Encyclopedia Astronautica

American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. In 1977 Boeing produced a vehicle design for a 227 tonne payload vertical takeoff launch vehicle to be used to launch components for the huge Satellite Solar Power platforms that NASA was promoting at the time. The booster would launch from the edge of a water-filled man-made lagoon and recover in the lagoon and used a water-cooled heat shield for reentry.

LEO Payload: 227,000 kg (500,000 lb).

Status: Design 1977.
Payload: 227,000 kg (500,000 lb).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • SSTO Category of launch vehicles. Single Stage To Orbit. More...
  • VTOVL The concept of a reusable single-stage-to-orbit Vertical Take-Off Vertical Landing (VTOVL) launch vehicle that would reenter and return to its launch site for turnaround and relaunch was first proposed by Philip Bono in the 1960's. The appealing simplicity of the concept has been offset by the technological risk in developing it. The problem with any single-stage-to-orbit concept is that if the empty weight of the final vehicle has been underestimated it will not be able to deliver any payload to orbit, or even reach orbit. Since weight growth of up to 20% is not unknown in aerospace projects, this is a very real threat which has made both NASA and private investors reluctant to invest the billions of dollars it would take to develop a full-scale flight vehicle. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Boeing American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Aerospace, Seattle, USA. More...

  • Hudson, Gary C, History of the Phoenix VTOL SSTO and Recent Developments in Single-Stage Launch Systems, AAS 91-643, included in Proceedings of 5th ISCOPS, AAS Vol. 77, pp 329-351, November 1991.

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