Encyclopedia Astronautica
Nova D



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Nova D
Credit: © Mark Wade
American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova vehicle using Nova B as first two stages, nuclear spacecraft with jettisonable tanks as upper stage.

LEO Payload: 112,000 kg (246,000 lb) to a 556 km orbit. Payload: 65,000 kg (143,000 lb) to a earth escape.

Stage Data - Nova D

  • Stage 1. 1 x Nova B-1. Gross Mass: 1,995,000 kg (4,398,000 lb). Empty Mass: 100,000 kg (220,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 45,914.000 kN (10,321,877 lbf). Isp: 304 sec. Burn time: 121 sec. Isp(sl): 265 sec. Diameter: 12.20 m (40.00 ft). Span: 12.20 m (40.00 ft). Length: 28.00 m (91.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 6. Engine: F-1. Status: Study General Dynamics 1960.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Nova B-2. Gross Mass: 614,000 kg (1,353,000 lb). Empty Mass: 38,000 kg (83,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 10,228.000 kN (2,299,345 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 228 sec. Isp(sl): 150 sec. Diameter: 12.20 m (40.00 ft). Span: 12.20 m (40.00 ft). Length: 23.80 m (78.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 7. Engine: J-2. Status: Study General Dynamics 1960.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Nova D-3. Gross Mass: 96,000 kg (211,000 lb). Empty Mass: 12,000 kg (26,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 264.000 kN (59,349 lbf). Isp: 830 sec. Burn time: 2,513 sec. Diameter: 11.30 m (37.00 ft). Span: 11.30 m (37.00 ft). Length: 36.60 m (120.00 ft). Propellants: Nuclear/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: Nerva. Status: Study General Dynamics 1960.

Status: Study 1960.
Gross mass: 2,839,400 kg (6,259,800 lb).
Payload: 112,000 kg (246,000 lb).
Height: 106.00 m (347.00 ft).
Diameter: 12.20 m (40.00 ft).
Thrust: 40,024.40 kN (8,997,843 lbf).
Apogee: 556 km (345 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...
  • Nerva DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 266 kN. Study 1968. Early version of Nerva engine proposed for use in Saturn and RIFT configurations in 1961. Isp=800s. 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
  • Convair American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Convair, USA. More...

Associated Stages
  • Nova D-3 Nuclear/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 96,000/12,000 kg. Thrust 264.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 830 seconds. More...
  • Nova B-1 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,995,000/100,000 kg. Thrust 45,914.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 304 seconds. More...
  • Nova B-2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 614,000/38,000 kg. Thrust 10,228.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. More...

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