Encyclopedia Astronautica
Kistler Stage 1


Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 250,000/20,500 kg. Thrust 5,049.40 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 331 seconds. Stage burns for 35 seconds to place itself on return-to-launch-site trajectory for recovery. Therefore to calculate performance 12,400 kg propellants for flight back to launch site should be added to empty mass. Empty mass also includes six parachutes, landing bags, and is calculated, based by apportioning total vehicle empty mass.

Cost $ : 10.000 million. No Engines: 3.

Status: In development.
Gross mass: 250,000 kg (550,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 20,500 kg (45,100 lb).
Height: 18.40 m (60.30 ft).
Diameter: 6.70 m (21.90 ft).
Span: 6.70 m (21.90 ft).
Thrust: 5,049.40 kN (1,135,150 lbf).
Specific impulse: 331 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 297 s.
Burn time: 139 s.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • NK-33 Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1638 kN. N-1F, Kistler stage 1, Taurus II stage 1. Isp=331s. Modified version of original engine with multiple ignition capability. Never flown and mothballed in 1975 after the cancellation of the N1. Resurrected for Kistler, then for Taurus. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Kistler K-1 American low-cost orbital launch vehicle. The Kistler K-1 was a reusable two-stage launch vehicle developed by a prestigious team of ex-Apollo managers, designed originally for launch of Iridium-class communications satellites to medium altitude earth orbit. Kistler began development but had to file for Chapter 11 protection before detailed hardware fabrication was completed. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2005, and merged with suborbital startup Rocketplane to form Rocketplane Kistler. On 8 November 2006, it was announced that Alliant Techsystems, as lead contractor, would complete the K-1 launch vehicle, with Rocketplane Kistler as a subcontractor, under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. 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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