cancelled in 2000 before any flights could be made. More...
  • EXTV French winged orbital launch vehicle. This was to be a reusable winged rocket-powered atmospheric reentry demonstrator capable of reaching speeds of Mach 4 to 10 in the atmosphere. The aim was for ESA to build up experience in reuse operations and high-speed atmospheric flight in the 2003-2007 period. The demonstrator would weigh two tonnes and have a range of 1500 kilometers. It would be able to land on a conventional runway. Dassault and Aerospatiale Matra were to merge their VEHRA and ARES projects to produce a single design. Ares estimated cost was 550 million dollars. More...
  • FLTP European winged orbital launch vehicle. Europe's Future Launcher Technology Program (FLTP) was an ESA study program that ran from 1999-2002, with the objective of identifying and developing technologies necessary for the successor to the Ariane 5. The planned configuration was a two-stage fully recoverable winged launch vehicle. The winged booster would deliver the orbiter to a given altitude, then booster fly back to its launch base at Kourou. The second stage orbiter continued to orbit, delivered its payload and then returned to Kourou. The program faded out following collapse of the commercial launch market, development problems with the Ariane 5, and cancellation of NASA reusable launch vehicle projects. More...
  • H-2A Japanese orbital launch vehicle. Low-cost version of H-2 developed for the commercial market. The two SRB-A solid rocket boosters can be supplemented by 4 smaller SSB solid boosters. 0 or 2 SSB's can be fitted for reduced 9,940 kg or 10,740 kg LEO payloads. More...
  • H-2 HIMES Japanese orbital launch vehicle. Concept of H-2 augmented with Liquid-Air Cycle Engine boosters and advanced HIMES upper stage. More...
  • Orel In the late 1990's the Russian space industry undertook the Orel programme to evaluate technology for future launch vehicles. The goals included evaluation of possible concepts for a future Russian launcher, reusable launch vehicle key technology research and analysis of "X-vehicle" flight demonstrators for technology validation. More...
  • Roton American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. The Roton was a fully reusable, single-stage-to-orbit, vertical take-off and landing piloted space vehicle designed to transport two crew members and 3200 kg of payload to and from a 300 km / 50 degree inclination earth orbit. It used a unique rotor system for recovery. Although a subscale landing test vehicle was built and received enormous media attention, the concept never made much technical sense. More...
  • Shtil-2/2N Russian intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle based on R-29RM SLBM with a special shroud. Liftoff mass 40 tonnes. Stationary launch platform. More...
  • Soyuz 11A511U / Ikar Russian orbital launch vehicle. Standard Soyuz universal booster with the Ikar upper stage, derived from the propulsion system for the Kozlov Yantar series of spy satellites. More...
  • Venturestar American SSTO winged orbital launch vehicle. Production reusable single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle using technology developed in X-33 testbed. More...
  • Minotaur 1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Orbital launch vehicle consisting of a surplus Minuteman M55A1 first stage, Minuteman SR19 second stage, and new Orion 50XL third stage, Orion 38 fourth stage, and optional HAPS fifth stage for velocity trim and multiple payload deployment. Payload 580 kg to an 185 km, 28.5 degree orbit from Cape Canaveral; 310 kg to a 740 km sun-synchronous orbit from Vandenberg. 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 IIIA American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas IIIA was a development of the Atlas using Russian engines in place of the Rocketdyne MA-5 booster/sustainer group used on all previous models. It was the centerpiece of Lockheed Martin's strategy to remain a leader in the commercial launch services industry. However customers never materialized, and it was used for only two launches in 2002-2004 before being replaced by the Atlas V. 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...
  • Minotaur 2 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Suborbital target vehicle consisting of an M55A1 first stage, SR19 second stage, and M57 third stage - essentially a Minuteman II with Orbital guidance and control systems. 440 kg payload on a 6700 km suborbital trajectory. More...
  • Titan 403B American orbital launch vehicle. Version of Titan 4B with no upper stage, configured for launch from Vandenberg. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-320 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series medium launcher would use the 3.35 m diameter module and a new 3.35 m diameter second stage as the core vehicle. Either two or four 2.25 m diameter modules would be used as strap-ons. Payload to low earth orbit would be three tonnes with two strap-ons and 10 tonnes with four strap-ons. More...
  • Angara 1.2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. First planned upgrade of Angara, the 1.2 version would use a new Block I lox/kerosene upper stage. Payload would be 3.7 tonnes to a 200 km / 63 deg orbit. More...
  • Angara 3A Russian orbital launch vehicle. The Angara 3A was a proposed variant of the modular launch vehicle that would use two universal rocket modules (URM's) as boosters flanking one URM in the core, with a Lox/Kerosene upper stage. It could put 14 tonnes into low earth orbit More...
  • Angara 5A Russian orbital launch vehicle. The Angara 5A was a proposed variant of the modular launch vehicle that would use four universal rocket modules (URM's) as boosters surrounding one URM in the core, with a Lox/LH2 upper stage. It could put 5.0 tonnes into geosynchronous orbit, or 8.0 tonnes into geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • CZ-2E(A) Planned upgrade of CZ-2E with enlarged liquid boosters. Probably intended for launch of Chinese space station modules in the 21st century. Fairing was 5.20 m in diameter and 12.39 m long. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-540 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The 540 configuration for the Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series would use the 5.0 m diameter core stage with four 2.25 m diameter stages as strap-ons. Payload was given as 10 tonnes to low earth orbit. A standard short 5.2 m diameter fairing tops the vehicle. More...
  • CZ-NGLV Chinese orbital launch vehicle. China's family of new generation expendable launch vehicles began development in 2000. Boosters of various capabilities would be assembled from three modular stages of 2.25 m, 3.35 m and 5.0 m diameter. These would be powered by new variable-thrust 120 tonne thrust Lox/Kerosene engines or 50 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines. More...
  • Delta 2000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 2000 series used Castor 2 strap-ons together with an Extended Long Tank core equipped with the more powerful RS-27 engine. This engine was derived from surplus H-1 engines intended for the Saturn IB booster of the Apollo programme. The Delta P upper stage was built by Douglas and used surplus Apollo lunar module engines from TRW. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M SOL Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya variant with Blok SO-L upper stage for placement of Prognoz-class satellites in orbits with apogees of 200,000 km. More...
  • MiG-31NS Russian air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Orbital launch vehicle air-launched from a MiG-31 fighter. More...
  • Rif-MA Russian orbital launch vehicle. Orbital launch vehicle derived from R-39 SLBM. Air-launched from An-124. Ignition mass 79 tonnes. More...
  • Shtil-3A Russian intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Proposed four-stage air-launched orbital launch vehicle based on R-29RM SLBM. Ignition mass 46 tonnes. More...
  • Soyuz M Rus project was to result in first major propulsion upgrade to R-7 family in forty years, using first stage engines derived from those developed for Zenit second stage to boost performance. It would have permitted launches from Plesetsk with same or greater payload than launch of standard Soyuz-U from Baikonur, permitting move of more launch operations back onto Russian territory. Instead the more modest Soyuz ST / Soyuz FG upgrades were made. More...
  • Sodruzhestvo Joint Kazakh-Russian-Ukrainian project announced in 2000 to produce an 'ecologically safe' replacement of the Proton booster that would use Energia launch facilities at Baikonur. No details available, and no more heard about it. More...
  • Soyuz 11A511U / Fregat Russian orbital launch vehicle. Standard Soyuz universal booster with the Fregat upper stage, derived from the propulsion system for Lavochkin interplanetary probes. More...
  • Scorpius American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Family of sounding rockets and launch vehicles based on combining liquid oxygen/kerosene pressure-fed engine modules. Modest government funding and over a decade of development had still not resulted in a production contract as of 2006. More...
  • Proton/Briz M Improved Proton orbital launch vehicle. Improvements in lower stages to reduce structural mass, increase thrust, and fully utilize propellants (reducing release of toxic chemicals in stage impact areas). Briz M storable propellant upper stage replaces Block D cyrogenic stage. More...
  • GSLV Indian mixed-propulsion orbital launch vehicle for geosynchronous satellites using a Lox/LH2 upper stage developed from Russian technology. More...
  • Soyuz FG Uprated Soyuz booster designed for high performance Russian government missions and delivery of Soyuz and Progress spacecraft to the International Space Station. Upgraded engines, modern avionics, reduced non-Russian content. Unknown differences to Soyuz ST. More...
  • Delta 7425-10 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 4 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter fairing More...
  • H-IIA 202 Japanese orbital launch vehicle. Three stage version of H-IIA consisting of 2 x H-II SRB-A + two-stage core vehicle. More...
  • Ariane 44L-3 French orbital launch vehicle. As Ariane 44L but with Ariane H10-3 upper stage. More...
  • Ariane 44LP-3 French orbital launch vehicle. As Ariane 44LP but with Ariane H10-3 upper stage. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-522 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The 522 configuration for the Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series would use the 5.0 m diameter core stage with 2 x 2.25 m plus 2 x 3.35 m strap-on stages. Payload is estimated as 18-20 tonnes to low earth orbit. More...
  • Chinese RLV Chinese orbital launch vehicle. By the late 2000 a leading candidate for China's first reusable launch vehicle was a CALT-designed two-stage fully reusable rocket similar to the Kistler K-1. More...
  • Delta 3000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 3000 series upgraded the boosters to Castor 4 solid propellant strap-ons, while retaining the Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine. The 3910 series used the TRW Lunar Module engine in the second stage, while the 3920 series reintroduced the Aerojet AJ110 Delta engine. More...
  • Falcon 1e Version of Falcon 1 with stretched first stage and much more powerful Merlin engine. More...
  • J-1 F2 Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Lower cost alternate to the original J-1 design. Uses the SRB-A of the H-2A vehicle as the first stage, the second and third stages of the J-1, with updated avionics. More...
  • LeoLink LK-1 Satellite launcher derived from planned Israeli Shavit-2 launch vehicle, but with rocket motors and major components built in USA to qualify for US contracts. More...
  • X-34 American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. NASA failed to attract industry co-investment to develop the original X-34A air-launched, reusable, low-technology, low-cost orbital launch vehicle concept. So the project was scaled back and NASA contracted with Orbital Sciences on 28 August 1996 to build and fly the X-34 unmanned technology demonstrator. This program in turn developed overruns and was cancelled in 2001 before a test flight was made. More...
  • H-IIA 2024 Japanese orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Castor 4XL + 2 x H-II SRB-A boosters + two-stage core vehicle. More...
  • Delta 7920-10L American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter long fairing More...
  • Atlas V 401 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V version with a 4-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and no strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 7,095 kg (15,642 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 4,950 kg (10,910 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • KT-1 Chinese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. China's first solid propellant orbital launch vehicle was derived from the first and second stages of the DF-31 ICBM with a new solid third stage. The vehicle was named Kaituozhe-1 (Explorer-1) and was capable of putting 100 kg into polar orbits. 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...
  • Delta IV Medium+ (4.2) American orbital launch vehicle. As Delta 4 medium but with 2 x GEM-60 solid rocket boosters and a 4 m diameter payload fairing. More...
  • Ariane 5ECA French orbital launch vehicle, first version of the evolved Ariane 5. The solid booster motors propellant load was increased by 2.43 tonnes and the case was welded, for a weight saving in dry mass of 1.9 tonnes. The core was powered by an improved Vulcain 2 engine. The oxygen-rich cycle of the engine allowed the oxygen bulkhead to be moved within the stage, resulting in a 15.2 tonne increase in propellant in the core. A new Lox/LH2 upper stage, using the HM7B engine and oxygen tank from the Ariane 4 series, replaced the storable propellant EPS stage of earlier models. The result was an increase in payload to geoscynchronous transfer orbit from 6 tonnes to 10.5 tonnes. More...
  • Atlas IIIB American orbital launch vehicle. This was the first version of the Atlas to fly using Russian RD-180 engines; and the last version to fly using the original balloon-tank concept for the first stage. It differed from the Atlas IIIA in use of a stretched, two-engine upper stage, and had a brief three-year operational career in 2002-2005 before being superseded by the Atlas V. More...
  • Astroliner American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. The Kelly Space & Technology Astroliner Space Launch System was a two-stage-to-orbit, towed space launch concept. Towing an aerodynamic vehicle to an altitude of 6,000 m yielded higher system performance due to vacuum engine performance, reduced drag and gravity losses, and aerodynamic lift during flight. More...
  • KT-2 Intermediate all-solid propellant Chinese launch vehicle. Model first displayed at Wuzhai in the fall of 2002. Evidently consists of new large diameter first stage motor, topped by the first two stages of the basic KT-1 vehicle. All figures are rough estimates. More...
  • KSLV-I 2002 South Korean orbital launch vehicle. In 2002 South Korea announced it was planning to develop a small satellite launch vehicle by 2005, based on technology flown on the KSR-III test vehicle. By 2005 this was replaced by a completely different design, based on the Russian Angara space booster. More...
  • KT-2A Heavy all-solid propellant Chinese launch vehicle. Model first displayed at Wuzhai in the fall of 2002. Consists of two parallel first-stage booster motors derived new the first stage motor of the KT-1, a larger-diameter core second stage motor like that of the KT-2, a new larger-diameter third stage motor, and an enormous new fairing. All figures are rough estimates. More...
  • LeoLink LK-2 Israeli all-solid orbital launch vehicle. As Leolink LK-1, but with a Castor-120 motor as the first stage. More...
  • Delta IV Medium American orbital launch vehicle. Basic Delta-4 vehicle with no strap-ons, the core vehicle, and RL10B-1 upper stage with a 4 m diameter payload fairing. World's first all-cryogenic launch vehicle. More...
  • Soyuz-U Russian orbital launch vehicle. Alternate designation for Soyuz 11A511U. More...
  • Atlas V 521 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V with 5-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and two strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 10,161 kg (22,401 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 6,485 kg (14,297 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • Atlas V 501 Atlas V with 5-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and no strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 6,319 kg (13,931 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 3,970 kg (8,752 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • Delta 7920H American orbital launch vehicle. Version of Delta 7000 using much larger GEM 46 solid rocket motors originally developed for the Delta 3. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-522/HO Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The 522/HO was the 'all up' baseline configuration for the Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series. It would use the 5.0 m core stage, topped by the 5.0 m upper stage, together with 2 x 2.25 m plus 2 x 3.35 m strap-on stages. It was announced in 2003 that it would be first to fly, with a launch before the Beijing Olympics in 2008. It would be used for launch of large communications satellites. Payload is estimated as 10-12 tonnes to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • Pathfinder American air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. Pioneer Rocketplane planned in the late 1990's to produce the Pathfinder aerial-refueled spaceplane. The two-seat fighter-bomber-sized aircraft was to be powered by two turbofan engines and one kerosene/oxygen-burning RD-120 rocket engine. After takeoff from a conventional airfield, it would rendezvous with a tanker, top off its liquid oxygen tanks, and then rocket to Mach 15 and 110 km altitude. There it would release an upper rocket stage that would boost a 2100 kg payload to orbit. Pathfinder itself would return to the airfield for refueling and reuse. More...
  • SLC-1 American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Nanosat air-launched orbital vehicle which would be dropped from a boosted F-4 carrier aircraft. More...
  • Soyuz ST Uprated Soyuz booster designed for commercial customers. Upgraded engines, modern digital avionics, reduced non-Russian content. Can be used with either Ikar or Fregat upper stages. The 'FG' was the military version. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy American orbital launch vehicle. Heavy lift all-cryogenic launch vehicle using two Delta-4 core vehicles as first stage flanking a single core vehicle as second stage. A heavy upper stage is carried with a 5 m diameter payload fairing. More...
  • Delta IV Medium+ (5.2) American orbital launch vehicle. As Delta 4 medium but with 2 x GEM-60 solid rocket boosters and a 5 m diameter payload fairing. More...
  • DARPA Falcon American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Lockheed Martin all-hybrid propulsion, mobile orbital launch system that could launch from an unimproved site with limited infrastructure on 24 hours notice, placing up to 840 kilograms into LEO More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 53 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by clustering five common booster modules, using an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 2 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines, and aluminium-lithium lightweight alloy in place of the existing aluminium in all stages. Payload fairings over 6.5 m diameter could be accomodated. Introduction would require new launch pads and booster assembly infrastructure. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 67 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by clustering seven common booster modules, and using an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 2 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines. A payload fairing over 6.5 m diameter could be accomodated. Introduction would require new launch pads and booster assembly infrastructure. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 40 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by adding 4 GEM-60 solid rocket boosters, RS-68 Regen upgraded engines with regeneratively-cooled nozzles to the core vehicles, and cryogenic propellant densification. 6.5 m diameter payload fairing. Introduction would require modifications to existing launch pads. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 42 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by adding new RS-800 engines to the core vehicles, an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 2 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines, and aluminium-lithium lightweight alloy in place of the existing aluminium in all stages. 6.5 m diameter payload fairing. Introduction would require modifications to existing launch pads. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 35 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by adding RS-68B upgraded engines to the core vehicles and an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 2 MB-45 or RL-45 20 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines. 6.5 m diameter payload fairing. Introduction would require modifications to existing launch pads. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 70 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by clustering seven common booster modules, using an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 3 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines. A payload fairing over 6.5 m diameter could be accomodated. Introduction would require new launch pads and booster assembly infrastructure. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 48 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by adding 4 GEM-60 solid rocket boosters, RS-68 Regen upgraded engines with regeneratively-cooled nozzles to the core vehicles, cryogenic propellant densification, and cryogenic propellant cross-feed between the strap-ons and core. 6.5 m diameter payload fairing. Introduction would require modifications to existing launch pads. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 30 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by adding 4 GEM-60 solid rocket boosters. 6.5 m diameter payload fairing. Introduction would require modifications to existing launch pads. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 87 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by clustering seven common booster modules, using a new RS-800K engine in the booster stages, and an AUS-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 upper stage. Payload fairings over 6.5 m diameter could be accomodated. Introduction would require new launch pads and booster assembly infrastructure. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 43 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by adding 4 GEM-60 solid rocket boosters, RS-68 Regen upgraded engines with regeneratively-cooled nozzles to the core vehicles, cryogenic propellant densification, and an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 1 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engine. 6.5 m diameter payload fairing. Introduction would require modifications to existing launch pads. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 94 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by clustering seven common booster modules, using a new RS-800K engine in the booster stages, an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 4 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines, and aluminium-lithium lightweight alloy in place of the existing aluminium in all stages. Payload fairings over 6.5 m diameter could be accomodated. Introduction would require new launch pads and booster assembly infrastructure. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 45 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by adding 6 GEM-60 solid rocket boosters, RS-68B upgraded engines to the core vehicles, and an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 1 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engine. 6.5 m diameter payload fairing. Introduction would require modifications to existing launch pads. More...
  • Delta IV Heavy Upgrade 76 t American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed upgrade to Delta IV Heavy by clustering seven common booster modules, using an AUS-60 upper stage powered by 3 MB-60 or RL-60 27 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engines, and aluminium-lithium lightweight alloy in place of the existing aluminium in all stages. Payload fairings over 6.5 m diameter could be accomodated. Introduction would require new launch pads and booster assembly infrastructure. More...
  • Heavy Lift Carrier 2011 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. ATK Thiokol concept for a shuttle-derived heavy lift vehicle. The shuttle orbiter would be replaced by a 6.5 m diameter x 35 m long cargo container, powered by three Space Shuttle main engines. The shuttle RSRM motors would have a fifth segment added, and the External Tank would be stretched to 56 m long. Availability would be six years after go-ahead. More...
  • Heavy Lift Carrier 2015 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. ATK Thiokol concept for a shuttle-derived heavy lift vehicle with a lift equivalent to the Saturn V. The radical reconfiguration would put all elements in-line. Four SSME engines would be at the base of a stretched external tank, flanked by two shuttle RSRM motors with a fifth segment added. Atop this would be an 8.7 m diameter Lox/LH2 stage, followed by a 10-m diameter payload fairing. Availability would be ten years after go-ahead. More...
  • Heavy Lift Carrier 2008 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. ATK Thiokol concept corresponding to earlier Shuttle-C proposals. The shuttle orbiter is replaced by a 6.5 m diameter x 25 m long cargo container, powered by two Space Shuttle main engines. Availability would be three to four years after go-ahead. More...
  • Next Genertion Delta 100 t American orbital launch vehicle. Conceptual next generation Delta booster beyond Delta IV Heavy, equalling Saturn V of the 1960's in payload capability. The booster would use two parallel 7-m-diameter booster stages, a notional RS-XXX Lox/LH2 rocket motor, and a 7 m diameter upper stage and fairing. Payload fairings of 7 m diameter could be accomodated. Introduction would require new launch pads and booster assembly infrastructure, and a new factory to handle the larger-diameter tooling. More...
  • Onega Russian orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle proposed for the 'Kliper' manned spaceplane in 2004. The 'Onega' was a hitherto-unrevealed massive improvement of the reliable Soyuz. It would deliver double the payload to a space station orbit, and could be available by 2010 if funding was made available. More...
  • SRB CEV American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle design preferred by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin to boost the manned CEV Crew Exploration Vehicle into low earth orbit. A single shuttle solid rocket booster would be mated with an upper stage in the 100 tonne class. More...
  • Atlas V 431 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V with 4-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and three strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 11,547 kg (25,458 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 7,800 kg (17,196 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • Ares FBB American winged orbital launch vehicle. The ARES ((Affordable REsponsive Spacelift) concept was of a reusable fly-back booster with expendable upper stages. The US Air Force began development of a demonstrator in May 2005, with a first flight date of 2010. It was felt that derivatives of the concept could support all space lift requirements of the USAF. More...
  • Andrews ETOS American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed Earth-to-Orbit Segment booster for Andrews CEV architecture. Consisted of an Atlas V core, two Zenit-2 booster strap-ons, and a new-development Lox/LH2 upper stage. More...
  • Falcon 5 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Falcon V was a two stage, reusable, liquid oxygen and kerosene powered launch vehicle. The maiden flight was targeted for mid-2005 as of early 2004. It used of the same engines, structural materials and concepts, and avionics and launch system as the Falcon I, differing in having five first-stage engines instead of 1 and a larger diameter. This meant that all the critical components would have a flight proven history even before first launch. By 2006 it had been superseded by the slightly larger Falcon 9. More...
  • Gryphon American winged orbital launch vehicle. Winged, horizontal-takeoff/horizontal concept space booster concept using an Air Collection and Enrichment System to generate liquid oxygen oxidiser from the atmosphere after takeoff. An upper rocket stage would deliver a crewed orbiter or payload to orbit. More...
  • KSLV-I In 2005 it was announced that the KSLV-I would not fly until 2007. It was now a completely different vehicle, consisting of a first stage derived from the Russian Angara launch vehicle, and a solid propellant second stage of South Korean manufacture. First launch 2009.08.25. More...
  • KSLV South Korean launch vehicle family. Originally they were to be of completely indigenous design; but in 2005 it was announced that they would use the (in-development, unflown) Russian Angara booster module as the basis. The program, like that of the Angara, was subject to continuous funding shortages and schedule delays. In 2008 the Angara alternate was cancelled after Russia refused to transfer essential technologies and the total cost had increased from US$ 240 million to US$ 350 million. The Korean government went 'back to the drawing board'. More...
  • Mayak Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. New family of modular medium-sized launch vehicles proposed by the Ukraine in 2005. No known development or production funding was forthcoming. More...
  • Nanosat Launch Vehicle American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Two-stage, reusable, liquid oxygen/ethane propellant launch vehicle using aerospike engine technology and capable of delivering 10 kilograms to a 250-kilometer polar orbit. The NLV would provide low-cost, dedicated launch services to universities and other research organizations that traditionally depend on secondary payload opportunities to access space More...
  • Neptune American sea-launched orbital launch vehicle. Sea-launched stage-and-a-half liquid oxygen / liquid natural gas orbital launch vehicle for passengers or payloads of up to 4.5 tonnes. More...
  • Quick Reach 2 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Enlarged version of the Quick Reach launch vehicle proposed to launch the t/Space CXV manned spacecraft. The concept built on both Quick Reach and SpaceShipOne to produce a low-cost air-launched man-rated pressure-fed liqud oxygen/propane launch vehicle. More...
  • Rascal SLV American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Expendable rocket air-launched from a supersonic aircraft with engines modified using a technology called Mass Injected Pre-Compressor Cooling (MIPCC), where a coolant such as water or liquid oxygen was added to the air at the engine inlet, allowing the engine to operate at higher altitudes than normally possible. More...
  • Sea Star American sea-launched orbital launch vehicle. Sea-launched microsatellite orbital launch vehicle for payloads up to 13 kilograms and a testbed for the planned larger Neptune orbital launch vehicle. More...
  • Tsiklon-4 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Updated version of Tsyklon 3, announced by the Ukraine in 2005 as being in design. Improved lower stages, new upper stage and a new 4.0-m diameter payload fairing. No production plans. More...
  • Atlas V 551 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V with 5-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and five strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 20,520 kg (45,238 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 8,700 kg (19,180 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. 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...
  • Atlas V 411 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V with 4-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and one strap-on solid booster. Payloads: 8,763 kg (19,320 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 6,075 kg (13,393 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • Aquarius American sea-launched orbital launch vehicle. Proposed expendable, water launch, single-stage-to-orbit, liquid oxygen/hydrogen, low-cost launch vehicle designed to carry small bulk payloads to low earth orbit. A unique attribute was that low reliability was accepted in order to achieve low cost. More...
  • Eaglet American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. E'Prime Aerospace of Titusville, Florida, conceived of a family of launch vehicles, called the Eagle S-series, using rocket stages from the LGM-118A Peacekeeper ICBM. The smallest vehicle, the Eaglet, could launch 580 kilograms into LEO. A somewhat larger version, the Eagle, could put 1,360 kilograms into LEO. Both vehicles would use Peacekeeper solid propellant lower stages and liquid propellant upper stages. More...
  • Falcon 9 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. In September 2006 SpaceX was named as one of two winners of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition. The SpaceX award was $278 million for three flight demonstrations of the Falcon 9 booster carrying the Dragon space capsule. On 23 December 2008 NASA announced that the Falcon 9 / Dragon had been selected for launch of a guaranteed minimum of 20,000 kg of payload to the International Space Station in 2010-2014. The firm contract was worth $1.6 billion, with another $1.5 billion of options. More...
  • Vega Primarily Italian all-solid propellant launch vehicle. After years of furious debate, a $173 million development program began, 52% funded by Italy and 34% by France. As of the first firing of the P80 first stage motor at the end of 2006, first flight had slipped into 2008 from a 2007 original planned date. More...
  • Zenit-2SLB Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Two-stage version of the Zenit-3SL booster developed for the Sea Launch program, modified for launch from ground facilities at Baikonur. Uses the common Zenit-2SB core vehicle with no upper stage. More...
  • Delta 7925H American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-46 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B More...
  • Atlas V 421 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V with 4-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and two strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 10,168 kg (22,416 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 7,000 kg (15,432 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • CZ-4C Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-4C, first flown in 2007, had an upgraded second-stage engine that could be restarted in space. The vehicle also had structural rings at the base of the first and second stages, an interstage weather cover,ejected at liftoff, and the larger payload shroud introduced on the CZ-4B. All of these indicated that the vehicle was designed to take larger payloads to higher, more precise orbits than the CZ-4B. More...
  • Proton-M/DM-2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Proton-M stages, mated to the older 11S861 upper stage for certain payloads. More...
  • Quick Reach 1 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Low-cost air-launched pressure-fed liqud oxygen/propane launch vehicle developed under DARPA's Falcon program. More...
  • Quick Reach American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Family of low-cost space boosters under development by AirLaunch LLC under DARPA and NASA contracts in 2007-2008. More...
  • PSLV C Indian all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Five stage vehicle consisting of 6 x PSOM + 1 x S139 + 1 x PS2 + 1 x PS3 + 1 x PS4 More...
  • Angara Orel Russian orbital launch vehicle. The Orel, consisted of the Angara 3I plus an MKK spaceplane, similar to the MAKS. This would have a 431 tonne gross lift-off mass, with the spacecraft weighing 13.5 tonnes including a 4.2 tonne payload. This could be an eventual replacement of the Soyuz spacecraft for ferry of crews to space stations. More...
  • Safir-2 Iran's first orbital launch vehicle, based on the Shahab 3 intermediate range ballistic missile with upper stages. More...
  • CZ-3C Chinese orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle combining CZ-3B core with two boosters from CZ-2E. The standard fairing was 9.56 m long, 4.0 m in diameter. On August 23, 2001, the CZ-3C launcher passed its critical design review. CZ-3C development had begun in 1995 but was suspended in 1996-2000 due to the 1996 CZ-3B failure. First launch was in 2008. More...
  • Zenit-3SLB Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Version of the Zenit-3SL modified for launch from existing ground facilities at Baikonur, using the common Zenit-2SB core vehicle with an upper stage Block DM-SLB designed by RSC Energia (Russia) and a new payload fairing designed by NPO Lavochkin (Russia). More...
  • Proton-K/DM-2M DM3 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of the 11S861-01 with Saab payload adapter-seperation system for insertion of Hughes HS-601 bus spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. More...
  • Atlas V Growth Phase 1 American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed growth variant of the heavy-lift version of the Atlas V launch vehicle with three parallel 3.8-m-diameter Common Core Boosters (CCB), a 5-m-diameter wide body version of the Centaur upper stage with a single-engine, and a 5 m diameter payload fairing. Another variant would use a stretched wide body version of the Centaur upper stage with 2 or 4 motors, allowing payloads of up to 13,500 kg to be lofted to earth escape velocity. More...
  • Atlas V Growth Phase 2 American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed growth variant of the heavy-lift version of the Atlas V launch vehicle with three parallel 5-m-diameter wide-body Common Core Boosters (CCB), each with 1 or 2 RD-180 engines; a 5-m-diameter new Lox/LH2 stage with 2 or 4 engines with a total thrust of 180,000 kgf; and a 5 m diameter payload fairing. More...
  • Atlas V Growth Phase 3 American orbital launch vehicle. Proposed Saturn-V class variant of the heavy-lift version of the Atlas V launch vehicle with five parallel 5-m-diameter wide-body Common Core Boosters (CCB), each with 1 or 2 RD-180 engines; a 7-m-diameter new Lox/LH2 stage; and a 7 m diameter payload fairing. More...
  • Atlas V Heavy American orbital launch vehicle. Heavy-lift version of the Atlas V launch vehicle system with three parallel 3.8-m-diameter Common Core Boosters (CCB), and a stretched version of the Centaur upper stage (CIII), which could be configured as a single-engine Centaur (SEC) or a dual engine Centaur (DEC), and a 5 m diameter payload fairing. As of 2004 no work had been authorised to build Atlas V Heavy facilities at either Cape Canaveral or Vandenberg AFB. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-200 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series small launcher would use the 2.25 m diameter module as the first stage and a single upper stage of the same diameter (probably the existing YF-73 stage of the CZ-3). Payload was given as 1.5 tonnes into low earth orbit. First launch was expected after 2008. Although the configuration was not shown at the Wuzhai Air Show in 2002 it re-emerged at the FAI in 2003. It seemed to be in competition with the all-solid-propellant KT-1, KT-2, and KT-2A series. More...
  • Delta IV Small American orbital launch vehicle. Light launch vehicle using the Delta-4 core with the traditional Delta K and PAM-D upper stages. 2 m diameter payload fairing. Not flown as of 2008 but cancellation of the Delta II could lead to its eventual use. More...
  • Falcon 9 Heavy American low cost orbital launch vehicle. The Falcon 9 Heavy would consist of a standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages as liquid strap-on boosters. More...
  • Proton-K/DM-2M DM4 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Version of the 11S861-01 with Saab payload adapter-seperation system for insertion of FS-1300 bus spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. More...
  • Satellite Launch Vehicle American orbital launch vehicle. Orbital version. Selected by NASA under the COTS program in January 2008 in place of the cancelled Kistler for post-shuttle ISS resupply missions. Uses half-length shuttle SRB as first stage; proven Castor-120 as second stage; new Castor-30 as third stage; and Oribtal Adjusment Module from Lockheed's cancelled Athena launcher as a fourth stage. More...
  • Soyuz ST / Fregat ST Uprated Soyuz booster designed for commercial customers. Upgraded engines, modern avionics, reduced non-Russian content. Uses Fregat upper stage. More...
  • KSLV-III South Korean launch vehicle, to consist of a Russian Angara first stage, a South Korean liquid propellant second stage, and a South Korean solid propellant apogee kick motor. Scheduled for first flight by 2015. In August 2006 the Korean press reported that the first and second stages would both be Angara-UM modules... how this configuration would work (stacked versus parallel) was unclear. More...
  • H-IIB Japanese orbital launch vehicle, utilizing H-IIA engines, but with larger-diameter all-new stages. Designed to place Japanese ISS HTV logistics vehicle into orbit. More...
  • Ares I American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Shuttle-derived launch vehicle design selected by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin to boost the manned CEV Crew Exploration Vehicle into low earth orbit. A single five-segment version of the shuttle solid rocket booster would be mated with a Lox/LH2 upper stage powered by a single J-2S engine. More...
  • Delta IV Medium+ (5.4) American orbital launch vehicle. As Delta 4 medium but with 4 x GEM-60 solid rocket boosters and a 5 m diameter payload fairing. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-504 The 504 configuration for the Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series would use the 5.0 m diameter core stage with four 3.35 m diameter stages as strap-ons. Payload was given as 25 tonnes to low earth orbit. A standard large 5.2 m diameter fairing tops the vehicle. It would be used to launch the Chinese Space Laboratory in 2010. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-504/HO Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The 504/HO configuration for the Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series would use the 5.0 m core stage, topped by the 5.0 m upper stage, together with 4 x 3.35 m strap-on stages. First flight of this version was expected after 2010. Payload was given as 14 tonnes to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • CZ-NGLV-540/HO Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The 540/HO configuration for the Long March New Generation Launch Vehicle series would use the 5.0 m core stage, topped by the 5.0 m upper stage, together with 4 x 2.25 m strap-on stages. First flight of this version was expected after 2010. Payload was given as 6 tonnes to geosynchronous transfer orbit. More...
  • KSLV-II South Korean launch vehicle, originally scheduled for first flight by 2010. Evidently it would have consisted of a Russian Angara first stage and a South Korean liquid-propellant second stage. In August 2006 it was reported in the Korean press that this launcher configuration was cancelled. More...
  • Taurus II American orbital launch vehicle. Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and a first stage combining a Ukrainian Zenit lower stage fitted with 30-year old surplus Russian N1 moon program rocket engines. More...
  • Ares American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The design selected to boost America's Orion manned spacecraft into space in the 21st Century was a family of launch vehicles dubbed Ares. Originally sold as being derivatives of space shuttle technology, tinkering by NASA engineers and necessary changes during development quickly resulted in the designs being essentially all-new. Following inevitable cost growth and schedule slippage, it was cancelled in 2010. More...
  • Ares V American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA baseline heavy-lift vehicle to renew manned lunar exploration by 2020. More...

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