Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

A nuclear Aerospaceplane proposed by Martin in 1961. The enormous aircraft would be five times larger than the XB-70 bomber and be equipped with extendible, flexible wings to provide optimal aerodynamics at all speed ranges - from take-off to orbit and then landing. It was to be equipped with a magnetohydronamic engine using liquid nitrogen, liquefied from the atmosphere, and accelerated using electromagnetic force to provide net thrust at all flight regimes. The exhaust would not be contaminated as in other nuclear-aircraft schemes, since it was used to power the MHD accelerator rather than heat air directly.

Status: Design 1961.

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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
  • Martin American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Martin Marietta Astronautics Group (1956), Denver, CO, USA. More...

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