Encyclopedia Astronautica
Shuttle SERV-1


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,040,816/226,757 kg. Thrust 31,980.52 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 455 seconds. Single stage to orbit, ballistic reentry.

Status: Study 1971.
Gross mass: 2,040,816 kg (4,499,229 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 226,757 kg (499,913 lb).
Height: 20.27 m (66.50 ft).
Diameter: 18.29 m (60.00 ft).
Span: 27.44 m (90.02 ft).
Thrust: 31,980.52 kN (7,189,506 lbf).
Specific impulse: 455 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 367 s.
Burn time: 249 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • Plug-Nozzle SERV Notional lox/lh2 rocket engine. 31,980.2 kN. Study 1971. Isp=455s. Used on Shuttle SERV launch vehicle. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • SERV American VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Chrysler ballistic single stage to orbit alternate shuttle proposal of June 1971. This was the most detailed design study ever performed on a VTOVL SSTO launch vehicle. The 2,040 tonne SERV was designed to deliver a 53 tonne payload to orbit in a capacious 7 m x 18 m payload bay. 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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