Encyclopedia Astronautica

Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 780,000/60,000 kg. Thrust 15,477.16 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 435 seconds.

Cost $ : 47.000 million. No Engines: 6.

AKA: Advanced Launch System Core.
Status: Development ended 1988.
Gross mass: 780,000 kg (1,710,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 60,000 kg (132,000 lb).
Height: 60.00 m (196.00 ft).
Diameter: 8.70 m (28.50 ft).
Span: 8.70 m (28.50 ft).
Thrust: 15,477.16 kN (3,479,404 lbf).
Specific impulse: 435 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 330 s.
Burn time: 195 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • STME Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 2890 kN. Cancelled 1984. Isp=430s. Space Transportation Main Engine. Rocketdyne was teamed with Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney on the STME, which was to have powered the next generation of large launch vehicles. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • ALS American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Advanced Launch System (ALS), was a US Air Force funded effort in 1987-1989 to develop a flexible, modular, heavy-lift, high rate space launch vehicle that could deliver payloads to earth orbit at a tenth the cost of existing boosters. Such a vehicle was seen as essential to supporting the launch of the huge numbers of satellites required for deployment of the ‘Star Wars' ballistic missile defense system. With the end of the Cold War, Star Wars was abandoned. The projected launch rate without the Star Wars requirement could never pay back the $15 billion non recurring cost, and the program was ended. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

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