Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

LEO Payload: 450 kg (990 lb) to a 200 km orbit in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 4.100 million.

Stage Data - Black Colt

  • Stage 1. 1 x Black Colt. Gross Mass: 40,482 kg (89,247 lb). Empty Mass: 8,283 kg (18,260 lb). Thrust (vac): 402.053 kN (90,385 lbf). Isp: 353 sec. Burn time: 275 sec. Diameter: 4.60 m (15.00 ft). Span: 24.40 m (80.00 ft). Length: 39.60 m (129.90 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: NK-31. Status: Study, Martin Marrietta, 1994. 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. 2 x F125 turbofans for flight to tanker, subsonic ferry, and go-around capability on return.
  • Stage 2. 1 x PAM-D. Gross Mass: 2,141 kg (4,720 lb). Empty Mass: 232 kg (511 lb). Thrust (vac): 67.155 kN (15,097 lbf). Isp: 292 sec. Burn time: 88 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 1.24 m (4.06 ft). Span: 1.24 m (4.06 ft). Length: 2.04 m (6.69 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Star 48. Other designations: TE-M-711-18. Status: Out of Production.

Status: Study 1993.
Gross mass: 43,160 kg (95,150 lb).
Payload: 450 kg (990 lb).
Height: 48.00 m (157.00 ft).
Diameter: 4.60 m (15.00 ft).
Thrust: 402.05 kN (90,384 lbf).
Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Black Colt American manned spaceplane. Study 1993. Winged, first stage of a launch vehicle using aerial refueling and existing engines. More...

Associated Engines
  • NK-31 Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 402 kN. Isp=353s. Upgraded version of engines for N-1 stage 4, with multiple ignition capability and increased operational lifetime. Mothballed in 1974. Proposed for Black Colt launch vehicle in 1993. More...
  • Star 48 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 67.2 kN. Used in Delta 3900; Conesotga; PAM-S; PAM-D. Total flown included in total for Star-48-8. Total impulse 575,682 kgf-sec. Motor propellant mass fraction 0.946. Isp=286s. First flight 1982. More...

See also
Bibliography
  • Zubrin, Robert M, and Clapp, Mitchell B, "Black Horse: One Stop to Orbit", Black Horse Web Site, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Stages
  • Black Colt Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 40,482/8,283 kg. Thrust 402.05 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 353 seconds. 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. 2 x F125 turbofans for flight to tanker, subsonic ferry, and go-around capability on return. More...
  • PAM-D Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,141/232 kg. Thrust 67.16 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 292 seconds. More...

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