Encyclopedia Astronautica


Recipient of the American Astronautical Society's 2015 Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History


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Philip Bono - Rocket Visionary NEW! - the man who saw the way to space... but couldn't convince anyone to follow it...

Where Have All the Astronauts Gone? NEW! - The sad current reality versus the Hollywood version...

By Gemini to Mars! NEW! - In the 1960's many considered use of the cramped two-man Gemini reentry vehicle for journeys to the moon problematic. But there was even a proposal for use of Gemini on a mission to Mars…

Space Suits From the Mark Ridge suite to the Bio-Suit, the evolution of space wear...

NASA's Lost Boilerplate - The Story of BP-1227 In 2002 the Encyclopedia Astronautica uncovered the forgotten story of the recovery of an Apollo capsule by the Soviet Union and it's return to the United States. The original March 2002 article provoked an early example of international group-research on the Internet, with a June 2002 update and with new information from the crewmembers of the USS Southwind in 2008. Now, 13 years later, Eddie Pugh's exhaustive research provides the definitive account of the event.

Almaz Vladimir Chelomei's Almaz was the only manned military spacecraft ever actually flown. The project continued through many twists and turns over a period of 25 years. As with many Soviet space endeavors, the technical merits of the project are impossible to separate from the combative personalities and intense politics involved. The stations that flew were equipped with an unprecedented array of sensors for ‘man-in-the-loop' observation and targeting of mobile ground units. Combat equipment included a space-to-space gun, which was tested in orbit. In the end the station officially proved that manned systems were not a cost-effective method for space reconnaissance and targeting. However the designs of the Almaz station and its TKS resupply vehicle lived on as the Russian space station modules for the Salyut, Mir, and the International Space Station programs.

Pye Wacket Pye Wacket was the code name for a flying saucer-shaped air-to-air missile being developed by the US Air Force 1957-1961. A study of newly declassified sources reveals a more complex history... and the ultimate intention to develop Pye Wacket into a manned antisatellite spacecraft design... before it probably 'went black'.

N1 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.

Saturn V American orbital launch vehicle. America's booster for the Apollo manned lunar landing. The design was frozen before a landing mode was selected; the Saturn V could be used for either Earth-Orbit-Rendezvous or Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous methods. The vehicle ended up with the same payload capability as the 'too large' Nova. The basic diameter was dictated by the ceiling height at the Michoud factory selected for first stage manufacture. Despite the study of innumerable variants, production was ended after only 12 were built and America spent the next fifty years in a pointless slow-motion withdrawal from manned space exploration.

Saturn I Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core, powered by eight Jupiter engines. Developed so early, no heavy payloads were available for it. Originally intended as an Army rocket troop transport, the foundation of the Army's Horizon lunar base, and finally as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. Robust and inexpensive, the focus of a large number of upgrade studies, but in the end used only to launch the Block II Apollo CSM on earth orbit missions...

Almaz OPS Russian manned space station. Vladimir Chelomei's Almaz OPS was the only manned military space station ever actually flown.

Soyuz 7K-LOK Russian manned lunar orbiter. The two-crew LOK lunar orbiting spacecraft was the largest derivative of Soyuz developed.

LK Russian manned lunar lander. The LK ('Lunniy korabl' - lunar craft) was the Soviet lunar lander - the Russian counterpart of the American LM Lunar Module.

A Brief History of the HARP Project Richard K Graf's account of the Canadian 1960's project to launch satellites from a 16 inch gun...

V-2 The V-2 ballistic missile (known to its designers as the A4) was the world's first operational liquid fuel rocket. It represented an enormous quantum leap in technology, financed by Nazi Germany in a huge development program that cost at least $ 2 billion in 1944 dollars. 6,084 V-2 missiles were built, 95% of them by 20,000 slave laborers in the last seven months of World War II at a unit price of $ 17,877. As many as 3,225 were launched in combat, primarily against Antwerp and London, and a further 1,000 to 1,750 were fired in tests and training. Despite the scale of this effort, the inaccurate missile did not change the course of the war and proved to be an enormous waste of resources. The British, Americans, and Russians launched a further 86 captured German V-2's in 1945-1952. Personnel and technology from the V-2 program formed the starting point for post-war rocketry development in America, Russia, and France. The A1, A2, A3, and A5 were steps in the development of the missile. Later versions - the A6 through A12 - were planned to take the Third Reich to the planets.

Russia: Soviet Manned Lunar Projects The failed Soviet lunar program, and the follow-on lunar base projects that came to nothing.

Shuguang 1 Chinese manned spacecraft. Cancelled 1972. Shuguang-1 (Dawn-1) was China's first manned spacecraft design. The two-man capsule would have been similar to the American Gemini capsule and been launched by the CZ-2 booster.

China The history of rocket and space development in China.

The Wrong Stuff - A Catalogue of Launch Vehicle Failures The hard road to space…

Russia: What did the CIA know and when did they know it? Fifty years of declassified American National Intelligence Estimates, compared to what we now know was really happening in Soviet programs...

CIA NIE March 1967 What did the US know about Soviet lunar plans? This annotated version of the CIA's National Intelligence Estimate of March 1967 compares what the CIA expected to happen with what the Soviets expected at the same time...

Russia The History of the Soviet and Russian Space Programs

Buran Russian manned spaceplane which represented a huge leap in Soviet space technology and project management. Buran flew only once, in 1988. The cost of Buran - 14.5 billion rubles - was a significant part of the effort to maintain strategic and technical parity with the United States. In the end it contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus the demise of Buran itself.

Kamanin Diaries Summary of a principal source in Soviet space history

Chertok's Memoirs Summary of a principal source in Soviet space history

Russian Designations Designations of Russian ballistic missiles, launch vehicles, and spacecraft.

Aerobee Alternate designation for [Aerobee 150-2].

Dynasoar American manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1963. The X-20A Dynasoar (Dynamic Soarer) was a single-pilot manned reusable spaceplane, really the earliest American manned space project to result in development contracts.

Soyuz: Was the Design Stolen? There was something awfully familiar looking about the Soyuz spacecraft, the most successful in history....

Gemini: Lunar Gemini The Gusmobile might have gotten on the moon faster, quicker, cheaper (but not better...)

Apollo Martin 410 American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. The Model 410 was Martin's preferred design for the Apollo spacecraft.

Lunar Outpost American manned lunar base. Study 1989.

Women of Space The female conquerors of space!

Phantom Cosmonaut Over the years the Western press named a number of cosmonauts that were never acknowledged by the Soviet Union. Most were said to have died in space.

Navaho The Navaho intercontinental cruise missile project was begun just after World War II, at a time when the US Army Air Force considered ballistic missiles to be technically impractical. The Navaho required a large liquid propellant rocket engine to get its Mach 3 ramjet up to ignition speed. This engine, derived with German assistance from that of the V-2, provided the basis for the rockets that would later take Americans into space.

The Hard Road to Space One third of manned spaceflights suffer major problems that threaten completion of the mission and the life of the astronauts. Five crews - 2% of missions - have perished in their spacecraft....SPACEFLIGHT IS NOT 'ROUTINE'.

Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years.

Cost, Price, and the Whole Darn Thing Why the cost of a space launch vehicle has little if any relation to the launch price.

von Braun concept vehicle In 1948, with the US Army's V-2 test project winding down, Wernher Von Braun was ensconced in isolated Fort Bliss. He had, unusually, some time on his hands. He occupied himself by writing a novel concerning an expedition to Mars, grounded on accurate engineering estimates. As an appendix to the novel he documented his calculations.

Spaced Out Spaceflight is dangerous and unforgiving, which is all the more reason for the astronauts to seek relief in humour...

Shenzhou Chinese manned spacecraft. The Chinese Shenzhou manned spacecraft resembled the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, but was of larger size and all-new construction.

Manned Space Firsts Who did what when ? -- a list of manned space firsts...

Project Horizon The project summary of the US Army's 1959 plan to place a military base on the moon by 1965!

Korolev Soviet Chief Designer, responsible for creating the first long range ballistic missiles, the first space launchers, the first artificial satellite, and putting the first man in space. After his premature death the Soviets lagged in space.

Taming the Fire The story of the making of the 1972 Soviet film that took viewers inside the life of Sergei Korolev and the Baikonur cosmonaut -- they thought!

IS-A Russian military anti-satellite system. First operational ASAT. Tested in 1967-1971 and deployed through the late 1970's. Design as revised by Yangel and Korolev from Chelomei's original.

Space Station 1970 NASA's baseline Space Station of 1970, which was to be operational at early as 1977, was a large earth orbiting laboratory having a crew of 12 and a minimum operational lifetime of 10 years with resupply flights every 90 days.

Man-In-Space-Soonest The beginning of the Air Force's Man-In-Space-Soonest program has been traced back to a staff meeting of General Thomas S Power, Commander of the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) in Baltimore on 15 February 1956. Power wanted studies to begin on manned space vehicles that would follow the X-15 rocketplane. These were to include winged and ballistic approaches - the ballistic rocket was seen as being a militarily useful intercontinental troop and cargo vehicle.

NAA Manned Bombardment and Control Vehicle American manned combat spacecraft. Study 1963. In the early 1960's, one configuration studied by North American Aviation for the USAF space bomber study was this 12-m-diameter flying saucer design.

L1: The Podsadka Problem What was the secret configuration of the L1 spacecraft?

Storms American Chief Designer who led development of the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn S-II at North American. Earlier he had led the company to dominance in high-speed flight, with the X-15, F-108, and B-70. Scapegoated for the Apollo fire.

X-38 American manned spaceplane. Lifting body reentry vehicle designed as emergency return spacecraft for International Space Station crew.

Industrial Space Facility American manned space station module. Study 1982. In 1982 Space Industries Inc. planned to develop an 'Industrial Space Facility' (ISF), a 'mini space station' that would fly unmanned most of the time but be serviced regularly by the Space Shuttle.

Mars Evolution 1989 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1989. In 1989 NASA's Mars Evolution case study examined one approach to develop a permanent, largely self-sufficient Mars outpost with significant scientific research capability.

Chelomei Soviet Chief Designer 1955-1984 of OKB-52. Leading designer of cruise missiles and ICBMs. Fought for lead role in space launchers and manned spacecraft. Led work on UR-100, UR-200 ICBM's, Proton LV, Raketoplan, Almaz, TKS manned spacecraft.

The Road to Sputnik The real story of the race to space

Vanguard American orbital launch vehicle. Vanguard was the 'civilian' vehicle developed by the US Navy to launch America's first satellite as part of the International Geophysical Year. The Army / von Braun Jupiter-C instead launched the first US satellite after Sputnik and Vanguard's public launch failure. The second stage design led to the Able upper stage for Thor/Atlas, and then to the Delta upper stage still in use in the 21st Century. The original version of Vanguard used a Grand Central final stage.

HL-20 American manned spaceplane. The HL-20 was a 1988 NASA Langley design for a manned spaceplane as a backup to the space shuttle (in case it was abandoned or grounded) and as a CERV (Crew Emergency Return Vehicle) for the Freedom space station.

EBH LV German orbital launch vehicle. The EBH (Engel - Bödewaldt - Hanischlaunch) vehicle was a 1949 manned design which would had a gross launch mass of 220 metric tons and delivered a payload of 3 metric tons to a 557-kilometre orbit

LK-700 Russian manned lunar lander. Chelomei's direct-landing alternative to Korolev's L3 manned lunar landing design. Developed at a low level 1964 to 1974, reaching mockup and component test stage.

Glushko Soviet Chief Designer, responsible for all large liquid propellant engines for missiles and LVs. Led Glushko bureau, 1946-1974; Headed NPO Energia 1974-1989, directing development of Energia launch vehicle and Buran spaceplane.

Russia: The Real Moon Landing Hoax How the Soviet Union fooled the world into believing it wasn't in the moon race.

Apollo M-1 American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. Convair/Astronautics preferred M-1 Apollo design was a three-module lunar-orbiting spacecraft.

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.

Soviets Recovered an Apollo Capsule! - 2008 version In 2002 this web site broke the story that the Soviet Union had recovered an Apollo capsule in 1969 and returned it to the Americans a year later in the extraordinary Cold War visit to Murmansk by the American Coast Guard icebreaker Southwind. Recently Michael Stronski, a Southwind crew member, has provided additional extraordinary photographs of the event.

Tereshkova Russian cosmonaut 1962-1997. First woman in space, aboard Vostok 6. But the flight was propaganda and future spaceflight opportunities did not develop. Was married to cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev. Later a leading Communist politician.

TKS Vladimir Chelomei's TKS manned ferry vehicle was designed to provide a reusable resupply and crew return spacecraft much more capable and flexible than either the Soyuz or Apollo designs. Although the TKS completed its development program as part of the military Almaz space station program it was never used for manned spaceflight. However the TKS resupply vehicle provided the basis for the successful FGB space station modules used with the Salyut, Mir, and International Space Station. The original TKS was launched four times, from 1977.07.17 (Cosmos 929) to 1985.09.27 (Cosmos 1686).

Shuttle EMU American space suit, operational 1980. Space Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit reusable suit. For a particular crew member and mission it was tailored from a stock of standard-size parts. Certified for eight EVA's.

L3 Russian manned lunar expedition. Development begun in 1964. All hardware was test flown, but program cancelled in 1974 due to repeated failures of the project's N1 launch vehicle.

Vostok World's first manned spacecraft, it was developed into the later Voskhod, and numerous versions of recoverable unmanned satellites for reconnaissance (Zenit), materials, and biological research (Bion). These remained in service into the 21st Century.

IMIS 1968 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1968. In January 1968 Boeing issued a report that was the result of a 14 month study on manned Mars missions.

Human Lunar Return American manned lunar base. Study 1996.

Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design remained in use with the International Space Station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011.

Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced.

A7L ILC Dover spacesuit used for the Apollo and Skylab programs, operational 1968. Hamilton Standard had overall development responsibility for the Apollo suit and associated portable life support system. A subcontract was awarded to International Latex Corporation for development of this suit.

RSA-4 South African all-solid orbital launch vehicle. The RSA-4 ICBM / satellite launcher was a planned follow-on to the RSA-3. A large new first stage optimized the vehicle and more than doubled the payload in comparison to the RSA-3. It is not known if the project reached the point of testing of the large motor, which was equivalent to the US Peacekeeper first stage.

Skylon British single-stage-to-orbit, horizontal-takeoff-horizontal-landing turborocket orbital launch vehicle design of the mid-1990's. The novel lightweight structural design was based on lessons learned in the many iterations of the HOTOL concept. The classified Sabre turbojet-rocket combined-cycle engine was taken to a high level of test by Alan Bond at Rolls Royce. Despite the extreme promise of the design, neither British government or private financing was forthcoming. Nevertheless design improvement and component test was still continuing 20 years later.

ISS International Space Station. Development from 1994. Assembled in orbit over 13 years, 1998-2011.

Von Braun 1948 German winged orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun's 1948 design for a reusable space launcher was remarkable in its tubby design. This was partly driven by the need for large parachute canisters in the base of the first and second stages, which took up one half of the diameter, with the engines arranged around the periphery.

Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over fifty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers. The latest potential replacement, the Angara, may not be operational until the 2020's.

Ilyushin Russian test pilot. Most tangible phantom cosmonaut, purported first man in orbit according to French press report two days before Gagarin. A real person and test pilot, but no evidence he ever flew in space or trained as a cosmonaut.

STCAEM NEP American manned Mars expedition. Study 1991.

Kliper Russian manned spaceplane. Study 2004. The Kliper manned spacecraft replacement for Soyuz was first announced at a Moscow news conference on 17 February 2004.

Titan C American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan C, a Titan II booster stage topped by a new liquid oxygen/hydrogen upper stage, was the launch vehicle selected in November 1959 for the DynaSoar orbital flight program. Despite the fact the upper stage engine was secretly tested in 1958-1960, after many political twists and turns, it was cancelled in favor of the Titan 3C in July 1961

R-12 Ukrainian intermediate range ballistic missile. The R-12 was the first operationally effective intermediate range ballistic missile, the first Soviet missile deployed with a thermonuclear warhead, and the first mass-produced missile in history. 2,300 of the storable propellant rockets were built and deployed in both mobile and silo-based versions for thirty years, from March 1959 to June 1989. It was a primary element in the Soviet deterrent threatening Western Europe and China throughout the Cold War. Deployment of R-12's to Cuba in 1962 precipitated the Cuba Missile Crisis.

Space History Calendar Find out what happened on any day of the year in the history of space exploration.

Mars Odyssey American Mars orbiter. 2001 Mars Odyssey. Mars Odyssey had the primary science mission of mapping the amount and distribution of chemical elements and minerals that make up the Martian surface.

Russia: Why did the Soviet Union lose the Moon Race? The reasons the Americans were first on the moon, as given by the major Soviet participants.

Mir The Mir space station was the last remnant of the once mighty Soviet space program. The core module was launched on 1986-02-20. It was built to last only five years, and consisted of a station core derived from the Salyut space station, with docking ports to accomodate additional modules for specialized research. As the Soviet Union collapsed Mir stayed in orbit, but the final modules were were delivered years late and could only be completed with American financial assistance. The Mir complex in the end consisting of 7 modules with 11.5 metric tons of scientific equipment. It cost $220 to $240 million per year to keep in operation. Kept flying over a decade beyond its rated life, Mir proved a source of pride to the Russian people and proved the ability of their cosmonauts and engineers to improvise and keep operations going despite all manner of challenges and mishaps.

Mars Evolution 1988 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1988. In 1988 NASA made four case studies of a rapid response to the threat of a Soviet manned expedition to Mars.

X-15A American air-launched manned spaceplane, used for hypersonic research. 174 launches, 1959.06.08 (X-15 Flight 1) to 1968.10.24 (X-15 Flight 199). The X-15 was the first USAF and NASA project for manned spaceflight, initiated years before Mercury.

Orion CEV The Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) was NASA's manned spacecraft for the 21st Century, a throwback to the Apollo capsule, a shuttle replacement with an uncertain future.

Russia - Early Ballistic Missiles The true configuration of the world's first ICBM, the R-7, was revealed only in 1967, ten years after its first test. The Soviet N1 moon rocket was only revealed in 1990, 21 years after its first launch. At the same time, other Russian ballistic missiles were routinely paraded before the cameras of the world press even before they went into service. The extraordinary sensitivity of the Soviet leadership over these Korolev designs may be traced to the fact that they derived from the work of the Groettrup German rocket engineering team.

Soyuz VI Russian manned combat spacecraft. Cancelled 1965. To determine the usefulness of manned military space flight, two projects were pursued in the second half of the 1960's.

Von Braun Mars Expedition - 1952 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1952. Wernher von Braun made the first engineering analysis of a manned mission to Mars in 1948.

Aquarius American sea-launched orbital launch vehicle. Proposed expendable, water launch, single-stage-to-orbit, liquid oxygen/hydrogen, low-cost launch vehicle designed to carry small bulk payloads to low earth orbit. A unique attribute was that low reliability was accepted in order to achieve low cost.

BIS Lunar Lander British manned lunar lander. Study 1939. Design of the British Interplanetary Society's BIS Spaceship began in 1937 and was published in January and July 1939.

Kosmoplan Russian Mars orbiter. Cancelled 1965. Beginning in the late 1950's, Chelomei began studying use of his encapsulated cruise missile technology for spacecraft. A whole family of unmanned spacecraft, dubbed Kosmoplans, would be built using modular elements.

Salyut The world's first space station, developed in one year by the Soviet Union on the basis of Chelomei's Almaz station, in an attempt to upstage the American Skylab after the loss of the moon landing race to the Americans.

Zenit-2 satellite Russian military surveillance satellite. The Zenit-2 was a derivative of the manned Vostok, and the Soviet Union's first spy satellite.

Spiral OS Russian manned spaceplane, developed 1965-1980s, including subscale flight article tests. Evolved into the MAKS spaceplane. The Spiral was an ambitious air-launched manned space system designed in the 1960's.

FSW Chinese military surveillance satellite.

Saturn I American orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core, powered by eight Jupiter engines. Originally intended as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. However it was developed so early, no payloads were available for it.

Mars 5NM Russian Mars lander. Cancelled 1974. The 5NM was the first attempt by the Lavochkin bureau to design and fly a Soviet Martian soil return mission. Design and development was undertaken from 1970 to 1974.

Gemini LOR American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. Original Mercury Mark II proposal foresaw a Gemini capsule and a single-crew open cockpit lunar lander undertaking a lunar orbit rendezvous mission, launched by a Titan C-3.

Kistler K-1 American low-cost orbital launch vehicle. The Kistler K-1 was a reusable two-stage launch vehicle developed by a prestigious team of ex-Apollo managers, designed originally for launch of Iridium-class communications satellites to medium altitude earth orbit. Kistler began development but had to file for Chapter 11 protection before detailed hardware fabrication was completed. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2005, and merged with suborbital startup Rocketplane to form Rocketplane Kistler. On 8 November 2006, it was announced that Alliant Techsystems, as lead contractor, would complete the K-1 launch vehicle, with Rocketplane Kistler as a subcontractor, under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

Early Lunar Access American manned lunar base. Study 1993. Early Lunar Access (ELA) was a "cheaperfasterbetter" manned lunar mission study, carried out by General Dynamics in 1992-93.

CXV American manned spacecraft. Study 2012. Crew Transfer Vehicle proposed by `t/Space and Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites for NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle requirement.

Apollo D-2 American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1962. The General Electric design for Apollo put all systems and space not necessary for re-entry and recovery into a separate jettisonable 'mission module', joined to the re-entry vehicle by a hatch.

Navstar The Navstar GPS (Global Positioning System) program was a joint service effort directed by the United States Department of Defense. Navstar GPS is a space-based radio-positioning system nominally consisting of a 24-satellite constellation that provides navigation and timing information to military and civilian users worldwide. In addition to the satellites, the system consists of a worldwide satellite control network and GPS receiver units that acquire the satellite's signals and translate them into position information. Originally envisioned as primarily a military system, GPS was found to have a wide variety of civilian applications, many of them never conceived by the original system's designers.

R-36M The super-heavy Ukrainian R-36M ICBM replaced the R-36 in 288 existing silos and was additionally installed in 20 new super-hardened silos. The fall of the Soviet Union ended production and the need for replacement. Nevertheless they remained in Russian service into the 21st Century, some being modified for use as space launchers.

Navaho G-26 American intermediate range cruise missile. The Navaho G-26 was a 2/3 scale test version of the operational Navaho G-38. The Navaho program was cancelled on 13 July 1957, but already-built G-26 test missiles were flown to the end of 1958.

Lunar Evolution Base 1989 American manned lunar base. Study 1989. In August 1989 NASA's Office of Exploration completed a two-year, NASA-wide plan for future manned space exploration.

Apollo Lunar Landing American manned lunar expedition. Begun in 1962; first landing on the moon 1969; sixth and final lunar landing 1972. The project that succeeded in putting a man on the moon.

OTV American space tug. Studied 1985-1989. The Orbital Transfer Vehicle was reusable space tug, powered by LOx/LH2 engines and equipped with an aerobrake allowing it to be returned for refueling and reuse at an orbiting space station.

R-7 Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The world's first ICBM and first orbital launch vehicle. The 8K71 version was never actually put into military service, being succeeded by the R-7A 8K74.

The world's first ICBM became the most often used and most reliable launch vehicle in history. The original core+four strap-on booster missile had a small third stage added to produce the Vostok launch vehicle, with a payload of 5 metric tons. Addition of a larger third stage produced the Voskhod/Soyuz vehicle, with a payload over 6 metric tons. Using this with a fourth stage, the resulting Molniya booster placed communications satellites and early lunar and planetary probes in higher energy trajectories. By the year 2000 over 1,628 had been launched with an unmatched success rate of 97.5% for production models. Improved models providing commercial launch services for international customers entered service in the new millennium, and a new launch pad at Kourou was to be inaugurated in 2009. It appeared that the R-7 could easily still be in service 70 years after its first launch.


Lunox American manned lunar base. Study 1993. The NASA/JSC LUNOX proposal of 1993 tried to reduce the cost of maintaining a First Lunar Outpost by producing liquid oxygen propellant for the return to Earth from lunar soil.

Avco Project 7969 American manned spacecraft. Study 1958. AVCO's proposal for the Air Force initial manned space project was a 690 kg, 2.

Yantar-2K Russian military surveillance satellite.

Mars Polar Lander American Mars lander. The Mars Polar Lander had the mission of studying Martian volatiles (frozen water and carbon dioxide) and climate history. The Martian polar regions were the best places to conduct these studies. No telemetry was received from the lander from just prior to its reentry on 3 December 1999. The investigation team concluded that just 40 m above the Martian surface the deployment of the landing legs was interpreted by the spacecraft as touchdown on the surface, shutting down the engines. The fiasco led to major changes in future planetary probes, including adequate funding and telemetry all the way to the surface.

Otrag Orbital Transport-und-Raketen Aktiengesellschaft, Germany. Manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. $200 million was spent from 1975-1987 by Lutz Kayser in a serious attempt to develop a low-cost satellite launcher using clusters of mass-produced pressure-fed liquid propellant modules. The project was finally squelched by the German government under pressure from the Soviet and French.

GLO-1B Canadian gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. When compared to the early Martlet 4 designs the GLO-1B was a considerably more sophisticated vehicle with many of the shortcomings of it's predecessor having been addressed. Not long after the original HARP project ended the major assets of the project were acquired by the projects management, Dr. Gerald Bull in particular. The HARP Program became the Space Research Corporation (SRC) with the intention of resurrecting the HARP orbital program. Over the years a much improved and considerably more sophisticated Martlet 4 was developed and given the name of GLO-1B.

LANTR Moon Base American manned lunar base. Study 1997. Liquid oxygen mined from the moon combined with a LOX-Augmented Nuclear Thermal Rocket earth-to-moon shuttle to achieve dramatic reductions in launch requirements for a lunar base.

Cuxhaven As the only site in Germany with an unrestricted over-water firing sector over the North Sea, Cuxhaven was once touted as 'the Cape Canaveral of Germany'. Primarily known to space historians for the three post-war V-2 launches under project Backfire, it played an important role in the nascent post-World War II German rocketry. A nearly completely unknown series of scientific sounding rocket launches were made from the area in 1957-1964 before the launch site was closed on (purportedly) safety and (actually) military grounds.

Blackstar American manned spaceplane. 2006 reports claimed it was flown covertly in the 1990s. If so, it may have derived from the Isinglass studies of the late 1960's.

Mishin Soviet Chief Designer, superseding Korolev, 1966-1974. Led the bureau in the flight test stages of the L1 and N1-L3 manned lunar programs, the Soyuz, and the Salyut space station. Replaced by Glushko after failures in all of these programs.

Spacelab The European-built Spacelab pressurized module remained attached to space shuttle and permitted conduct of a range of experiments.

Sabre Rolls Royce air augmented rocket engine. Used Air/LOx/LH2. Developed -1995. In development for Skylon launch vehicle; descendent of RB545 developed for abandoned HOTOL space launcher.

DC-X The Space Defense Initiative Office's Single Stage Rocket Technology program of 1990-1995 demonstrated technology readiness for an SSTO vehicle. Despite successful test flights of the DC-X technology demonstrator, no development funding was forthcoming, and designs for prototype and production rockets remained on the drawing boards.

R-101 Post-war Russian version of German Wasserfall surface-to-air missile. Never put into production, but technology used for further surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile developments in Russia.

Space Station Freedom American manned space station. Design as of 1988. NASA's first detailed cost assessment for the US space station caused a political uproar in Congress, where many politicians had started to express doubt about the project.

H-2 HTOHL The H-2 horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing two-stage reusable space shuttle was proposed by Institute 601 of the Air Ministry in 1988. The first stage would used air breathing engines to accelerate the rocket-powered second stage to release velocity. This ambitious design would leapfrog China ahead of other spacefaring nations, but would be available no earlier than 2015. It was decided the concept was beyond Chinese technical capability, and it was not pursued further.

The Year in Space - 2006 Space rebounds!

First Lunar Outpost American manned lunar base. Study 1992. The First Lunar Outpost was a very comprehensive moon base study carried out by NASA's Office of Exploration in 1992.

Polyus Russian military anti-satellite system. The Polyus military test bed was put together on a crash basis as an answer to America's Star Wars program.

The Year in Review - 2004 It's got to get worse before it can get better...

Nova 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.

HETE American gamma ray astronomy satellite. The High Energy Transient Experiment (HETE) was an international mission led by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

SLS BC-2720 American orbital launch vehicle. The BC-2720 was the member of the SLS family selected to boost the Air Force Lunex lunar lander on a direct lunar trajectory. This would have used four 180 inch solid rocket boosters strapped around an the 'C' LOx/LH2 core vehicle. The core would have required either 12 J-2 engines or 2 M-1 engines. The translunar injection third stage was the 'B', with a single J-2 engine.

Tsien (1911-2009) Father of Chinese spaceflight. Leading rocket theoretician, expelled from USA as Red in 1955. Created China's space industry from scratch, results: China's first ballistic missiles, 1960s; first satellite, 1970; and first astronaut, 2003.

Tian Jiao 1 Chinese manned spaceplane. Study 1988. The Tian Jiao 1 (Pre-eminent in Space 1) manned spaceplane was proposed by the First Academy (now the China Academy of Launch Technology) in 1988.

Jules Verne Moon Gun French gun-launched orbital launch vehicle. Jules Verne's moon gun, as described in his 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, was located in Florida. Although some errors were made, Verne used real engineering analysis to arrive at the design of his cannon and manned moon projectile. As a result, at the time of Apollo 8 and 11 missions it was noted that Verne had made an astonishing number of correct predictions about the actual missions....

Beta German SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. In 1969 rocket pioneer Dietrich Koelle was working at MBB (Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm). There he sketched out a reusable VTOVL design called BETA using Bono's SASSTO as a starting point. The vehicle, taking European technology into account, was a bit heavier than Bono's design. But the thorough analysis showed even this design would be capable of delivering 2 metric tons of payload to orbit.

Soyuz 7K-OK Russian manned spacecraft. Development of a three-manned orbital version of the Soyuz, the 7K-OK was approved in December 1963.

Deep Impact American comet probe. Studied interior composition of Comet Tempel 1. The flyby spacecraft carried a smaller impactor which it released, allowing it to study the plume from the collision with the comet on 2005.07.04.

Saturn A-1 American orbital launch vehicle. Projected first version of Saturn I, to be used if necessary before S-IV liquid hydrogen second stage became available. Titan 1 first stage used as second stage, Centaur third stage. Masses, payload estimated.

Hermes missile American tactical ballistic missile. Hermes was a major US Army project to implement German rocket technology after World War II. Development started in 1944 with award to General Electric as the prime contractor. The program was cancelled in 1954 after $ 96.4 million had been spent. Most of this was for naught since the Air Force received the long-range missile assignment in the end.

Dal Russian surface-to-air missile. Trials of this long range surface-to-air missile were conducted in 1960-1963 but the project was cancelled after the system failed to down a single target. V-200 missiles were installed in the Dal installations built around Leningrad for the failed missile. In a bit of disinformation, the V-400 was paraded in Moscow, and US intelligence, thinking it was operational, applied the SA-5 designation. The SA-5 code was transferred to the V-200 after the La-400 was cancelled.

Enterprise American manned spaceplane. Study 1974. Enterprise was the first Space Shuttle Orbiter. It was rolled out on September 17, 1976.

Soyuz 7K-S Russian manned spacecraft. The Soyuz 7K-S had its genesis in military Soyuz designs of the 1960's.

US-A Russian military naval surveillance radar satellite. The US-A (later known as RLS) was a nuclear powered RORSAT (Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellite).

Mir-2 Russian manned space station. Study 1989. The Mir-2 space station was originally authorized in the February 1976 resolution setting forth plans for development of third generation Soviet space systems.

R-9 ICBM developed by Korolev OKB using liquid oxygen/kerosene propellants. The Soviet military favored storable propellants as advocated by Glushko and implemented by Yangel and Chelomei. Development of the R-9 was protracted and it was deployed in only very limited numbers between 1964 and 1974.

R-9A Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. ICBM developed by Korolev OKB using liquid oxygen/kerosene propellants. The Soviet military favored storable propellants as advocated by Glushko and implemented by Yangel and Chelomei. Development of the R-9 was protracted and it was deployed in only very limited numbers between 1964 and 1974.

Kayser German engineer and low-cost rocket pioneer. 1975-1987 developed Otrag concept - clustered large numbers of low-cost storable liquid rocket modules to reduce costs by 10x. Tested in Congo and Libya, but project killed by vested interests.

R-36 Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. The R-36 ICBM was the largest ever built and the bogeyman of the Pentagon throughout the Cold War. Dubbed the 'city buster', the 308 silos built were constantly held up by the US Air Force as an awesome threat that justified a new round of American missile or anti-missile systems. On the other hand, the Americans were never motivated to build and deploy corresponding numbers of their equivalent, the liquid propellant Titan 2. Derivatives of the R-36 included the R-36-O orbital bombing system, the Tsiklon-2 and -3 medium orbital launch vehicles, and the replacement R-36M missiles. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the design and manufacturing facility ended up in independent Ukraine. Accordingly the missile was finally retired in the 1990's, conveniently in accordance with arms reduction agreements with the Americans.

Astronaut Statistics The right stuff - Who's flown the most hours in space? Who's the fastest man alive?

Barre French rocket pioneer and space visionary, who developed the EA-1941 rocket in France before work was interrupted by WW2. His work continued after the war, but was eclipsed and finally replaced rockets based on German technology.

Combo Lander Mission American manned Mars expedition. Study 1998. During the spring of 1998, NASA conducted a special study to design a human Mars mission that could be accommodated for launch by three heavy-lift launch vehicles.

R-3 Korolev 3000 km range intermediate range ballistic missile. Developed April 1947 to 1949 before cancellation.

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.

XLR43-NA-1 Rocketdyne LOx/Alcohol rocket engine. Development completed 1951. Mark III American version of single-chamber V-2 engine tested in WW2, but with half mass and 34% more thrust. Starting point for all later Rocketdyne engines.

Industrial Sounding System Canadian gun-launched sounding rocket. Columbiad Launch Services announced itself publicly in August 2003. They were then developing a high-volume Industrial Sounding System based on gun propulsion technology, which was scheduled to be fully operational by late 2004. This would also serve as a prototype for a follow-on orbital gun-based launch system.

CEV Draper MIT American manned spacecraft. Study 2012. The Draper-MIT CEV proposal was an 8-metric ton integral ballistic capsule.

LEK Lunar Expeditionary Complex Russian manned lunar base. In 1974 Mishin was fired as head of the Korolev design bureau, the N1 was cancelled, together with the L3 and Zvezda DLB lunar base projects, However Glushko, Mishin's replacement, still considered the establishment of a moon base to be a primary goal for his country.

Yangel Soviet Chief Designer 1954-1971 of OKB-586. Preeminent designer of ballistic missiles and light satellites. His Ukraine bureau designed the R-12 and R-14 IRBM's; the heavy R-16, R-36, and R-36M ICBM's; and the Zenit space launcher,

Solid Propellant - Black Powder The detailed chemistry and development of black powder propellants by Andre Bedard.

Russian Mars Propulsion - Nuclear Electric Soviet Mars Propulsion - Nuclear Electric

Saenger German-Austrian rocket pioneer; designer of Silverbird space bomber. Worked at Trauen for Luftwaffe 1936-1944 on rocket and ramjet development; for the French 1946-1954. Research in Germany 1954-1963 included winged shuttle designs.

Project Selena American manned lunar base. Study 1964. Bono's enormous ROMBUS booster could fly all the way to the lunar surface and back if low Earth orbit rendezvous and propellant transfer were used. He therefore proposed using the booster to establish a lunar base.

Beidou Chinese navigation satellite. Operational, first launch 2000.10.30. Beidou ('Big Dipper') was the satellite component of an independent Chinese satellite navigation and positioning system.

Case for Mars II American manned Mars expedition. Study 1984. The Case for Mars II Mars expedition plan was presented at a conference on 10-14 July 1984.

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. However continued development and eventual production of one derivative or another continued to be funded by Congress for many years afterwards.

Mars Direct American manned Mars expedition. Study 1991. In 1991 Martin Marietta and NASA Ames (Zubrin, Baker, and Gwynne) proposed 'Mars Direct' - a Mars expedition faster, cheaper, and better than the standard NASA plan.

MK-700 Russian manned Mars flyby. Study 1972. Chelomei was the only Chief Designer to complete an Aelita draft project and present it to the Soviet government.

Von Braun Mars Expedition - 1969 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1969. Von Braun's final vision for a manned expedition to Mars was a robust plan that eliminated much of the risk of other scenarios. Two ships would fly in convoy from earth orbit to Mars and back.

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.

ALSS Lunar Base American manned lunar base. Cancelled 1968. The ALSS (Apollo Logistics Support System) Lunar Base would require a new development, the LM Truck, to allow delivery of up to 4100 kg in payload to the lunar surface.

Horizon Lunar Outpost American manned lunar base. Study 1959. In 1959 the US Army completed a plan for a manned military outpost on the moon.

Hermes French manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1992. The Hermes spaceplane would have provided independent European manned access to space. Hermes was designed to take three astronauts to orbits of up to 800 km altitude on missions of 30 to 90 days in space.

Gemini Lunar Lander American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. A direct lunar lander design of 1961, capable of being launched to the moon in a single Saturn V launch through use of a 2-man Gemini re-entry vehicle instead of the 3-man Apollo capsule.

Mars Expedition 89 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1989. The primary objective of the 1989 Mars Expedition case study was to determine how to accomplish a single human expedition to the surface of Mars as early in the 21st century as practical.

European Mars Mission European manned Mars expedition. Study 2005. In 2005 the Mars Society Germany proposed a European Mars Mission (EMM) that could be launched using an improved version of the Ariane 5 booster.

STCAEM SEP American manned Mars expedition. Study 1991. The solar electric propulsion (SEP) Mars transfer concept was the only non-nuclear advanced propulsion option in the STCAEM study.

S-25 Alternate designation for [215 missile].

US-P Russian military naval signals reconnaissance satellite. The US-P (later known as RTR) was a solar powered EORSAT (Electronic Ocean Reconnaissance Satellite).

Magnum HLLV 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 mission studies 1996-2004.

RT-2 Development of the RT-2, the Soviet Union's first solid propellant ICBM, was undertaken by Sergei Korolev and his successor from 1961-1968. It was a huge technical challenge, involving technology in which the Russians had no prior experience. The high-priority RT-2 preoccupied Korolev and his team throughout the period of the moon race, and could be considered a factor in the loss of that race to the Americans. In the end only sixty were deployed, but these provided the technical basis for Russian ballistic missiles of the 1980's and beyond.

Chang Cheng 1 Chinese winged orbital launch vehicle. The Chang Cheng 1 (Great Wall 1) vertical takeoff / horizontal landing two-stage space shuttle was a compromise design created jointly by Shanghai Astronautics Bureau 805 (now the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology) and Institute 604 of the Air Ministry in 1988. An expendable booster, consisting of three of Shanghai's planned liquid oxygen/kerosene modular boosters, would boost the winged second stage shuttle to a high altitude. The engines of the winged shuttle stage would take it to orbit. This approach would allow a first flight to be made in 2008.

MEK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1969. The Mars Expeditionary Complex (MEK) was designed to take a crew of from three to six to Mars and back with a total mission duration of 630 days.

Apollo 16 Second Apollo mission with lunar rover. CSM main engine failure detected in lunar orbit. Landing almost aborted.

Navaho SSM-A-2 American intermediate range cruise missile. The first version of the Navaho developed in 1946-1950 was a Mach-3 ramjet vehicle with an integral rocket booster. Completion of the vehicle was cancelled in 1950 but the engine was used to power the Redstone ballistic missile.

DSP American military early warning satellite. An evolving series of satellites built by the United States to detect intercontinental ballistic missiles on launch.

Space Station Options 1993 American manned space station. Study 1993. Following the collapse of Space Station Fred, NASA quickly formed a Space Station redesign team which identified three major redesign options in April 1993....

Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll.

Transit Spin-stabilized Transit satellites were developed by the US Navy beginning in 1958 for the first operational navigation satellite system. Transit provided continuous navigation satellite service from 1964, initially for Polaris submarines and later for civilian use. The use of the satellites for navigation was discontinued at the end of 1996 (replaced by GPS/Navstar), but the seemingly-indestructible satellites continued transmitting and became the Navy Ionospheric Monitoring System (NIMS). 46 launches, 1959.09.17 (Transit 1A) to 1988.08.25 (Transit O-31).

Mars Society Mission American manned Mars expedition. Study 1999. In 1999 the Mars Society, noting certain defects in NASA's Design Reference Mission, requested California Institute of Technology to develop an alternative scenario to meet these concerns.

Von Braun Lunar Lander American manned lunar lander. Study 1952. Von Braun's first lunar lander design was an immense spacecraft, larger in earth orbit than a Saturn V booster.

STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's.

Project 921-2 Chinese manned space station. Study 2007. Phase 2 of China's Project 921 was to culminate in orbiting of an 8-metric ton man-tended mini-space station.

Raketoplan Russian manned spaceplane family. Succeeding the VKA project, this was developed by Chelomei from 1959, including suborbital hardware tests, before cancellation in 1964. Succeeded by the Spiral program.

CEV Andrews American manned spacecraft. Study 2005. The Andrews Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) design adopted NASA's preferred Apollo CM re-entry vehicle shape, but combined it with a mission module crew cabin to minimize the CEV's mass.

JSC Moon Base 1984 American manned lunar base. Study 1984. In 1984 a Johnson Space Center team lad by Barney Roberts took NASA's first look at a return to the moon after the shuttle was in service.

HL-42 American manned spaceplane. The HL-42 was a reusable, lifting body manned spacecraft designed in 1997 to be placed into low-Earth orbit by an expendable booster.

Big Gemini American manned spacecraft. Reached mockup stage 1967.

Russian Mars Expeditions Aelita was the Queen of Mars in the famous socialist parable filmed by Jakov Protazanov in 1924. It was altogether fitting that her name would be given to the leading Soviet plan for the conquest of the Red Planet. The Soviet Union's Korolev had the same original dream as Wernher von Braun - a manned expedition to Mars. In both cases this goal was interrupted by the 'side show' of the moon race of the 1960's. In both cases that race proved so costly and of so little public interest that political support for any Mars expeditions evaporated.

ACTS American communications technology satellite. One launch, 1993.09.12. NASA experimental communications; Advanced Communications Technology Satellite.

R-5M Russian intermediate range ballistic missile. The R-5M was the first Soviet missile to be armed with a nuclear warhead, and the first to launch a live nuclear warhead in test. The technical characteristics were virtually the same as those of the R-5 basic model, except for an increase in the propellant load. 48 launchers were deployed from 1956 to 1968, tipped with nuclear warheads of 80 kiloton, 300 kiloton, or 1 megaton.

Chinese Space Laboratory Chinese manned space station. Study 2012. The latest models displayed of the Chinese Space Laboratory show it to have a larger-diameter module, about 4 m in diameter, and a narrower module forward, about 3 m in diameter.

Kehlet Lenticular Vehicle American manned spaceplane. Study 1961. Alan B. Kehlet of NASA's Space Task Group New Projects Panel, worked at NASA Langley and first conceived of his lenticular manned spacecraft design in 1959.

Phoenix American Mars lander. Mars lander based on surplus hardware from the cancelled Mars Surveyor 2001 and the failed Mars Polar Lander (whence the Phoenix designation).

V-2 VTOHL Chinese winged orbital launch vehicle. The V-2 vertical takeoff / horizontal landing two-stage reusable space shuttle was proposed by Beijing Department 11 of the Air Ministry in 1988. The first stage would use liquid oxygen/kerosene engines, while the second would use liquid oxygen/hydrogen engines. Both stages would be winged, and first flight would be no earlier than 2015.

UR-100 Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The UR-100 lightweight ICBM was the Soviet answer to the US Minuteman and was deployed in larger numbers than any other in history. It remained an enigma outside of intelligence circles in the West until after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It allowed the Soviet Union to match, and then surpass the United States in strategic deterrent capability. As such it was Vladimir Chelomei's crowning legacy to his country.

MKBS Russian manned space station. Cancelled 1974. The culmination of ten years of designs for N1-launched space stations, the MKBS would be cancelled together with the N1.

GE Lunar NEP Tug American lunar logistics spacecraft. Nuclear electric tug proposed by General Electric in a 1965 study to support an Apollo Applications Lunar Base. A Snap-50 space reactor generating 1.9 MW would power the tug.

Apollo LRV American manned lunar rover. The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle was one of those sweet pieces of hardware that NASA and its contractors seemed to be able to develop so effortlessly during the short maturity of the Apollo program. The Lunar Rover was the only piece of equipment from NASA's ambitious post-Apollo lunar exploration plans to actually fly in space, being used on Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17 in 1971-1972. The design was based on three years of studies for light, two-crew, open-cockpit 'Local Science Survey Modules'. Although Bendix built a prototype, Boeing ended up with the production contract.

Martlet 3A Canadian sounding rocket. The Martlet 3A was the first serious attempt to produce a sub-caliber, gun-launched, rocket-assisted, vehicle for the 16 inch gun system. The basic design criteria for the Martlet 3A was to gun launch a vehicle containing a rocket motor that could provide a velocity boost equal to or greater then the initial gun-launch velocity.

The theoretical performance of the Martlet 3A was for an 18 kg payload to be carried to an altitude of some 500 km at gun-launch accelerations of 12-14,000 g's and gun launch velocities in the range of 2100 m/sec (similar to the Martlet 2 series maximum launch parameters).


AJ10-118 Aerojet Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. Out of Production. Engine originally developed for the Vanguard launch vehicle, and then for use on the Able and Delta upper stages and as the Apollo Service module engine. Flown 1957-1962.

Lunar Worm American manned lunar rover. Study 1966. The Aeronutronic Division of Philco Corp. proposed the unique Lunar Worm Planetary Roving Vehicle Concept in 1966.

L3M Russian manned lunar base. Study 1970-1972. Follow-on to the L3, a two N1-launch manned lunar expedition designed and developed in the Soviet Union between 1969 and 1974.

SAINT American military anti-satellite system. Cancelled 1963.

Douglas HATV American orbital launch vehicle. The Douglas HATV design of 1946 was laid out by the Douglas engineer William Ballhaus. He proved that there were no obstacles to a single-stage-to-orbit space launch vehicle, as long as pressurized 'metal balloon' tanks were used instead of using aircraft-structure design approaches.

Martlet 2 Canadian sounding rocket. The Martlet 2 series were the primary 16" gun-launched sub-orbital flight vehicles used during the High Altitude Research Program (HARP). Martlet 2's were used to conduct extensive research at altitudes of up to 180 km with some 200 flights being conducted between 1963 and 1967. The very low cost per flight, about $3,000, made it ideal for a wide variety of applications. Typical mission payloads included chemical ejection to produce an observable atmospheric trail and assorted sensors with multi-channel telemetry.

AJ-260 Aerojet solid rocket engine family, the largest monolithic solid rocket motors ever tested.

Envisat European earth resources radar satellite. The European Space Agency's Envisat polar platform was originally envisaged as an automated polar orbiting segment of the Space Station.

Apollo: Soviets Recovered an Apollo Capsule! The truth only emerged 32 years later - the Soviets recovered an Apollo space capsule in 1970… the original article.

V-1000 Russian anti-ballistic missile. First Soviet anti-ballistic missile system. Development began in 1956 and the system was tested at Sary Shagan 1960 to 1961. It was clear that enormous development work was needed to achieve an operational anti-ballistic missile system. Therefore work began on the successor A-35 system, although the Americans were led to believe that an operational system was deployed around Moscow. The System A anti-ballistic missile equipped with the V-1000 rocket made the first intercept and destruction in the world using a conventional warhead of an intermediate range ballistic missile warhead coming in at 3 km/s on 4 May 1961. The US did not demonstrate an equivalent capability until 1984.

Buran M-42 Russian intercontinental cruise missile. Cancelled 1957. Several variants of the Myasishchev Buran trisonic intercontinental cruise missile M-42 cruise stage were studied, including a piloted version.

Plesetsk Plesetsk was the Soviet Union's northern cosmodrome, used for polar orbit launches of mainly military satellites, and was at one time the busiest launch center in the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union put the main launch site of Baikonur in Kazakh territory. It now seems that once the Proton rocket is retired, Baikonur will be abandoned and Plesetsk will be Russia's primary launch center. Upgrades to existing launch facilities will allow advanced versions of the Soyuz rocket and the new Angara launch vehicle to be launched from Plesetsk. Plesetsk's major drawback was the lower net payload in geosynchronous orbit from a northern latitude launch site. However Russia is planning to remove the disadvantage by looping geosynchronous satellites around the moon, using lunar gravity to make the necessary orbital plane change.

Dual Keel Space Station - 1985 American manned space station. Study 1985. NASA radically changed its Space Station baseline design in October 1985 following frequent complaints from users and astronauts.

Soyuz TM-26 Soyuz docked manually. Over the next six months the crew undertook seven internal and external spacewalks to repair the crippled space station.

Russia: Soviet Space History at a Glance
Soviet Space History at a Glance

Russia: Key Meetings in Soviet Spaceflight The key meetings, the main decisions that led to the Soviet loss of the moon race and shuttle race.

LESA Lunar Base American manned lunar base. Cancelled 1968. LESA (Lunar Exploration System for Apollo) represented the ultimate lunar base concept studied by NASA prior to the cancellation of further Saturn V production in June 1968.

LKS Russian manned spaceplane. Mock-up stage when cancelled in 1983. The LKS was a Chelomei design for a reusable manned winged spacecraft, similar to the later European Hermes spaceplane.

Soyuz 7K-L1 Russian manned lunar flyby spacecraft. The Soyuz 7K-L1, a modification of the Soyuz 7K-OK, was designed for manned circumlunar missions.

DLB Lunar Base Russian manned lunar base. Substantial development activity from 1962 to cancellation in 1974. The N1 draft project of 1962 spoke of 'establishment of a lunar base and regular traffic between the earth and the moon'.

World Circling Space Ship American orbital launch vehicle. Rand study of 1946-1947, in response to the Navy HATV, for a three-stage satellite launcher to be in use by 1952. Development funding was not forthcoming.

Tier One Burt Rutan's Tier One was the second manned reusable suborbital launch system (after the B-52/X-15). But it was developed privately at a small fraction of the cost, and won the X-Prize in 2004 as the first privately-developed reusable manned suborbital spacecraft. The design was greatly enlarged to produce SpaceShipTwo, the first commercial spaceplane.

Gemini Agena Target Vehicle American modification of the Agena-D upper stage for use as a docking target and space tug for Gemini.

MTKVA Russian manned spaceplane. Study 1974, competitor with Buran. Manned lifting body spaceplane, designed by Soviet engineers as a recoverable spacecraft in the early 1970's.

MAKS Russian air-launched winged orbital launch vehicle. The MAKS spaceplane was the ultimate development of the air-launched spaceplane studies conducted by NPO Molniya.

Beal BA-2 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. The Beal Aerospace BA-2 was a privately-financed heavy-lift commercial launch vehicle that used innovative technical solutions to achieve low cost to orbit. It harkened back to the low-cost Truax Sea Dragon or TRW 'Big Dumb Booster' concepts of the 1960's but added several new twists. Beal abandoned the project at the end of 2000 after the collapse of the MEO satellite market and active measures by NASA to support other, competing, more high-tech projects by the major aerospace contractors.

Mars 1989 Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1989. In 1989 yet another Mars project was proposed by NPO Energia.

TMK-1 Russian manned Mars flyby. Study 1959. In 1959 a group of enthusiasts in OKB-1 Section 3 under the management of G U Maksimov started engineering design of this first fantastic project for manned interplanetary travel.

Mars 5M Russian Mars lander. Cancelled 1978. The 5M was a second attempt by the Lavochkin bureau to design and fly a Soviet Martian soil return mission. Design and development was undertaken from 1974 to 1978.

LF2 Liquid Fluorine is the highest performance oxidizer and in the early 1960's it seemed in both American and Russia that a new generation of higher performance engines would emerge. However although test engines were built, fluorine was found to be just too toxic and reactive to be safely used as a propellant.

New Space Tourism With governmental manned space programs flagging, it seemed by the 21st Century that only civilian investors, building systems for tourism, might keep manned spaceflight alive...

Phobos Expedition 88 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1988. Human Expedition to Phobos was one of four in-depth NASA case studies in 1988 in response to a perceived imminent Soviet manned Mars program.

SASSTO American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Bono proposal for first step toward VTOVL SSTO vehicle - heavily modified Saturn IVB with plug nozzle engine.

Stardust American comet probe. Stardust encountered comet Wild-2 on 2 January 2004 and collect samples of cometary dust and volatiles while flying through the coma at a distance of 250 km. The samples were returned to Earth in a separable reentry capsule for analysis on 15 January 2006. Following an encounter with comet Tempel-1 on 15 February 2011, Stardust was decommissioned and put into safe mode.

AES Lunar Base American manned lunar base. Cancelled 1968. AES (Apollo Extension Systems) was planned as the first American lunar base. It would involve minimal modification of Apollo hardware. The Apollo CSM would be modified for long duration lunar orbit storage.

Space Tug The original Boeing Space Tug design of the early 1970's was sized to be flown either in a single shuttle mission or as a Saturn V payload. Optimum mass was found to be 20.6 metric tons regardless.

M2b Version of M2 lifting body proposed in 1958 as an alternate to the Dynasoar winged glider configuration.

Russian Mars Propulsion - Nuclear Thermal Soviet Mars Propulsion - Nuclear Thermal

GRACE American earth geodetic satellite. 2 launched, 2002.03.17 (GRACE 1 ) and (GRACE 2 ). The GRACE mission was to accurately map variations in the Earth's gravity field over its 5-year lifetime.

Navaho G-38 American intercontinental cruise missile. The intercontinental-range Navaho G-38 was the ultimate development of the German A-9/A-10 concept. At the time the Navaho program was cancelled on 13 July 1957 missiles were in fabrication with first flight test planned by the end of 1958.

White Sands LC33 Wac, Viking, V-2, Nike, Javelin, Hermes, Corporal, Atlas, Apache launch complex. LC 33 was the United States' first major rocket launch facility. The original Army Launch Area 1 complex consisted of a blockhouse, several concrete launching pads for captured German V-2 rockets, a 30-m tall launch tower for Aerobee rockets, a gantry and blast pit.

JAG Mars Flyby 1966 American manned Mars flyby. Study 1966. Final NASA attempt to mount a manned Mars flyby mission by 1975 using Apollo hardware. It took the best elements of the NASA Huntsville and Douglas concepts of 1965, requiring only four Saturn V launches.

Priroda Russian manned space station. Priroda was the last Mir module launched. It was originally an all-Soviet remote sensing module for combined civilian and military surveillance of the earth.

L1 Launch Windows The simple constraint on L1 launch dates.

R-16 Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. The Soviet Union's first practical ICBM, a two stage vehicle using storable propellants. Development began in 1956 and the missile was in service from 1962 to 1974. Peak deployment consisted of 186 launchers, about a third of them in missile silos, the rest in fixed 'soft' installations.

Kosmos 2 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. In 1960 the Soviet government decreed development of a lightweight launch vehicle for launch of payloads not requiring R-7 family of boosters. A modification of the R-12 IRBM was selected as the first stage; a new high-performance second stage was developed using a unique LOx/UDMH propellant combination. After two failures, the first successful flight was on March 16, 1962.

Pressurized Lunar Rover - Dual Hull American manned lunar rover. Study 1992. An alternate April 1992 USRA study by students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University sketched out a design for a Pressurized Lunar Rover (PLR) using dual hulls.

Chandraayan Indian lunar orbiter. First Indian lunar orbiter. It released the MIP impactor.

Ehricke Visionary German-American engineer. Protégé of Thiel at Peenemuende; early concepts for nuclear and LOx/LH2 engines. Left von Braun team, developed Centaur at Convair 1956-1964. Prolific output of advanced concepts, but poor program manager.

Russian SAMs and ABMs Perhaps no missiles ever produced had as much historical influence as the surface-to-air missiles of the Soviet Union. Originally conceived to provide a defense against the American bomber fleets of the early Cold War, they decisively affected the turn of events when they shot down American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over Russia and Cuba. Soviet-provided missiles accounted for a hundred American aircraft over North Vietnam and set the terms of the air battle. A new generation of missiles presented a huge technological surprise and took an awful toll of Israeli aircraft in the 1973 war. To this day, Russian surface-to-air missiles provide the only defense available to most countries against American bombers.

Space History Chronology Detailed chronology, by year…

Mars Expedition 88 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1988. In 1988, in response to a perceived Soviet plan to start a new space race to Mars, NASA made in depth case studies of a rapid US response.

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 metric tons into low earth orbit. The Red Team recommended configuration was an NLS / shuttle-derived vehicle with F-1A powered liquid rocket boosters.

R-17 Russian short-range ballistic missile. The final refinement of the R-11 design, the R-17, was exported widely and became infamous around the world by its ASCC reporting name - "Scud". It was perhaps the most famous ballistic missile of the post-war period due to its use in the Iran-Iraq 'War of the Cities' and the Gulf War. This was the definitive production version of what was essentially a storable-propellant rocket with the performance of the V-2. The original design was by Makeyev but the missile itself was produced by the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant.

Robo American manned combat spacecraft. Study 1955. Hypersonic manned rocket bomber project of the 1950's. Predecessor to Dynasoar.

CEV Boeing American manned spacecraft. Study 2012. Boeing's CEV consisted of a four-crew Apollo-type capsule, a service module, and a pressurized mission module.

Spektr Russian manned space station. Spektr was a module of the Mir space station. It began life as a dedicated military research unit.

HL-10 American manned spaceplane. 37 launches, 1966.12.22 to 1970.07.17 . The HL-10 was the favored lifting body configuration of NASA Langley in the 1960's. It reached Mach 1.86 and 27,700 m during its flight tests.

Nerva Gamma engine DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1972. The final Nerva Gamma flight engine was an improved version of the Alpha, a small engine that could be launched together with its stage and a payload in a single space shuttle launch.

Lunar Exploration Program 1968 American manned lunar base. Cancelled 1968. In January 1968, BellComm, NASA's Apollo project management advisor, proposed a four-phase program for exploration of the lunar surface using Apollo and Apollo-derived hardware.

Apollo 17 Final Apollo lunar landing mission. First geologist to walk on the moon.

China Lake US Navy aviation ordnance and rocketry development and test center, in operation since 1943 as the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) .

Voskhod 3 Manned space flight deferred just 15 days before launch in May 1966. It would have been a world-record 18-day space endurance mission, tasked primarily with testing ballistic missile detection equipment. Never formally cancelled, it just faded away in Brezhnev-era stagnation…

Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career.

Mars Oz Australian manned Mars expedition. Study 2006. 2001 design study by the Mars Society Australia that incorporated many innovative elements to produce a minimum-mass non-nuclear Mars expedition concept.

Kvant Russian manned space station. Kvant 1). The Kvant spacecraft represented the first use of a new kind of Soviet space station module, designated 37K.

MER American Mars lander. NASA's rover mission design for the 2003 Mars launch opportunity.

Zucker Rocket The Zucker Rocket was not an operational rocket at all, but a series of flashy-looking hulls powered by powder rockets like those used in fireworks. Zucker travelled through Germany in 1931-1933, displaying his rocket, selling tickets to launches, and then selling fraudulent postal covers carried aboard the 'flights'. The highest recorded altitude achieved in Germany was 15 m.

Gnom Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. Gnom was a unique design which represented the most advanced work ever undertaken on an air-augmented missile capable of intercontinental ranges or orbital flight. Although cancelled in 1965 before flight tests could begin, Gnom was the closest the world aerospace engineering community ever came to fielding an orbital-capable launcher of less than half of the mass of conventional designs.

J-2X Rocketdyne LOx/LH2 rocket engine. Ares I launch vehicle second stage. In development 2006-2016. Began as an update to the J-2 engine of the 1960s, but final design was all-new, 20% more thrust, but double the weight.

D-558-1 American manned high-speed research aircraft. Flown 1947-1953. The D-558-I "Skystreaks" were among the early transonic research airplanes like the X-1, X-4, X-5, and XF-92A.

MR-UR-100 Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. The Yangel MR-UR-100 was designed as a replacement for Chelomei's UR-100 at the end of its 10 year storage life. Although it could be installed in the same silos, it was 50% heavier. The competing design of Chelomei, the UR-100N, was also put into production when the Soviet hierarchy deadlocked and could not pick one design over the other.

TMK-E Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1960. Feoktistov felt that the TMK-1 manned Mars flyby design was too limited. His design group proposed in 1960 a complete Mars landing expedition, to be assembled in earth orbit using two or more N1 launches.

SAC-A Argentinian technology satellite. The Scientific Applications Satellite-S (SAC-A) was a small, ejectable, low cost Argentinian satellite that was launched during the STS-88 Space Shuttle Endeavour mission.

R-1 Russian short range ballistic missile. Stalin did not decide to proceed with Soviet production of this copy of the German V-2 until 1948. Despite the threatening supervision of the program by Stalin's secret police chief, Beria, and the assistance of German rocket engineers, it took eight years for the German technology to be absorbed and the missile to be put into service. It was almost immediately superseded by later designs, but the effort laid the groundwork for the Soviet rocket industry. Surplus R-1's were converted to use as a sounding rockets for military and scientific research missions.

J-2S Rocketdyne LOx/LH2 rocket engine. Developed 1965-1969. J-2 version proposed for Saturn follow-on vehicles, using results of the J-2X technology program. The engine was simplified while offering improved performance.

Soyuz 5 Two crew transferred to and returned in Soyuz 4. Remaining astronaut barely survived nose-first reentry of Soyuz 5, still attached to its service module.

Ride Report American manned Mars expedition. Study 1987. Former astronaut Sally Ride was asked to head a task force to formulate a new NASA strategic plan in August 1986.

Tiangong Chinese man-tended space laboratory. A series of three of these laboratories were to be visited by a series of Shenzhou manned spacecraft between 2011 and 2018. The 8.5-ton design will then be extended to a 13-ton cargo carrier for resupply of the Chinese multi-module space station after 2020.

Sokol-K1 Russian space suit, operational 1971. After the Soyuz 11 tragedy, in which all three unsuited cosmonauts died in a decompression accident, the Soviets scrambled to produce new IVA suits.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter American Mars orbiter. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was the first spacecraft designed from the beginning for aerobraking to place it into the desired orbit around Mars.

Space Activity Suit American space suit, tested 1971. Prototype for a Mechanical Counter Pressure suit made up of six layers of elastic material accompanied by a full bubble helmet.

HS 702 American communications satellite bus.

Gemini Lunar Surface Rescue Spacecraft American manned lunar lander. Study 1966. This version of Gemini would allow a direct manned lunar landing mission to be undertaken in a single Saturn V flight, although it was only proposed as an Apollo rescue vehicle.

TR-106 TRW LOx/LH2 rocket engine. Development. Innovative TRW 650K Low Cost Pintle Engine, test fired at NASA's test center in October 2000.

Spiral 50-50 Russian winged orbital launch vehicle. The Soviet Air Force had an enduring interest in a horizontal takeoff/horizontal landing, manned, reusable space launch system that could ferry crews and priority supplies between earth and space on the same basis as conventional aircraft. Between 1960 and 1976 Mikoyan developed this manned partially reusable space launch system. It consisted of a reusable hypersonic air-breathing booster; two expendable rocket stages; and the reusable Spiral manned spaceplane. The effort was never properly funded by the government, and by the mid-1970's had only reached the stage of flight tests of subscale versions of Spiral. Development was discontinued in 1976 in favor of the Buran, a copy of the US space shuttle. However it was resurrected in improved form in the 1980's as the MAKS spaceplane.

Chinese Lunar Base Chinese manned lunar base. Study 2025. Beginning in 2000, Chinese scientists began discussing preliminary work on a Chinese manned lunar base.

Pirs-2 Russian military naval radar satellite. Cancelled 1988. The Pirs-2 was the second phase nuclear-powered active-radar naval targeting spacecraft.

Apollo LLRV American manned lunar lander test vehicle. Bell Aerosystems initially built two manned lunar landing research vehicles (LLRV) for NASA to assess the handling characteristics of Apollo LM-type vehicles on earth.

Apollo Direct 2-Man American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. A direct lunar lander design of 1961, capable of being launched to the moon in a single Saturn V launch through use of a 75% scale 2-man Apollo command module.

ODERACS American military target satellite. Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres were small, low-earth orbiting calibration targets for ground based radar and optical systems. The primary objective was to calibrate the Haystack Long Range Imaging Radar and validate the Johnson Space Center's Orbital Debris Analysis System.

A-6 Rocketdyne LOx/Alcohol rocket engine. Out of production. Used on Redstone launch vehicle. First flight 1953. Developed from the XLR43-NA-1, an American version of the V-2 single-chamber engine tested in 1945.

CEV Raytheon American manned spacecraft. Study 2012. Raytheon's CEV was a low L/D capsule, designed for three crew, sized so that an existing EELV Heavy could send it towards L1.

RSA-3 The RSA-3 satellite launcher began development as an IRBM in the 1980's because of the perceived Soviet threat and isolation of South Africa. It was developed with the assistance of Israel and was believed to be essentially identical to the Israeli Jericho missile/Shavit launch vehicle. The objective of the satellite launcher was to place a small surveillance satellite of 330 kg mass into a 41 degree, 212 x 460 km orbit around the earth. Development continued even after South African renunciation of its nuclear weapons. However the launcher was found not to be viable commercially and so was cancelled in mid-1994.

Apollo 15 First use of lunar rover on moon. Beautiful images of crew prospecting at edge of Hadley Rill. One of the three main parachutes failed, causing a hard but survivable splashdown.

Zucker German rocket enthusiast and fraudster. In 1931-1934 toured Germany and UK with bogus 'operational' and postal rockets. Caused a death in a rocket explosion in 1964, resulting in ban of private rocketry in Germany.

X-15B American manned spacecraft. Study 1958. North American's proposal for the Air Force initial manned space project was to extend the X-15 program. The X-15B was a 'stripped' X-15A with an empty mass of 4500 kg.

Rocketsonde American sounding rocket. Meteorological sounding rockets that could use Loki Datasonde, Arcas, or Deacon rockets as the booster.

Apollo 14 Third manned lunar landing. Only Mercury astronaut to reach moon. Five attempts to dock the command module with the lunar module failed for no apparent reason - mission saved when sixth was successful. Hike to Cone Crater frustrating; rim not reached.

Russia: Location of Russian Manned Spacecraft Where you can see flown and unflown Russian manned spacecraft...

S-75 Russian surface-to-air missile. Known in the west as the SA-2 Guideline, this weapon was responsible for the downing of more American aircraft than any missile in history. It was deployed worldwide beginning in 1957, and improvements and updates, many by third parties, continued into the 21st Century.

M-1 Aerojet LOx/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1961. Engine developed 1962-1966 for Uprated Saturn and Nova million-pound payload boosters to support manned Mars missions. Reached component test stage before cancellation.

Gemini Satellite Inspector American manned spacecraft. Study 1965. A modification of Gemini to demonstrate rendezvous and inspection of noncooperative satellites was proposed. The Gemini would rendezvous with the enormous Pegasus satellite in its 500 x 700 km orbit.

Apollo 12 Second manned lunar landing. Precision landing near Surveyor 3 that landed in 1967. Lightning struck the booster twice during ascent. Decision was made to press on to moon, despite possibility landing pyrotechnics damaged.

Bio-Suit American space suit, study of 2001. Novel approach that used biomedical breakthroughs in skin replacement and materials to replace the bulky conventional balloon spacesuit with a second skin approach.

Astrobee Aerojet-designed family of sounding rockets conceived as a lower-cost replacement of the liquid-propellant Aerobee.

MiG 105-11 Russian manned spaceplane. 8 launches, 1976.10.11 to 1978.09.15 . Atmospheric flight test version of the Spiral OS manned spaceplane. The 105-11 incorporated the airframe and some of the systems of the planned orbital version.

PK spacecraft Russian manned spacecraft. Study 2008. This conical, six-crew space capsule represented the Russian Space Agency's preferred design to support Russian spaceflight in the 2018-2068 period.

Hayabusa Japanese asteroid probes with the objective of recovering samples from the surface of asteroids and returning them to earth.

Gemini LORV American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1967. This version of Gemini was studied as a means of rescuing an Apollo CSM crew stranded in lunar orbit. The Gemini would be launched unmanned on a translunar trajectory by a Saturn V.

Navaho/X-15 North American proposed several methods of taking the X-15 spaceplane to higher velocities and altitudes. One of these involved the use of one to three Navaho booster rockets, which could even place the X-15 into orbit. This incremental approach to manned spaceflight was not pursued - the Mercury and X-20 Dynasoar programs were favored instead.

T-7A Chinese sounding rocket. Boosted version of China's first indigenously-built sounding rocket. Included solid propellant booster. The upper stage and payload were recovered by parachute and reused. Launches began in 1965. Consisted of a solid propellant booster mated to the basic liquid propellant T-7. Flown from 1965 to the end of the 1960's.

MOLEM American manned lunar rover. Study 1966. Third generation versions of LM derivative equipment were studied by Grumman in a report delivered on 10 May 1966.

Space Station 1984 American manned space station. Design as of 1984. President Reagan finally approved a space station project for NASA in January 1984.

Pirs-1 Russian military naval surveillance radar satellite. 2 launches, 1987.02.02 and 1987.07.10 .

Shuttle C American orbital launch vehicle. NASA Marshall design for a cargo version of the shuttle system. The shuttle orbiter would be replaced by an unmanned recoverable main engine pod. The same concept was studied earlier as the Interim Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (IHLLV) and as the Class I Shuttle Derived Vehicle (SDV). The Phase I two-SSME configuration would have a payload of 45,000 kg to low earth orbit. Design carried to an advanced phase in 1987-1990, but then abandoned when it was found the concept had no cost advantage over existing expendable launch vehicles.

Spacehab American manned space station module. Spacehab, Inc was founded by Bob Citron in 1982 in Houston. It was the only entrepreneurial company of the 1900's to successfully develop a commercial manned spaceflight module.

Mir-2 KB Salyut Russian manned space station. Cancelled 1988. Alternative design for the Mir-2 space station by KB Salyut. If Polyus had successfully made it to orbit, it might have been the core for such a station.

CEV Spacehab American manned spacecraft. Study 2005. The final Spacehab CEV concept was a three-module spacecraft using a slightly enlarged Apollo command module for return of the crew to earth.

Sokol-KV2 Russian space suit, operational 1990. Improved version of the Sokol IVA suit developed for use aboard Soyuz T.

Germany German enthusiasts laid the technical groundwork for the exploration of space in the 1920's and early 1930's. These enthusiasts, funded by Hitler's Nazi government, developed rocket technology far beyond that of other countries during World War II. After the war, that technology was transferred by German engineers taken, willingly or not, to the United States, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. Attempts to revive civilian rocketry in Germany after World War II were stopped on political grounds. But Germany was able to be involved in space exploration through European institutions, building satellites or rocket stages for European projects. Maverick attempts at developing German innovative launch technologies by Eugen Saenger and Lutz Kayser were suppressed by other countries.

Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur.

Calipso American earth weather satellite.

Soyuz TMA-11 First female space station commander. Six-month, long-term, resident crew of the International Space Station.

FIRST Re-Entry Glider American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1960. FIRST (Fabrication of Inflatable Re-entry Structures for Test) used an inflatable Rogallo wing for emergency return of space crew from orbit.

Soyuz A Russian manned spacecraft. Study 1962. The 7K Soyuz spacecraft was initially designed for rendezvous and docking operations in near earth orbit, leading to piloted circumlunar flight.

The Space Explorers A curious marriage of pre-war German filmmaking and 1950's low-rent kiddie show syndicated quickies…

Resurs-O1 Russian earth land resources satellite. A decree of 5 May 1977 authorized development of three earth resource satellites.

Porter American engineer; his 400-strong GE team at Malta, NY, built US versions of the V-2 and Wasserfall, and engine for Vanguard. Influential, on many committees, but Malta was a dead-end, and closed in 1984.

Soyuz OB-VI Russian manned space station. Cancelled 1970. In December 1967 OKB-1 chief designer Mishin managed to have Kozlov's Soyuz VI project killed. In its place he proposed to build a manned military station based on his own Soyuz 7K-OK design.

CEV Lockheed American manned spacecraft. Study 2012. The Crew Exploration Vehicle first proposed by Lockheed was a lifting body with a total mass of 18 metric tons and a crew of four.

Gemini Lunar Surface Survival Shelter American manned lunar habitat. Study 1967. Prior to an Apollo moon landing attempt, the shelter would be landed, unmanned, near the landing site of a stranded Apollo Lunar Module.

IRDT Russian manned rescue spacecraft. Inflatable re-entry and descent technology vehicle designed to return payloads from space to the earth or another planet. Tested three times, with only one partially successful recovery.

Project 921 In 1992 Xiandong Bao of the Shanghai Astronautics Bureau revealed plans for a modular family of modern rockets to support future Chinese manned space activities. The entire family would be based on a LOx/Kerosene booster stage of 306 metric tons mass, and a LOx/LH2 upper stage of 57 metric tons mass.

PKA Russian manned spaceplane. Study 1959. Tsybin's VKA design was called the gliding spacecraft (PKA), and would be inserted into orbit by a Vostok launch vehicle.

XF-91 American manned rocketplane. The Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor was a mixed-power interceptor, being powered by both a jet engine and by a battery of rocket motors. Although it showed promise, it was not put into production.

Quick Reach 2 American low cost orbital launch vehicle. Enlarged version of the Quick Reach launch vehicle proposed to launch the t/Space CXV manned spacecraft. The concept built on both Quick Reach and SpaceShipOne to produce a low-cost air-launched man-rated pressure-fed liquid oxygen/propane launch vehicle.

Challenger American manned spaceplane.

VKA-23 Design 1 Russian manned spaceplane. Study 1960. Myasishchev single-pilot winged spacecraft of 1960, sized for launch to orbit by Korolev's Vostok booster.

XCALR-2000A-1 Aerojet's unique Aerotojet consisted of a pair of canted 130 kgf thrust chambers mounted longitudinally on a drive shaft, which drove the turbopumps. Developed 1943-1945 for the XP-79 Northrop Flying Wing; blew up on first test.

Stuhlinger Mars 1957 American manned Mars expedition. Study 1957. In 1954 Ernst Stuhlinger conceived the first Mars expedition using solar-electric propulsion.

R-39 Russian submarine-launched ballistic missile. First Russian solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile. Deployed on six Typhoon subs, 1984-2004. Proposed as the basis for numerous satellite launchers.

RD-0120 Kosberg engine used in the Energia core stage. In 1987 it became the first operational Russian LOx/LH2 engine system, built to the same overall performance specifications as America's SSME, but using Russian technology.

ISS Zvezda Russian manned space station. Zvezda. The Zvezda service module of the International Space Station had its origins a quarter century before it was launched.

M1 Manufacturer's designation for [Mars M1] mars orbiter.

Orbital Workshop American manned space station. Study 1965. The Orbital Workshop (OWS) was a 1960's NASA program to create an embryonic space station in orbit using the spent S-IVB rocket stage of a Saturn IB.

Von Braun Station American manned space station. Study 1945. In the first 1946 summary of his work during World War II, Wernher von Braun prophesied the construction of space stations in orbit.

STCAEM NTR American manned Mars expedition. Study 1991.

Meteor-2 Russian earth weather satellite. Successor to the Meteor-1 weather satellite.

Bossart Belgian-American Chief Designer of the Atlas rocket. Conceived many innovative features - balloon propellant tanks, common fuel/oxidizer bulkheads, jettisonable booster engines, separable nose cone, and gimbaled engines.

Apollo (ASTP) First international joint manned space mission; first docking between two spacecraft launched from different countries. Crew nearly killed by toxic propellant vapors dumped into the cabin air supply during re-entry.

Gemini American manned spacecraft. Gemini was conceived as an 'upgraded Mercury' to test essential orbital maneuvering, rendezvous, docking, lifting re-entry, and space walking techniques in the four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. If fulfilled this mission, and numerous variants that never reached production would have serviced manned space stations and taken Americans around and to the moon - at lower cost and earlier than Apollo.

Korolev bureau Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines, Kaliningrad, Russia.

Pioneer 10-11 American outer planets probe. Pioneers 10 and 11 were the first spacecraft to fly by Jupiter (Pioneer 10 and 11) and Saturn (Pioneer 11 only).

Adam American manned spacecraft. Study 1957. In early 1958 Wernher von Braun proposed launching an American aboard an Army Redstone on a suborbital mission into space before the end of 1959 at a cost of under $12 million.

Soyuz TM-25 Mir Expedition EO-23. Mission was an endless series of collisions, breakdowns, fires, and other emergencies. The Soyuz landing rockets failed to fire on touchdown, giving one of the roughest landings experienced by a returning Mir crew.

Self-Deploying Space Station American manned space station. Study 1963. The first space station designs using the Saturn V launch vehicle involved spinning stations, providing artificial G for the crew.

RSA South African orbital launch vehicle. Israel and South Africa collaborated closely in rocket technology in the 1970's and 1980's. South Africa provided Israel with the uranium and test facilities it needed for its strategic weapons programs. In exchange Israel provided aerospace technology. This included the capability of building the ten-metric ton solid propellant rocket motors designed for the Israeli Jericho-2 missile. These motors were the basis of two space launchers for an indigenous 'R5b' space program. It seems that South Africa also planned to use these motors in a series of missiles to provide a nuclear deterrent.

Myasishchev bureau Russian manufacturer of aircraft, rockets and spacecraft. Myasishchev Design Bureau, Russia.

Soyuz 1 Space disaster that put back Soviet lunar program 18 months. Soyuz 1 was to dock with Soyuz 2 and transfer crew. Instead Soyuz 1 solar panel didn't deploy; manual reentry; tangled parachute lines; astronaut killed on impact with earth.

KE ASAT American military anti-satellite system. Study 1989. In 1989 the US Army began a demonstration/validation program to develop a direct ascent kinetic energy ASAT for US forces.

Soyuz 7K-TK Russian manned spacecraft. Cancelled 1966. To deliver crews to the Soyuz R 11F71 station Kozlov developed the transport spacecraft 11F72 Soyuz 7K-TK.

Super V-2 French intermediate range ballistic missile. Developed version of German A9 studied by the German team in France in 1946-1948. Cancelled as too ambitious, but led to the Veronique of the 1950's, the Diamant of the 1960's, and the Ariane space booster of 1979-2003.

Aerospaceplane American winged orbital launch vehicle. Development project from 1958-1963 for a horizontal takeoff / horizontal landing, single-stage-to-orbit vehicle that would carry three crew and additional payload from any airfield to orbit and back. Abandoned and replaced by AACB studies for less-ambitious alternatives.

Star bus American communications satellite bus. The Orbital Star bus was designed for reliable and robust performance in a variety of LEO and GEO missions.

Marpost Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 2000. In December 2000 Leonid Gorshkov of RKK Energia proposed a manned Mars orbital expedition as an alternative to Russian participation in the International Space Station.

R-2 Russian intermediate range ballistic missile. The Soviet R-2 ballistic missile was developed in 1947-1953, nearly in parallel with the R-1 from which it derived. It incorporated many detailed improvements, had double the range of the R-1 and V-2, and was equipped with a deadly radiological warhead. The ethyl alcohol used in the V-2 and R-1 was replaced by methyl alcohol in the R-2, eliminating the problem of the launch troops drinking up the rocket fuel. Versions of the R-2 for suborbital manned flight were studied by Korolev in 1956-1958, but it was decided instead to move directly to orbital flights of the Vostok. However some equipment tested on the R-2 found its way onto canine flights of Sputnik and Vostok. The R-2 design was transferred to China in 1957 to 1961, providing the technical basis of the Chinese rocket industry.

KK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1966. Work on the TMK project continued, including trajectory trade-off studies and refinement of the design.

Titan II American intercontinental ballistic missile. ICBM, developed also as the launch vehicle for the manned Gemini spacecraft in the early 1960's. When the ICBM's were retired in the 1980's they were refurbished and a new series of launches began.

Wallops Island Wallops Flight Facility. Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010.

Apollo A American manned space station. Study 1961. Apollo A was a lighter-weight July 1961 version of the Apollo spacecraft.

Space Station Fred American manned space station. Design as of 1991. Following the collapse of the Space Station Freedom project, NASA unveiled its new Space Station design in March 1991.

Bomi Bell manned skip-glide space bomber project of the early 1950's. Predecessor to Dynasoar.

MORL American manned space station. Study 1962. In June 1964 Boeing and Douglas received Phase I contracts for Manned Orbital Research Laboratory station designs. The recommended concept was a 13.

DS The DS ('Dnepropetrovsk Sputnik') small satellite bus was developed by Yangel's OKB-586 / KB Yuzhnoye in the Ukraine for launch by the same bureau's Kosmos launch vehicles. They were used for a wide range of military and scientific research; component proving tests; and as radar, ASAT, and ABM targets.

Orion Nuclear Pulse Vehicle Nuclear-pulse drive launch vehicle seriously developed by General Atomics in the United States from 1955-1965. The design allowed vast payloads of hundreds of tons to be hurled to the planets. By 1958 the Orion team saw themselves in direct competition with Von Braun's chemical rockets. They hoped to a land a huge manned expedition on Mars by 1964 and tour the moons of Saturn by 1970. However politically NASA would not argue for the exception to the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty necessary to allow firing of nuclear explosions in space.

Swift American gamma ray astronomy satellite. Swift was a first-of-its-kind multi-wavelength observatory dedicated to the study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) science.

Athena Mars Flyby American manned Mars flyby. Study 1996. In 1996 Robert Zubrin proposed a new version of a manned Mars flyby mission, dubbed Athena.

R-5 Yangel intermediate range ballistic missile. The R-5 was the first Soviet missile to be armed with a nuclear warhead, the first for which the new southern facility at Dnepropetrovsk took over full design and production responsibility. It was also the end of the road in being the ultimate extrapolation of German V-2 technology. Later missiles of both Yangel and Korolev would use other propellants and engine designs.

Elektro Russian earth weather satellite. Elektro was to be the geostationary component of a third generation Soviet meteorological system. Following extended development, it flew only once, in 1994.

Meteor-3 Russian earth weather satellite. Meteor-3 began in 1972 as an improved replacement for the Meteor-2 weather satellite.

LSAM American manned lunar lander. Lunar lander proposed by NASA in 2005 for their planned return to the moon by 2018.

Mariner 6-7 American Mars flyby probe. Mariner 6 and 7 comprised a dual-spacecraft mission to Mars.

Resurs F1-14F40 Russian earth land resources satellite. The Resurs-F earth resource satellite was based on the recoverable Zenit-4 spy satellite.

Roton The American Roton company developed this unique manned SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle until it was cancelled in 2000. The Roton was a piloted commercial space vehicle design intended to provide rapid and routine access to orbit for both its two-person crew and their cargo.

R-14 Ukrainian intermediate range ballistic missile. The R-14, with a range of 3600 km, was the only missile of that range class to be fielded. A key element in the Cuba missile crisis, it thereafter was part of the nuclear deterrent targeted at NATO and China. Built in relatively limited numbers by Soviet standards, it was perhaps more important as the basis for the first stage of the R-16 ICBM and the Kosmos-3 launch vehicle. The latter continued in use into the 21st Century.

XMM European x-ray astronomy satellite. ESA's X-ray Multi-Mirror space observatory was the biggest science satellite ever built in Europe. The spacecraft's X-ray optics covered a spectral range of 1-120 nanometers (12keV-0.1keV).

Apollo 11 First manned lunar landing. The end of the moon race and public support for large space programs. The many changes made after the Apollo 204 fire paid off; all went according to plan, virtually no problems.

Temp-2S Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. World's first operational mobile ICBM. Deployed in great secrecy in 1976-1987 contrary to the terms of the SALT-2 Treaty.

Russian Strategic Cruise Missiles As in America, in the 1946 assessments of German military technology, the technical problems of the intercontinental ballistic missile seemed far less than a high-speed cruise missile for the same mission. The Soviet Union developed several such missiles, counterparts to the American Navaho. As in America, it turned out that the ICBM was ready before the cruise missiles were - the navigation and propulsion issues of Mach 3 intercontinental flight were much more difficult than those for Mach 22 ballistic flight. As in America, the projects were cancelled, although they contributed greatly to the national technological base.

USA - Space Stations Wernher von Braun brought Noordung's rotating station design with him from Europe. This he popularized in the early 1950's in selling manned space flight to the American public. By the late 1950's von Braun's team favored the spent-stage concept - which eventually flew as Skylab. By the mid-1960's, NASA was concentrating on modular, purpose-built, zero-G stations. These eventually flew as the International Space Station.

Soyuz R Russian manned spacecraft. Cancelled 1966. A military reconnaissance version of Soyuz, developed by Kozlov at Samara from 1963-1966. It was to consist of an the 11F71 small orbital station and the 11F72 Soyuz 7K-TK manned ferry.

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