Encyclopedia Astronautica
Conestoga 1620


American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Castor 4B + 2 x Castor 4B + 1 x Castor 4B + 1 x Star 48V

LEO Payload: 900 kg (1,980 lb). Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1995-10-23.

Gross mass: 87,400 kg (192,600 lb).
Payload: 900 kg (1,980 lb).
Height: 15.20 m (49.80 ft).
Diameter: 1.02 m (3.34 ft).
Thrust: 1,580.00 kN (355,190 lbf).
Apogee: 450 km (270 mi).
First Launch: 1995.10.23.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Meteor (USA) American earth weather satellite. One launch, 1995.10.23, Meteor RV. Meteor commercial microgravity recoverable spacecraft built by EER Systems. Destroyed in failure of first test flight of Conestoga commercial launch vehicle. More...

See also
  • LCLV Various independently-funded launch vehicles have been advocated, designed, and even developed over the years. A lot of these are attempts to build low-cost launch vehicles using simpler technology. Often such projects begin based on a low cost liquid fuel technology but end up just trying to sell various combinations of Castor solid fuel stages. These enterprises often discover there's more to coming up with a reliable launch vehicle than slashing together a bunch of 'off the shelf' rocket motors and lighting the fuse.... On the other hand, if there is ever a breakthrough in less expensive access to space, it will come through one of these entrepreneurial schemes... More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • EER American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. EER Systems Inc. , USA More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...

Associated Stages
  • Castor 4B Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 11,400/1,400 kg. Thrust 430.61 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 281 seconds. Optimized for high altitude (Conestoga) More...
  • Star 48V Solid rocket stage. 68.70 kN (15,444 lbf) thrust. Mass 2,200 kg (4,850 lb). More...

Conestoga 1620 Chronology


1995 October 23 - . 22:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA0A. LV Family: Conestoga. Launch Vehicle: Conestoga 1620. LV Configuration: Conestoga 1620 F1. FAILURE: Noise in guidance system led to excessive steering of one of the booster motors and finally depletion of the motor's hydraulic fluid. The vehicle went out of control at T+46 seconds.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Meteor - . Nation: USA. Agency: EER. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi). At T+44.4 seconds the vehicle started a turn to the south and pitched down. The ISDS destruct system commanded the destruct packages at T+46.202 seconds. The ISDS failed to operate on two Castor 4 stage 1 motors but operated on the other four. At T+47.67 sec the ISDS destroyed a non-burning Castor 4B motor. The third stage Castor 4B and fourth stage Star 48 were not destroyed and impacted in the ocean. Cause of the failure was identified as the flight control system attempting to respond to noise being received on a data line, resulting in early depletion of hydraulic control steering fluid on stage 1 motor 6.

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