Encyclopedia Astronautica
heavy-lift


Category of launch vehicles.

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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Nova NASA American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Nova vehicle most often illustrated in the popular press and histories. As in other early concepts, this NASA design of 1959/1960 used F-1 engine in both first and second stages. Resulting performance and total liftoff mass was equivalent to later Saturn V. More...
  • Nova B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Convair/Ehricke Nova design using standard tank/engine modules of 4.9 m diameter in both first and second stages; 6 F-1 engine/modules in first stage, 6 J-2 engine/modules in second stage. More...
  • Nova 8L Mod American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova concept where first two stages use short Nova building blocks with 2 F-1's in each block. Four used in stage 1, one in stage 2. Typical of early Nova designs with F-1's in both first and second stages. More...
  • Nova 9L American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using clustered small diameter tanks; 9 x F-1 first stage and 4 x F-1 second stage; compared with solid Nova using five six segment solid motors in first stage and four four segment motors in second stage. More...
  • Nova 5S American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using segmented solid motors in first and second stages. Five six segment motors in first stage; four four segment motors in second stage, equivalent to 9 x F-1 first stage and 4 x F-1 second stage. More...
  • Nova 4S American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using a cluster of 4 x 240 inch solid motors used as first stage; upper stages as Nova 7S and 8L. More...
  • Nova 7S American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA Nova design using a cluster of 7 x 160 inch solid motors used as first stage; upper stages as Nova 4S and 8L. More...
  • R-10 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Glushko booster - 1500t, Korolev I evo delo p. 307 More...
  • 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...
  • Nova A American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Convair/Ehricke Nova design using standard tank/engine modules of 4.9 m diameter in both first and second stages; 4 F-1 engine/modules in first stage, 4 J-2 engine/modules in second stage. More...
  • R-56 Polyblock Ukrainian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. One design approach considered for Yangel's R-56 superbooster of the 1960's was a polyblock design limited to rail transport restrictions (4 x 3.8 m diameter stages clustered together). Although a dynamic test model was built and tested at Tsniimash, Yangel finally reached the conclusion that a monoblock design was clearly superior to polyblock versions. Further work on the polyblock design was abandoned. Tsniimash exhibits in its small museum the 1:10 structural simulation model of the 3.8 m diameter polyblock design. More...
  • Nova 8L American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Most capable NASA Nova design, studied in June 1960 just prior to selection of Saturn for moon landing. Used a three stage configuration of eight F-1 engines in stage 1, two M-1 engines in stage 2, and one J-2 engine in stage 3. Similar to the Saturn C-8 except in the use of M-1 engines. Unlike other modular Nova designs of the time, this one had the unitary stage construction of Saturn. More...
  • N11 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. It was originally planned the N1 would form the basis of a family of launch vehicles that could replace existing ICBM-derived boosters. The N11 would use the second, third, and fourth stages of the N1. This would give it a lift-off mass of 700 tonnes and a 20 tonne payload into low earth orbit. It could replace Chelomei's Proton launch vehicle in the medium-lift role. More...
  • N111 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. It was originally planned the N1 would form the basis of a family of launch vehicles that could replace existing ICBM-derived boosters. The N111 would use the third and fourth stages of the N1, and the second stage of Korolev's R-9 ICBM. This would result in a lift-off mass of 200 tonnes and a five tonne payload. It could replace the R-7 derived boosters (Vostok and Soyuz) in this payload category. More...
  • SK-100 Ukrainian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. In 1962 Yangel produced his first design for a large clustered rocket. The SK-100 would have clustered seven R-16 ICBM first stages in order to put 100 metric tons into earth orbit. The concept was abandoned for the simpler R-56 design. More...
  • Sea Dragon American sea-launched heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Sea Dragon was an immense, sea-launched, two-stage launch vehicle designed by Robert Truax for Aerojet in 1962. It was to be capable of putting 1.2 million pounds (550 tonnes) into low Earth orbit. The concept was to achieve minimum launch costs through lower development and production costs. This meant accepting a larger booster with a lower performance propulsion system and higher stage dead weight then traditional NASA and USAF designs. More...
  • UR-700 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The UR-700 was the member of Vladimir Chelomei's Universal Rocket family designed in the 1960's to allow direct manned flight by the LK-700 spacecraft to the surface of the moon. However Korolev's N1 was the selected Soviet super-booster design. Only when the N1 ran into schedule problems in 1967 was work on the UR-700 resumed. The draft project foresaw first launch in May 1972. But no financing for full scale development was forthcoming; by then it was apparent that the moon race was lost. More...
  • N1 1964 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle for the N1-L3 lunar landing mission as described in the draft project of 1964. Design requirement for the single-launch lunar-orbit-rendezvous lunar landing was 2750 tonnes liftoff mass and 95 tonnes low earth orbit payload. The actual N1 that flew in 1969 to 1972 had lighter first and third stages, but never demonstrated a full fuel load using superchilled propellants as planned in the draft project.. More...
  • Nova MM T10EE-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; expendable first stage with 18 modules exhausting to a 10% length plug nozzle; expendable second stage with 2 CD module engines. Operational date would have been November 1976. More...
  • Nova MM S10E-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Expendable single stage to orbit Nova using cylindrical shape, 24 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been October 1977. More...
  • Nova MM S10R-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Reusable single stage to orbit Nova using cylindrical shape, 24 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been June 1978. More...
  • Nova MM T10RE-1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; reusable first stage with 18 modules exhausting to a 10% length plug nozzle; expendable second stage with 2 CD module engines. Operational date would have been January 1977. More...
  • Nova MM S10R-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Reusable single stage to orbit Nova using conical shape, 30 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been July 1978. More...
  • Nova MM R10E-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Expendable version of most exotic Martin Nova vairant; single stage to orbit, 30 cd module air augmented engines in annular shroud. Operational date would have been October 1980. More...
  • Nova MM T10RR-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; reusable first stage with 24 modules exhausting to a zero length plug nozzle; reusable second stage with a toroidal plug nozzle engine. Operational date would have been December 1976. More...
  • Nova MM S10E-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Expendable single stage to orbit Nova using conical shape, 30 CD module engines in zero-length plug nozzle. Operational date would have been November 1977. More...
  • Nova MM R10R-2 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Reusable version of most exotic Martin Nova vairant; single stage to orbit, 30 cd module air augmented engines in annular shroud. Operational date would have been October 1980. More...
  • Nova MM 33 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova single stage to orbit design with 24 new high pressure LH2/Lox engines in the first stage in a plug nozzle arrangement. Operational date would have been April 1975. More...
  • Nova MM T10RR-3 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Two stage Nova using CD modules; reusable first stage with 18 modules exhausting to a 10% length plug nozzle; reusable second stage with 2 CD module engines. Operational date would have been July 1977. More...
  • N11 1963 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. A military variant of the N-11 which would use a powerful third stage, probably derived from the first stage of the 8K713 GR-1, to put up to 24 tonnes in low earth orbit. This was a competitor with Chelomei's UR-500K, which was selected instead for the heavy military payload mission. More...
  • Nova MM 34 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova 1 1/2 stage design with 4 new 3 million kgf LH2/Lox engines in the jettisonable booster section and a single 3 million kgf sustainer. Operational date would have been June 1976. More...
  • Nova MM 14A American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using 4 300 inch solids as first stage, 5 M-1 in second stage. Operational date would have been April 1973 More...
  • Nova GD-B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using existing engines. Recoverable engine package; separation at 3,398 m/s at 76,200 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 7 30 m diameter parachutes 1300 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova MM 1B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using existing engines; 14 F-1A in the first stage, 2 M-1 in the second. Operational date would have been December 1972 More...
  • Nova MM 14B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using 4 280 inch solids as first stage, 4 M-1 in second stage. Operational date would have been February 1973 More...
  • Nova-1 DAC American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono design for Nova using Lox/RP-1 in first stage, existing engines. More...
  • Nova-2 DAC American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono design for Nova using LH2/Lox in both stages. More...
  • Nova MM 1C American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using existing engines; 18 F-1A in the first stage, 3 M-1 in the second. Operational date would have been February 1973 More...
  • Nova GD-E American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using 325 inch solid motors as first stage, M-1 engines in second stage. Recoverable solid motors, separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange. Recovery of solid motors forshadowed same approach on shuttle 15 years later. Masses estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova GD-F American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using new 3.5 million kgf Lox/Kerosene engines in first stage. Recoverable stage; separation at 3,365 m/s at 89,300 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 8 46 m diameter parachutes 1300 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova MM 24G American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova design using new high pressure LH2/Lox engines; 18 in the first stage in a plug nozzle arrangement, 2 in the second. Operational date would have been December 1974. More...
  • Nova GD-H American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using 1 1/2 stage arrangement and new 2.4 million kgf Lox/LH2 engines. Recoverable booster 4 engine package would separate at 2,980 m/s at 87,800 m altitude; splashdown under 4 46 m diameter parachutes 1,000 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova DAC ISI American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono design for Nova using LH2/Lox in both stages. Improved Specific Impulse chemical stage uses many engines feeding into single large nozzle. More...
  • Nova GD-J American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using recoverable Lox/RP-1 stage of ballistic shape with 3 million kgf engines; separation at 3,420 m/s at 93,900 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 7 parachutes 1340 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • N1 1962 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Final configuration of the N1 at the time of development go-ahead in 1962. The 75 tonne payload was to consist of the Raskat dispenser, which would have delivered 17 multi-megaton nuclear warheads, essentially destroying the United States in a single launch. The design also supported the OS-1 heavy space station and TMK manned Mars flyby requirements - as opposed to any manned lunar landing project. More...
  • N1 1969 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...
  • Nova American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Nova was NASA's ultimate launch vehicle, studied intently from 1959 to 1962. Originally conceived to allow a direct manned landing on the moon, in its final iteration it was to put a million-pound payload into low earth orbit to support manned Mars expeditions. It was abandoned in NASA advanced mission planning thereafter in favor of growth versions of the Saturn V. More...
  • N-IF 1965 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IF would be the first follow-on version with increased performance. The first stage engines would be increased in thrust from an average of 150 tonnes to 175 tonnes, and those in the second stage from 150 tonnes to 200 tonnes. The second and third stages would be substantially enlarged. More...
  • N-IM 1965 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IM would mark an tremendous increase in vehicle size and was the ultimate pure liquid oxygen/kerosene version considered. The first stage engines would be increased to 250 tonnes thrust, without reducing reliability, through use of higher engine chamber pressure. Propellant load in the first stage would be almost doubled. Second stage engine thrust would increase to 280 tonnes each and the second and third stages again enlarged. More...
  • N-IFV-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Then N-IFV-III would add the Block V-III cryogenic third stage to the first and second stages of the N-IF. More...
  • N-IFV-II-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. N-IFV-II, III would use only the first stage from the N-1F, and use new cryogenic second and third stages. This cryogenic second stage seems not to have been pursued beyond the study phase. More...
  • N-IMV-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Then N-IMV-III would add the Block V-III cryogenic third stage to the first and second stages of the N-IM. This provided the second-highest performance of the variations considered and would certainly have been cheaper than the N-IFV-II, III. More...
  • N-IUV-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IUV-III would replace the N-IU's conventional third stage with a LOX/LH2 cryogenic third stage. This was seen at the time as the first step in exploitation of cryogenic technology in Russia. Although pursued for some time, this large stage never went into development. The more modestly-sized Block R, Block S, and Block SR instead were put into development in the early 1970's. More...
  • N-IMV-II-III Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. N-IMV-II, III was the ultimate conventionally-powered N1 ever considered. It paired the monster N-1M first stage with new cryogenic second and third stages. Both liftoff thrust and payload of this vehicle would have been double that of the American Saturn V. More...
  • N-IU Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N-IU would be the initial production version of the N1 following the mad rush to make the lunar landings. It would have essentially the same payload but would be substantially re-engineered for sharply improved reliability, most notably with autonomously operating engines. It is interesting to note that four years before the disastorous first flight Korolev already foresaw the potential engine problems that would be the downfall of the project. More...
  • R-56 Ukrainian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The R-56 was Yangel's ultimate superbooster design. Trade studies begun in 1962 resulted in a conventional tandem stage design capable of being transported on the Soviet canal system from the factory to the launch site, while still placing 40 metric tons into low earth orbit. However various Soviet government factions favored the much larger (and less practical) Korolev N1 or Chelomei UR-700 designs. Yangel made one last attempt to convince the government to sponsor a common approach to the lunar program, with different design bureaus concentrating on just one part of the mission, as the American's were doing. But his practical solutions obtained no traction, and further work on the R-56 was abandoned. More...
  • N1M Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1M was to be the first Soviet launch vehicle to use liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen high energy cyrogenic propellants. It was designed to launch payloads in support of the LEK lunar expeditions (two cosmonauts on the surface), the DLB (long-duration lunar base), and heavy unmanned satellites into geosynchronous and interplanetary trajectories. As originally conceived, the advanced propellants would be used in all upper stages. However due to delays in Kuznetsov development of a 200 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engine, the final version used an N1 first stage, with a Block V-III second stage, and Blocks S and R third and fourth stages. More...
  • UR-700 / RD-350 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. UR-700 with high energy upper stage consisting of 3 x RD-350 LF2/LH2 engines with a total thrust of 450 tonnes. Usable third stage propellant 350 tonnes, payload increased to 215 tonnes More...
  • UR-700 / RO-31 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. UR-700 with high energy upper stage consisting of 7 x RO-31 Nuclear A engines using LH2+Methane propellants with a total thrust of 280 tonnes. Usable third stage propellant 196 tonnes, payload increased to 230 to 250 tonnes More...
  • UR-700 / 11D54 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. UR-700 with high energy upper stage consisting of 9 x RD-54 / 11D54 Lox/LH2 engines with a total thrust of 360 tonnes. Usable third stage propellant 300 tonnes, payload to a 200 km, 51.5 degree orbit increased to 185 tonnes More...
  • UR-900 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. In 1962 Vladimir Chelomei proposed a family of modular launch vehicles. In January 1969, Chelomei was proposing the UR-900 for the Mars expedition. A garbled description of this launch vehicle appears in Chertok's memoirs. This would seem to be a version of the UR-700 moon rocket using 15 RD-270 modules in the first and second stages in place as opposed to the nine modules of the UR-700. The third and fourth stages were derived from the UR-500. The booster could deliver 240 tonnes to low earth orbit. More...
  • UR-700M Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. In 1969 the Soviet Union began project Aelita, studying the best method to beat the Americans in landing a man on Mars. Chelomei's team reached the conclusion that a Mars expedition would best be launched by an immense vehicle would allow their MK-700 Mars spacecraft to be orbited in two launches. The proposed UR-700M launch vehicle had a gross lift-off mass of 16,000 metric tons and could deliver 750 metric tons to orbit. By 1972 the Nixon administration had cancelled NASA's plans for manned Mars missions. Perhaps not coincidentally, a Soviet expert commission the same year concluded that the Mars project - and the UR-700M booster - were beyond the technical and economical capabilities of the Soviet Union and should be shelved indefinitely. More...
  • N1F Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1F would have been the definitive flight version of the N1, incorporating all changes resulting from the four flight tests of the vehicle, including the new Kuznetsov engines and 10% greater liftoff mass by using superchilled propellants in all stages. N1 8L would have been the first N1F configuration flight, with launch planned in the third quarter of 1975 at the time the project was cancelled. More...
  • N1F Sr Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The final more modest version of the N1F replaced the fourth and fifth stages of the N1 with the single liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen Block Sr stage. Development of the Sr stage was from May 1971 until cancellation of the N1 project in May 1974. More...
  • N1F-L3M Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1M was found to be too ambitious. The N1F of 1968 was instead pencilled in to be the first Soviet launch vehicle to use liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen high energy cyrogenic propellants. The N1F would have only used the Block S and Block R fourth and fifth stages in place of the N1's Block G and Block D. More...
  • RLA Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The RLA (Rocket Flight Apparatus) family of modular, lox/kerosene powered vehicles were designed by Glushko in 1974 to meet the Soviet military's third-generation space launch requirements. The approach was rejected by 1976 in favor of the Zenit/Energia family using both lox/kerosene amd lox/hydrogen stages. More...
  • N1-MOK Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Ultimate derivative of N1. Single-stage-to-orbit vehicle based on N1 Block A. Propellants changed to LH2/LOX, 16 x modified NK-33 engines + 4 Liquid Air Cycle Engine Liquid Air/LH2 boosters. All figures estimated based on tank volume of Block A and delivery of 90,000 kg payload to 450 km / 97.5 degree MKBS orbit. Briefly described in RKK Energia official history and in some detail in Peter James'
      1974
    book Soviet Conquest from Space! More...
  • RLA-120 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Medium booster concept with a payload to low earth orbit of 30 metric tons using the RLA-120 core and a 150 metric ton upper stage. Glushko proposed that the RLA-120 would boost reconnaissance satellites and modules of his POS Permanent Orbital Station into a sun synchronous orbit beginning in 1979. The government rejected the RLA concept, but this design led directly to the successful Zenit-2 booster. More...
  • RLA-150 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Super-booster concept with a payload to low earth orbit of 250 metric tons using six modules as the first stage and the RLA-120 core. Glushko proposed that the booster could launch a Soviet manned Mars landing by 1983. The government rejected the RLA concept, but it did lead to the Energia booster of the 1980's. More...
  • RLA-135 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Heavyweight booster concept with a payload to low earth orbit of 100 metric tons using two modules as the first stage and the RLA-120 core. Glushko proposed that the booster could launch a Soviet manned lunar landing by 1981. The government rejected the RLA concept, but it did lead to the Zenit-2 and Energia boosters of the 1980's. More...
  • Barbarian MM American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Zenith Star space-based chemical laser missile defence weapon required a launch vehicle capable of placing a 45,000 kg payload into low earth orbit. Martin and Aerojet turned to their work 20 years earlier on advanced Titans for the MOL program. These earlier studies were combined with new concepts for tank construction and materials. The Martin Barbarian was a 4.57 m diameter Titan vehicle (instead of the customary 3.05 m) with four LR-87 engines on the first stage, and a single LR-87 engine on the second stage. More...
  • ALS American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Advanced Launch System (ALS), was a US Air Force funded effort in 1987-1989 to develop a flexible, modular, heavy-lift, high rate space launch vehicle that could deliver payloads to earth orbit at a tenth the cost of existing boosters. Such a vehicle was seen as essential to supporting the launch of the huge numbers of satellites required for deployment of the ‘Star Wars' ballistic missile defense system. With the end of the Cold War, Star Wars was abandoned. The projected launch rate without the Star Wars requirement could never pay back the $15 billion non recurring cost, and the program was ended. More...
  • Barbarian MDD American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Proposed launch vehicle for large SDI 'Star Wars' payloads. Expected to cost $ 400-500 million, the Barbarian could place the Zenith-Star chemical laser into low earth orbit. It would consist of 3 Shuttle SRM's, attached around a ring of six Delta RS-27 first stage boosters, which in turn clustered around a single Delta first stage booster that was the last stage of the launch vehicle. More...
  • Exploration HLLV American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Numerous NASA studies in the late 1980's and 1990's came to the same conclusion as the Nova studies of the 1960's - to get to Mars, an extremely heavy lift launch vehicle was needed to assemble Mars expeditions in low earth orbit. A nominal heavy list vehicle with a payload of at least 140 tonnes into a Space Station Freedom orbit would have to be developed for such missions. More...
  • DRM1 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Mars Design Reference Mission version 1.0 studied a number of heavy-lift boosters capable of lofting more than 200 tonnes into low earth orbit. The Red Team recommended configuration was an NLS / shuttle-derived vehicle with F-1A powered liquid rocket boosters. More...
  • 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...
  • NLS HLV American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NLS Heavy Lift Version. Lower cost expendable launch vehicle studied by NASA/USAF in late 1980's. More...
  • Magnum American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Notional NASA/MSFC heavy lift booster design, using no shuttle components but instead new technologies from the EELV and RLV programs that supposedly would reduce launch cost by a large factor. A composite core vehicle powered by RS-68 engines was flanked by two shuttle liquid rocket boosters. Baseline launch vehicle used in most NASA manned lunar and Mars mssion studies 1996-2004. More...
  • Heavy Lift Carrier 2011 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. ATK Thiokol concept for a shuttle-derived heavy lift vehicle. The shuttle orbiter would be replaced by a 6.5 m diameter x 35 m long cargo container, powered by three Space Shuttle main engines. The shuttle RSRM motors would have a fifth segment added, and the External Tank would be stretched to 56 m long. Availability would be six years after go-ahead. More...
  • Heavy Lift Carrier 2015 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. ATK Thiokol concept for a shuttle-derived heavy lift vehicle with a lift equivalent to the Saturn V. The radical reconfiguration would put all elements in-line. Four SSME engines would be at the base of a stretched external tank, flanked by two shuttle RSRM motors with a fifth segment added. Atop this would be an 8.7 m diameter Lox/LH2 stage, followed by a 10-m diameter payload fairing. Availability would be ten years after go-ahead. More...
  • Heavy Lift Carrier 2008 American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. ATK Thiokol concept corresponding to earlier Shuttle-C proposals. The shuttle orbiter is replaced by a 6.5 m diameter x 25 m long cargo container, powered by two Space Shuttle main engines. Availability would be three to four years after go-ahead. More...
  • SRB CEV American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle design preferred by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin to boost the manned CEV Crew Exploration Vehicle into low earth orbit. A single shuttle solid rocket booster would be mated with an upper stage in the 100 tonne class. More...
  • Ares I American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Shuttle-derived launch vehicle design selected by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin to boost the manned CEV Crew Exploration Vehicle into low earth orbit. A single five-segment version of the shuttle solid rocket booster would be mated with a Lox/LH2 upper stage powered by a single J-2S engine. More...
  • Ares American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The design selected to boost America's Orion manned spacecraft into space in the 21st Century was a family of launch vehicles dubbed Ares. Originally sold as being derivatives of space shuttle technology, tinkering by NASA engineers and necessary changes during development quickly resulted in the designs being essentially all-new. Following inevitable cost growth and schedule slippage, it was cancelled in 2010. More...
  • Ares V American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. NASA baseline heavy-lift vehicle to renew manned lunar exploration by 2020. More...

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