Encyclopedia Astronautica
Sled-Launched


Category of launch vehicles.

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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Saenger German sled-launched intercontinental boost-glide missile. Saenger-Bredt antipodal bomber - sled launched, boosted to suborbital velocity, 'skips' off upper atmosphere to deliver bombload on target, recovery back at launch site. Fascinated Stalin, led to US Dynasoar project. More...
  • Keldysh Bomber Russian intercontinental boost-glide missile. Soviet version of the Saenger antipodal bomber intensely studied on Stalin's direct orders in 1946-1947. The final study concluded that, given the fuel consumption of foreseeable rocket engines, the design would only be feasible using ramjet engines and greatly advanced materials. This meant that development could only begin in the late 1950's, when such technologies were available. By that time the design had been superseded by more advanced concepts. 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...

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