Encyclopedia Astronautica
Magnum Core


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 830,000/70,000 kg. Thrust 9,112.38 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 453 seconds. Alternative configurations used 2 to 3 RS-68 engines

No Engines: 4.

Status: Study 1996.
Gross mass: 830,000 kg (1,820,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 70,000 kg (154,000 lb).
Height: 53.00 m (173.00 ft).
Diameter: 8.40 m (27.50 ft).
Span: 8.40 m (27.50 ft).
Thrust: 9,112.38 kN (2,048,544 lbf).
Specific impulse: 453 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 363 s.
Burn time: 500 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • 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
  • Magnum American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Notional NASA/MSFC heavy lift booster design, using no shuttle components but instead new technologies from the EELV and RLV programs that supposedly would reduce launch cost by a large factor. A composite core vehicle powered by RS-68 engines was flanked by two shuttle liquid rocket boosters. Baseline launch vehicle used in most NASA manned lunar and Mars mssion studies 1996-2004. 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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