Encyclopedia Astronautica

Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 84,000/6,000 kg. Thrust 1,051.20 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 373 seconds.

Cost $ : 10.000 million. No Engines: 16.

Status: Study 1993.
Gross mass: 84,000 kg (185,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 6,000 kg (13,200 lb).
Height: 20.00 m (65.00 ft).
Diameter: 5.00 m (16.40 ft).
Span: 5.00 m (16.40 ft).
Thrust: 1,051.20 kN (236,319 lbf).
Specific impulse: 373 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 316 s.
Burn time: 271 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • RL-10A-5 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 64.7 kN. Isp=373s. Throttleable to 30% of thrust, sea level version of RL10. Four engines were built and were used on the DC-X and the upgraded DC-XA VTOVL SSTO launch vehicle demonstrators. First flight 1993. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • DC-Y American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. The ultimate goal of the Delta Clipper program, a prototype reusable single-stage to orbit, vertical takeoff/vertical landing space truck. The DC-I Delta Clipper would be the full production version. No government sponsor could be found for the concept and the $ 5 billion development cost was never funded. If it had been funded in 1991, the first DC-Y suborbital flight was predicted for 1995, and a first orbital mission in 1997. 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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