Encyclopedia Astronautica
Nova 59-4-4


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 68,000/9,000 kg. Thrust 353.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Empty Mass Estimated

Status: Study 1959.
Gross mass: 68,000 kg (149,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 9,000 kg (19,800 lb).
Height: 11.90 m (39.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.00 m (9.80 ft).
Span: 3.00 m (9.80 ft).
Thrust: 353.00 kN (79,357 lbf).
Specific impulse: 420 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 306 s.
Burn time: 672 s.
Number: 1 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • LH2-80k Notional lox/lh2 rocket engine. 355.7 kN. Study 1959. Isp=425s. Used on Nova 4L launch vehicle. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Nova 4L American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Earliest NASA Nova design, using only 4 F-1's, capability less than later Saturn designs. 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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