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Nova GD-E
Part of Nova Family
Nova Model E Cutaway
Nova Model E Cutaway
Nova General Dynamics Model E Cutaway
Credit: © Mark Wade
American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using 325 inch solid motors as first stage, M-1 engines in second stage. Recoverable solid motors, separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange. Recovery of solid motors foreshadowed same approach on shuttle 15 years later. Masses estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions.

Status: Study 1963. Payload: 458,000 kg (1,009,000 lb). Thrust: 249,940.20 kN (56,188,792 lbf). Gross mass: 19,596,600 kg (43,203,100 lb). Height: 72.00 m (236.00 ft). Diameter: 8.30 m (27.20 ft). Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).

LEO Payload: 458,000 kg (1,009,000 lb) to a 185 km orbit.

Stage Data - Nova GD-E

  • Stage 1. 4 x Nova GD-E-1. Gross Mass: 3,628,000 kg (7,998,000 lb). Empty Mass: 454,000 kg (1,000,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 69,048.000 kN (15,522,607 lbf). Isp: 263 sec. Burn time: 116 sec. Isp(sl): 238 sec. Diameter: 8.30 m (27.20 ft). Span: 8.30 m (27.20 ft). Length: 60.40 m (198.10 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: 325 in solid. Status: Study General Dynamics 1963. Comments: Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. Recoverable stage; separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Nova GD-E-2. Gross Mass: 4,535,000 kg (9,997,000 lb). Empty Mass: 363,000 kg (800,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 26,683.000 kN (5,998,577 lbf). Isp: 428 sec. Burn time: 646 sec. Diameter: 20.60 m (67.50 ft). Span: 20.60 m (67.50 ft). Length: 47.90 m (157.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 4. Engine: M-1. Status: Study General Dynamics 1963. Comments: Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions.



Family: heavy-lift, orbital launch vehicle. Country: USA. Engines: M-1. Stages: Nova GD-E-2, 325 in solid. Agency: Convair.
Photo Gallery

Nova B and ENova B and E
Cutaway view of General Dynamics Nova B and E concepts.
Credit: Lockheed Martin


Nova  - GDNova - GD
Nova Concepts - General Dynamics
Credit: © Mark Wade


Nova GD AdvancedNova GD Advanced
General Dynamics advanced Nova designs
Credit: Lockheed Martin


Nova Model ENova Model E
Nova General Dynamics Model E
Credit: © Mark Wade



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