Encyclopedia Astronautica
Beta


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 450,000/40,000 kg. Thrust 5,736.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 460 seconds.

Cost $ : 10.000 million. No Engines: 13.

Status: Study 1969.
Gross mass: 450,000 kg (990,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 40,000 kg (88,000 lb).
Height: 40.00 m (131.00 ft).
Diameter: 7.65 m (25.09 ft).
Span: 10.00 m (32.00 ft).
Thrust: 5,736.00 kN (1,289,504 lbf).
Specific impulse: 460 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 409 s.
Burn time: 318 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • MBB-ATC500 MBB lox/lh2 rocket engine. 441.3 kN. Study 1969. Isp=460s. Used on Beta launch vehicle. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Beta German SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. In 1969 rocket pioneer Dietrich Koelle was working at MBB (Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm). There he sketched out a reusable VTOVL design called BETA using Bono's SASSTO as a starting point. The vehicle, taking European technology into account, was a bit heavier than Bono's design. But the thorough analysis showed even this design would be capable of delivering 2 tonnes of payload to orbit. 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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