Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 787,700/64,200 kg. Thrust 8,705.99 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 453 seconds. Core vehicle proposed by NASA for Project Constellation exploration of moon and Mars. It would use shuttle external tank tooling. All masses estimated.
No Engines: 3.
Status: In development.
More... - Chronology...
Gross mass: 787,700 kg (1,736,500 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 64,200 kg (141,500 lb).
Height: 43.00 m (141.00 ft).
Diameter: 8.70 m (28.50 ft).
Span: 8.70 m (28.50 ft).
Thrust: 8,705.99 kN (1,957,184 lbf).
Specific impulse: 453 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 363 s.
Burn time: 480 s.
SSME Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 2278 kN. In production. Isp=453s. Space Shuttle Main Engines; only high-pressure closed-cycle reusable cryogenic rocket engine ever flown. . Three mounted in the base of the American space shuttle. First flight 1981. More...
Associated Launch Vehicles
Ares V American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA baseline heavy-lift vehicle to renew manned lunar exploration by 2020. More...
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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