Encyclopedia Astronautica
NLS Semistage

Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 36,000/36,000 kg. Thrust 14,310.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 425 seconds.

Cost $ : 40.000 million. No Engines: 4.

AKA: National Launch System.
Status: Study 1991.
Gross mass: 36,000 kg (79,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 36,000 kg (79,000 lb).
Height: 9.00 m (29.50 ft).
Diameter: 8.70 m (28.50 ft).
Span: 9.00 m (29.50 ft).
Thrust: 14,310.00 kN (3,217,010 lbf).
Specific impulse: 425 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 350 s.
Burn time: 100 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • STME Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 2890 kN. Cancelled 1984. Isp=430s. Space Transportation Main Engine. Rocketdyne was teamed with Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney on the STME, which was to have powered the next generation of large launch vehicles. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • NLS American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. New (or National) Launch System (NLS) joint NASA/USAF studies began in 1989, following the demise of the ALS. They proposed development of a family of launch vehicles using a new STME engine to replace the existing ‘high cost' boosters derived from 1950's missile designs. The $12 billion nonrecurring cost was nearly that estimated for ALS, and this cost could not be recouped at projected launch rates. NLS was terminated in 1991. 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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