Encyclopedia Astronautica
Suborbital


Category of launch vehicles.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Spacecraft
  • Korolev Rocket Plane Russian manned rocketplane. Study 1938. Korolev was already sketching rocketplanes similar to the Me-163 before World War II. This was one concept from his sketchbook. More...
  • Von Braun Rocketplane German manned rocketplane. Study 1939. On 6 July 1939 Wernher von Braun proposed to the German Reich Air Ministry a "fighter with rocket drive". More...
  • RP-318 Russian manned rocketplane. Korolev adapted his SK-9 glider in 1936 as the first rocked-powered aircraft in the Soviet Union. More...
  • BI-1 Russian manned rocketplane. Flown 1941. The Bereznyak-Isayev BI-1 was the first high speed rocket plane developed by the Soviet Union. Drawings were completed by spring 1941 but Stalin did not give the go-ahead for production until July 9, 1941. More...
  • XS-1 American manned rocketplane. Design begun 1943. Also known as the X-1. This rocket plane was the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, and the first in a line of X- aircraft leading to the space shuttle. More...
  • MX-324 American manned rocketplane. Flown 1944. First U.S. military rocket-powered plane; built by Northrop. More...
  • X-2 American manned rocketplane. Design began 1945. X-2 was an AAF/ Bell project that flew three supersonic flight research aircraft, powered by liquid rockets. Originally designated XS-2. More...
  • LL Russian manned rocketplane. Flown 1945. The LL was a transonic aerodynamic testbed authorized by LII in September 1945. Three were built: the LL-1 with a straight wing; LL-2 with a conventional swept wing; and LL-3 with a forward swept wing. More...
  • XP-79 American manned rocketplane. Flown in 1945. The XP-79 was Jack Northrop's design for a rocket-propelled flying wing fighter. More...
  • 346 Russian manned rocketplane. 4 flights from 1946. Post-war Soviet version of the German supersonic DFS 8-346 rocket reconnaissance aircraft. Abandoned in 1951 after the prototype crashed. More...
  • I-270 Russian manned rocketplane. Flown 1947. The MiG I-270 rocketplane began as a post-war copy of the German Ju-248 (Me-263) design. The resulting rocketplane had a more refined aerodynamic form than the Me-263 and lower gross weight. More...
  • D-558-1 American manned high-speed research aircraft. Flown 1947-1953. The D-558-I "Skystreaks" were among the early transonic research airplanes like the X-1, X-4, X-5, and XF-92A. More...
  • Samolyot 5 Russian manned rocketplane. Cancelled 1949. Bisnovat was assigned the project to develop an all-Soviet equivalent to the 346 supersonic rocketplane being developed by the German Roessing team in OKB-2. More...
  • XP-92 American manned delta-wing rocketplane. Never flown with rockets, but flew as a turbojet-powered research aircraft, 1948-1953. More...
  • D-558-2 American manned rocketplane. Flown from 1949. Research airplane Douglas D-558. Airplane had both jet and rocket engines and was flown from ground takeoff. The D-558-II Skyrocket exceeded the speed of sound at Edwards AFB, Calif. More...
  • Tsien Spaceplane 1949 American manned spaceplane. Study 1949. Intercontinental rocket transport, 5,000 km range, single stage winged design clearly derived from V-2 aerodynamics. More...
  • XF-91 American manned rocketplane. Study 1949. The Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor was a mixed-power interceptor, being powered by both a jet engine and by a battery of rocket motors. Although it showed promise, it was not put into production. More...
  • X-1D American manned rocketplane. Study 1953. The X-1A, B, and D were essentially identical rocketplanes intended to reach speeds above Mach 2. More...
  • X-1A American manned rocketplane. Study 1951. The X-1A, B, and D were essentially identical rocketplanes intended to reach speeds above Mach 2. More...
  • X-1B American manned rocketplane. Flown 1952. The X-1A, B, and D were essentially identical rocketplanes intended to reach speeds above Mach 2. More...
  • D-558-3 American manned rocketplane. Flown 1954. The D-558-3 was a US Navy/Douglas counterpart to the X-15, which would have kept the Navy in the 'space race' and Douglas in the running for future manned spaceplanes. More...
  • X-1E American manned rocketplane. Study 1954. The X-1E was designed to test an ultra-thin 4% thickness to cord wing for supersonic flight. More...
  • Suborbital Cabin Russian manned spacecraft. Study 1956. In 1956 Korolev laid out an outline plan 'Fast Solutions for the Conquest of Space'. Phase I and II of the plan involved experimental manned sub-orbital flights aboard an R-5A single-stage IRBM. More...
  • Ames Mach 10 Demonstrator American manned spaceplane. Study 1957. Ames proposed in 1957 to air-launch a high-wing designed hypersonic glider from a B-36 bomber. Early versions would use an XLR-99-powered booster stage and be capable of reaching Mach 6. More...
  • M-42 Russian manned rocketplane. Cancelled 1957. Several variants of the Myasishchev Buran trisonic intercontinental cruise missile M-42 cruise stage were studied. More...
  • ARTV American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. 3 launches, 1958.04.24 (ARTV 1) to 1958.07.23 (ARTV 3). Suborbital advanced reentry test vehicle. More...
  • M-44 Russian manned ramjet-powered research aircraft. Study 1958. Air-launched derivative of the Buran Mach 3 high altitude cruise missile system, proposed for use as an unmanned high speed research vehicle. More...
  • Adam American manned spacecraft. Study 1957. In early 1958 Wernher von Braun proposed launching an American aboard an Army Redstone on a suborbital mission into space before the end of 1959 at a cost of under $12 million. More...
  • FJ-4F American manned rocketplane. Study 1958. The FJ-4F was a US Navy Fury fighter fitted with a Rocketdyne AR1 engine for quick intercept of Soviet bombers. Two prototypes were tested which reached Mach 1.41 at 22 km altitude. More...
  • X-15A American manned spaceplane. 174 launches, 1959.06.08 (X-15 Flight 1) to 1968.10.24 (X-15 Flight 199). The X-15 was the first USAF and NASA project for manned spaceflight, initiated years before Mercury. More...
  • NF-104 American manned rocketplane. Study 1959. The NF-104 aerospace trainer was a modified F-104A fighter, incorporating an LR-121 liquid fuel rocket engine in addition to the conventional J-79 turbojet engine. More...
  • HARP 5-1 Canadian earth atmosphere probe. Launched from 1960. The HARP 5-1 gun probe was a dart-shaped, sub-caliber vehicle with a major diameter of 66 mm, a length of 116 cm and a flight weight of 10.4 kg. More...
  • HARP 5-3 Canadian earth atmosphere satellite. Study 1960. The HARP 5-3 probe was developed during HARP to reduce the complexity of the 5 inch vehicles and in particular the nose eject system used by the HARP 5-1 probe. More...
  • HARP 7-1 Canadian earth atmosphere suborbital probe. Flights from 1961. The original HARP 7-1 gun probe was fundamentally a scaled up version of the 5-1 gun probe and was used for similar payloads. More...
  • HARP 7-2 Canadian earth atmosphere probe. Study 1961. The Harp 7-2 vehicle was an optimized version of the 7-1 vehicle. The 7-2 had a body diameter of 76 mm a length of 1410 mm a flight weight of 18.2 kg and a payload volume of 2048 cc. More...
  • Program 661A American ion engine technology satellite. Study 1961. In November of 1961, Electro-Optical Systems was awarded a contract by the U. S. Air Force to develop a 8.9 mN, cesium-contact ionization IPS for three sub-orbital flight tests. More...
  • Highwater American earth atmosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1962.04.25 (Highwater 1) and 1962.11.16 (Highwater 2). Release of large quantities of chemicals at high altitudes during suborbital tests of Saturn I. More...
  • Beanstalk American technology satellite. One launch, 1962.05.31. Suborbital. More...
  • M2-F2 American manned spaceplane. Study 1966. The least stable of the lifting body designs. The 'flying bathtub' had a rounded belly / flat top layout as opposed to the flat belly / rounded top of the other designs. More...
  • X-15A-3 American manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1962. It had been proposed that X-15 number 3 would be reworked to install a delta wing and designed to reach Mach 8. More...
  • Asset American manned spaceplane. 6 launches, 1963.09.18 (ASSET 1) to 1965.02.23 (ASSET 6). One part of the Dynasoar manned spaceplane project was ASSET ( 'Aerothermodynamic Elastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests') . More...
  • X-15A-2 American manned spaceplane. Study 1965. The crash-damaged X-15 number 2 was rebuilt to attain even higher speeds. The body frame was stretched, and two drop tanks were added, increasing propellant load by 75%. More...
  • FIRE American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. 2 launches, 1964.04.14 (FIRE 1) and 1965.05.22 (FIRE 2). Suborbital re-entry test program that used a subscale model of the Apollo Command Module to verify the configuration at high reentry speed. More...
  • M2-F3 American manned spaceplane. 43 launches, 1966.07.12 to 1971.12.21 . The crashed M2-F2 was rebuilt as the M2-F3 with enlarged vertical stabilizers. Maximum speed achieved was Mach 1.6, top altitude 21,800 m. More...
  • Prime American manned spaceplane. 3 launches, 1966.12.21 (Prime 1) to 1967.04.19 (Prime 3). The Prime (Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry) project was the second part of the USAF START program. More...
  • HL-10 American manned spaceplane. 37 launches, 1966.12.22 to 1970.07.17 . The HL-10 was the favored lifting body configuration of NASA Langley in the 1960's. It reached Mach 1.86 and 27,700 m during its flight tests. More...
  • Boost Glide Re-entry Vehicle American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. Study 1968. The Boost Glide Re-entry Vehicle investigated related technological problems, particularly hypersonic maneuvering after re-entry into the atmosphere. More...
  • X-24A American manned spaceplane. 28 launches, 1969.04.17 to 1971.06.04 . The X-24A was the Martin Corporation's subsonic test version of the US Air Force's preferred manned lifting body configuration. More...
  • Altitude Sounder Russian earth atmosphere satellite. Study 1969. Used the KAUR-1 bus, which consisted of a 2.035 m diameter cylindrical spacecraft body, with solar cells and radiators of the thermostatic temperature regulating system mounted on the exterior. More...
  • PAET American military technology satellite. One launch, 1971.06.20. Suborbital. More...
  • Mini-shuttle American manned rocketplane. Study 1972. In August 1972 it was proposed to test a subscale version of the shuttle to test the aerodynamics. The 13,750 kg vehicle would be 11 m long and have a wingspan of 7 m. More...
  • X-24B American manned spaceplane. 36 launches, 1973.08.01 to 1975.11.26 . More...
  • Enterprise American manned spaceplane. Study 1974. Enterprise was the first Space Shuttle Orbiter. It was rolled out on September 17, 1976. More...
  • X-24C American manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1977. Two X-24C NHFRF (National Hypersonic Flight Research Facility) aircraft were to be built under a $ 200 million budget. More...
  • SPIKE American military anti-satellite system. Study 1975. Project SPIKE was a 1970's suborbital conventional warhead ASAT air-launched from an F-106 interceptor. Considerable work was done from the early 1970s under the Missile and Space Defense Program. More...
  • MiG 105-11 Russian manned spaceplane. 8 launches, 1976.10.11 to 1978.09.15 . Atmospheric flight test version of the Spiral OS manned spaceplane. The 105-11 incorporated the airframe and some of the systems of the planned orbital version. More...
  • BOR-5 Russian spaceplane. 2 launches, 1983.07.04 (BOR-5 Flight 1) and 1984.06.06 (BOR-5 Flight 6). The aerodynamic characteristics of Buran at hypersonic speeds were validated by the BOR-5 1:8 sub-scale model of Buran. More...
  • Buran Analogue Russian manned spaceplane. Study 1984. This Buran OK-GLI 'Analogue' was a version of the Buran spaceplane equipped with jet engines to allow it to be flown in handling and landing system tests at subsonic speed in the earth's atmosphere. More...
  • HGV American spaceplane. Study 1992. The Hypersonic Glide Vehicle was a USAF project discussed openly in 1987 to 1988, which may have flown as a black project in 1992-1993. More...
  • Starchaser 5 British manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Starchaser Industries, Cheshire, England. The concept used a rocket powered vertical takeoff followed by a parachute descent to land. More...
  • HL-42 American manned spaceplane. Study 1997. The HL-42 was a reusable, lifting body manned spacecraft designed to be placed into low-Earth orbit by an expendable booster. More...
  • X-43 American spaceplane. Study 1997. NASA's X-43 Hyper-X program demonstrated an integrated hypersonic scramjet engine briefly at Mach 10 on its third and final flight. More...
  • LB-X American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Kelly Space & Technology, San Bernardino, California. More...
  • ARD French re-entry vehicle technology satellite. One launch, 1998.10.21. The ARD was an 80 percent scale model of the Apollo Command Module, and a technology test for a possible International Space Station Crew Rescue Vehicle. More...
  • Alpex Japanese spaceplane. Study 2000. Kawasaki unmanned glider to test technologies for HOPE spaceplane. Wing area 7.57 square meters. More...
  • Alflex Japanese spaceplane. Study 2000. Unmanned glider to test technology for Japanese HOPE spaceplane. Wing area 9.45 square meters. More...
  • X-37 American unmanned spaceplane. The Boeing X-37 Space Maneuver Vehicle began as a subscale version of a proposed USAF manned 21st Century spaceplane. The smaller-scale X-40 tested some technologies prior to completion of the X-37A. The X-37B was the operational reusable space vehicle. Operational, first launch 2010.04.22. More...
  • Gauchito Argentinan manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Pablo De Leon of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003. More...
  • Wild Fire Canadian manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital balloon-launched ballistic spacecraft concept of the Da Vinci Project, led by Brian Feeney of Toronto, Canada. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003. More...
  • Orizont Romanian manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003. More...
  • X-40 American spaceplane. Study 2001. Boeing X-40A Experimental Space Maneuver Vehicle was built to test landing technologies for the later X-37. More...
  • Canadian Arrow Canadian manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Geoff Sheerin, Toronto. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003. More...
  • Black Armadillo American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Armadillo Aerospace, Mesquite, Texas. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003. More...
  • Cosmopolis 21 Russian manned spaceplane. Mock-up unveiled in 2002. On 15 March 2002 Space Adventures unveiled the mock-up of their C-21 (Cosmopolis 21) spaceplane at Zhukovskiy Air Base, Moscow. More...
  • SpaceShipOne American manned spaceplane. 14 launches, 2003.05.20 to 2004.05.13 . X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Scaled Composites, Mojave, California. More...
  • Mayflower American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital seaplane-spacecraft of Advent Launch Services of Houston, Texas. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003. More...
  • Eagle X-Prize American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Vanguard Spacecraft of Bridgewater, Massachusetts. More...
  • Crusader X American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Micro-Space, Inc of Denver, Colorado. More...
  • Aurora X-Prize American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Fundamental Technology Systems, Orlando, Florida. More...
  • Cosmos Mariner American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Lone Star Space Access, Houston, Texas. More...
  • Kitten American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital rocketplane concept of Kittyhawk of Oroville, Washington. More...
  • Lucky Seven American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Acceleration Engineering, Bath, Michigan. More...
  • Liberator American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of HARC, Huntsville, Alabama. More...
  • Michelle-B American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of TGV Rockets, Bethesda, Maryland. As of 2005, flight testing of the Michelle-B was expected to begin no earlier than 2007. More...
  • Negev 5 Israeli manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital balloon-launched ballistic spacecraft concept of IL Aerospace Technologies (ILAT), Israel. More...
  • Pioneer XP American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Pioneer Rocketplane, Solvang, California. No backing forthcoming. More...
  • Rubicon American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of STC. More...
  • SabreRocket American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Panaero, Fairfax, Virginia. It envisioned conversion of a Sabre-40 business jet to rocket power. More...
  • Solaris X American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Interorbital Systems of Mojave, California. More...
  • The Space Tourist American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital flying saucer concept of Discraft Corporation of Portland, Oregon. More...
  • The Green Arrow British manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Flight Exploration of London, England. More...
  • The Spirit of Liberty American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of American Astronautics Corporation, Oceanside, California. More...
  • New Shepard American manned spacecraft. Flight tests begun 2006. Vertical takeoff/vertical landing suborbital tourist spacecraft being developed by Blue Origin and scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2010. More...
  • Shenlong Chinese spaceplane. Study 2007. Chinese spaceplane photographed under the belly of an H-6 medium bomber in 2007. Probably a subscale drop test model of a potential space combat system. More...
  • Ares French spaceplane. Study 1998. Small 7-meter long delta wing spaceplane, proposed by Aerospatiale, weighing 2,000 kg. Launched 2009.10.28, More...
  • SpaceShipTwo American manned spaceplane. Study 2009. Development of the much larger SpaceShipTwo suborbital commercial manned spacecraft was announced in July 2005. More...
  • Stabilo Romanian manned spacecraft. Study 2013. Stabilo was a suborbital manned system developed by ARCA. More...
  • Rocketplane XP American manned spaceplane. Study 2015. The Rocketplane XP Vehicle was a proposed suborbital manned spaceplane with accommodations for four crew. More...
  • Xerus American manned spaceplane. Study 2016. Suborbital vehicle that XCOR planned to design and build on a commercial basis. Rocket powered, it would take off from a runway, and be capable of high altitude, high speed flight. More...
  • Altairis American manned spacecraft. Study 2026. Rocket utilizing liquid oxygen / kerosene propulsion, launched vertically and with the planned capability of sending seven tourists on a suborbital space trip. More...
  • Hyflex Japanese spaceplane. Unmanned testbed for Japanese HOPE spaceplane. More...

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