Encyclopedia Astronautica
Black Colt


Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 40,482/8,283 kg. Thrust 402.05 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 353 seconds. Winged, first stage of a launch vehicle using aerial refueling and existing engines. Takes off from runway; rendezvous with tanker to load oxidizer; then flies to Mach 12/150 nm to release Star 48V second stage and 450 kg payload. 2 x F125 turbofans for flight to tanker, subsonic ferry, and go-around capability on return.

Release velocity: 590 m/s (1,930 ft/sec). Release conditions: 12,000 kph at 150 km.

Location: 590.
Status: Study 1993.
Gross mass: 40,482 kg (89,247 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 8,283 kg (18,260 lb).
Payload: 450 kg (990 lb).
Height: 39.60 m (129.90 ft).
Diameter: 4.60 m (15.00 ft).
Span: 24.40 m (80.00 ft).
Thrust: 402.05 kN (90,385 lbf).
Specific impulse: 353 s.
Burn time: 275 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • NK-31 Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 402 kN. Isp=353s. Upgraded version of engines for N-1 stage 4, with multiple ignition capability and increased operational lifetime. Mothballed in 1974. Proposed for Black Colt launch vehicle in 1993. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Black Colt American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Winged, first stage of a launch vehicle using aerial refueling and existing engines. Takes off from runway; rendezvous with tanker to load oxidizer; then flies to Mach 12/150 nm to release Star 48V second stage and 450 kg payload. In comparison to Black Horse, uses existing engines and a much more achievable mass fraction by only flying to half orbital speed. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene 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. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

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