Encyclopedia Astronautica
Nova 8L



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Nova NASA 8 F-1
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Nova Concepts - NASA
Credit: © Mark Wade
American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Most capable NASA Nova design, studied in June 1960 just prior to selection of Saturn for moon landing. Used a three stage configuration of eight F-1 engines in stage 1, two M-1 engines in stage 2, and one J-2 engine in stage 3. Similar to the Saturn C-8 except in the use of M-1 engines. Unlike other modular Nova designs of the time, this one had the unitary stage construction of Saturn.

LEO Payload: 181,000 kg (399,000 lb) to a 160 km orbit. Payload: 68,000 kg (149,000 lb) to a translunar trajectory.

Stage Data - Nova 8L

  • Stage 1. 1 x Nova 60-8-1. Gross Mass: 3,628,000 kg (7,998,000 lb). Empty Mass: 227,000 kg (500,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 61,928.000 kN (13,921,968 lbf). Isp: 304 sec. Burn time: 161 sec. Isp(sl): 265 sec. Diameter: 17.40 m (57.00 ft). Span: 18.00 m (59.00 ft). Length: 41.20 m (135.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 8. Engine: F-1. Status: Study NASA June 1960. Comments: Mass estimated based on total LV weight.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Nova 60-8-2. Gross Mass: 680,000 kg (1,490,000 lb). Empty Mass: 54,000 kg (119,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 10,669.000 kN (2,398,486 lbf). Isp: 428 sec. Burn time: 242 sec. Isp(sl): 310 sec. Diameter: 11.60 m (38.00 ft). Span: 11.60 m (38.00 ft). Length: 35.10 m (115.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 2. Engine: M-1. Status: Study 1960. Comments: Mass estimated based on total LV weight. J-2-powered version of this stage also proposed.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Nova 60-8-3. Gross Mass: 227,000 kg (500,000 lb). Empty Mass: 23,000 kg (50,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 892.000 kN (200,529 lbf). Isp: 425 sec. Burn time: 941 sec. Isp(sl): 306 sec. Diameter: 6.70 m (21.90 ft). Span: 6.70 m (21.90 ft). Length: 30.50 m (100.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: J-2. Status: Study 1960. Comments: Mass estimated based on total LV weight.

Status: Study 1960.
Gross mass: 4,752,200 kg (10,476,800 lb).
Payload: 181,000 kg (399,000 lb).
Height: 128.00 m (419.00 ft).
Diameter: 17.40 m (57.00 ft).
Thrust: 53,984.10 kN (12,136,108 lbf).
Apogee: 160 km (90 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • F-1 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 7740.5 kN. Isp=304s. Largest liquid rocket engine ever developed and flown. Severe combustion stability problems were solved during development and it never failed in flight. First flight 1967. More...
  • J-2 Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1033.1 kN. Study 1961. Isp=421s. Used in Saturn IVB stage in Saturn IB and Saturn V, and Saturn II stage in Saturn V. Gas generator, pump-fed. First flight 1966. More...
  • M-1 Aerojet lox/lh2 rocket engine. 5335.9 kN. Study 1961. Isp=428s. Engine developed 1962-1966 for Uprated Saturn and Nova million-pound payload boosters to support manned Mars missions. Reached component test stage before cancellation. More...

See also
  • Nova Nova was NASA's ultimate launch vehicle, studied intently from 1959 to 1962. Originally conceived to allow a direct manned landing on the moon, in its final iteration it was to put a million-pound payload into low earth orbit to support manned Mars expeditions. It was abandoned in NASA advanced mission planning thereafter in favor of growth versions of the Saturn V. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Associated Stages
  • Nova 60-8-3 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 227,000/23,000 kg. Thrust 892.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 425 seconds. Mass estimated based on total LV weight. More...
  • Nova 60-8-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 680,000/54,000 kg. Thrust 10,669.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 428 seconds. Mass estimated based on total LV weight. J-2-powered version of this stage also proposed. More...
  • Nova 60-8-1 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,628,000/227,000 kg. Thrust 61,928.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 304 seconds. Mass estimated based on total LV weight. More...

Nova 8L Chronology


1962 April 24 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Nova 8L.
  • Delay in award of a Nova launch vehicle study contract - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided to delay the awarding of a Nova launch vehicle study contract until July 1 at the earliest to allow time for an in-house study of bids submitted and for further examination of the schedule for a manned lunar landing using the direct ascent technique.

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