Encyclopedia Astronautica
Shuttle FR-3-2


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 388,189/130,159 kg. Thrust 4,549.05 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 459 seconds. Trapezoidal lifting body configuration. Cross range 2419 km.

No Engines: 2.

Status: Study 1969.
Gross mass: 388,189 kg (855,810 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 130,159 kg (286,951 lb).
Height: 54.57 m (179.03 ft).
Diameter: 7.46 m (24.47 ft).
Span: 21.75 m (71.35 ft).
Thrust: 4,549.05 kN (1,022,667 lbf).
Specific impulse: 459 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 359 s.
Burn time: 251 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle FR-3 American winged orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase A of October 1969. Unwinged flat-bottom configuration booster and orbiter with V butterfly-tails. 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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