Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

Two alternates were considered:

  • Alternate I was a vertical-takeoff vehicle, with both stages equipped with turbojet engines to assist in landing back at airfields. The orbiter retained the lifting-body shape of the Class I vehicle but was much larger since it had to carry internal tanks for the Lox/LH2 rocket propellants. Total mass vehicle mass at lift-off was 745,500 kg; development cost $ 3 billion; cost to operate per flight, $ 4 million
  • Alternate II was a horizontal takeoff vehicle. Cost would be $ 4 billion to develop. The gross mass would be 600,000 kg, with the first stage weighing 465,000 kg and the second stage 125,000 kg.

LEO Payload: 9,072 kg (20,000 lb). Development Cost $: 3,000.000 million. Launch Price $: 4.000 million in 1966 dollars in 1966 dollars.

Status: Study 1966.
Gross mass: 745,479 kg (1,643,499 lb).
Payload: 9,072 kg (20,000 lb).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

  • Jenkins, Dennis R,, Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System : The First 100 Missions, Third edition, Voyageur Press, 2001.

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