Encyclopedia Astronautica

NB-52 rocketplane launcher with X-15
Credit: NASA
Subsonic rocket launch aircraft. Loaded/empty mass 177,273/70,545 kg. Thrust 430.47 kN. Specific impulse 5142 seconds. Boeing Bomber-swept wing. Maximum release conditions: Wing mounted, 25,000 kg (19.1 m length x 6.7 m span) at 880 kph at 11,448 m altitude

Cost $ : 50.000 million. No Engines: 8. Release conditions: 880 kph at 11.5 km.

Status: Active.
Gross mass: 177,273 kg (390,820 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 70,545 kg (155,525 lb).
Payload: 25,000 kg (55,000 lb).
Height: 47.74 m (156.62 ft).
Diameter: 14.72 m (48.29 ft).
Span: 56.40 m (185.00 ft).
Thrust: 430.47 kN (96,774 lbf).
Specific impulse: 5,142 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 4,675 s.
Burn time: 48,000 s.
Number: 14 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • J57-19 Pratt and Whitney turbojet engine. 53.8 kN. Out of production. Thrust is maximum sea level thrust; specific impulse is sea level value at that thrust. Isp=5142s. Used on B-52 launch aircraft for X-15A. First flight 1959. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • X-15A American air-launched rocketplane. Manned hypersonic research rocket aircraft. More...
  • X-15A-2 American air-launched rocketplane. Manned hypersonic research rocket aircraft. Stretched rebuild of crashed X-15A, with drop tanks. Reached Mach 6.7 and 108 km altitude. More...
  • Pegasus American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Privately-funded, air-launched winged light satellite launcher. More...
  • Hyper X American test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x NB-52 + 1 x Orion 50S More...

Associated Propellants
  • Air/Kerosene Ambient air (78 % nitrogen, 21% oxygen, etc.) is scooped up by air intakes and used in turbojet, turbofan, ramjet, scramjet, or other airbreathing engines. It is used to burn aviation-grade kerosene, commercial grade JP-4 or JP-5, their military equivalents, or special high-temperature blends such as those used in the SR-71. More...

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