Encyclopedia Astronautica
Nova 4L



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Nova NASA 4 F-1
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Nova NASA 4 F-1
Nova NASA 4 F-1 / Nerva
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Nova Concepts - NASA
Credit: © Mark Wade
American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Earliest NASA Nova design, using only 4 F-1's, capability less than later Saturn designs.

LEO Payload: 68,000 kg (149,000 lb) to a 160 km orbit. Payload: 24,000 kg (52,000 lb) to a translunar trajectory.

Stage Data - Nova 4L

  • Stage 1. 1 x Nova 59-4-1. Gross Mass: 2,177,000 kg (4,799,000 lb). Empty Mass: 136,000 kg (299,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 38,697.000 kN (8,699,431 lbf). Isp: 295 sec. Burn time: 150 sec. Isp(sl): 257 sec. Diameter: 15.50 m (50.80 ft). Span: 15.50 m (50.80 ft). Length: 23.20 m (76.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 5. Engine: F-1. Status: Study NASA 1959. Comments: Empty Mass Estimated.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Nova 59-4-2. Gross Mass: 590,000 kg (1,300,000 lb). Empty Mass: 45,000 kg (99,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 7,560.000 kN (1,699,550 lbf). Isp: 310 sec. Burn time: 215 sec. Isp(sl): 265 sec. Diameter: 5.20 m (17.00 ft). Span: 5.20 m (17.00 ft). Length: 16.20 m (53.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: F-1. Status: Study NASA 1959. Comments: Empty Mass Estimated.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Nova 59-4-3. Gross Mass: 168,000 kg (370,000 lb). Empty Mass: 18,000 kg (39,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,421.000 kN (319,453 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 426 sec. Isp(sl): 306 sec. Diameter: 5.20 m (17.00 ft). Span: 5.20 m (17.00 ft). Length: 14.00 m (45.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 4. Engine: LH2-80k. Status: Study NASA 1959. Comments: Empty Mass Estimated.
  • Stage 4. 1 x Nova 59-4-4. Gross Mass: 68,000 kg (149,000 lb). Empty Mass: 9,000 kg (19,800 lb). Thrust (vac): 353.000 kN (79,357 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 672 sec. Isp(sl): 306 sec. Diameter: 3.00 m (9.80 ft). Span: 3.00 m (9.80 ft). Length: 11.90 m (39.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: LH2-80k. Status: Study NASA 1959. Comments: Empty Mass Estimated.

Status: Study 1959.
Gross mass: 3,084,600 kg (6,800,300 lb).
Payload: 68,000 kg (149,000 lb).
Height: 78.00 m (255.00 ft).
Diameter: 15.50 m (50.80 ft).
Thrust: 33,712.00 kN (7,578,759 lbf).
Apogee: 160 km (90 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • F-1 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 7740.5 kN. Isp=304s. Largest liquid rocket engine ever developed and flown. Severe combustion stability problems were solved during development and it never failed in flight. First flight 1967. More...
  • LH2-80k Notional lox/lh2 rocket engine. 355.7 kN. Study 1959. Isp=425s. Used on Nova 4L launch vehicle. More...

See also
  • 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. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Associated Stages
  • Nova 59-4-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 590,000/45,000 kg. Thrust 7,560.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 310 seconds. Empty Mass Estimated More...
  • Nova 59-4-3 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 168,000/18,000 kg. Thrust 1,421.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Empty Mass Estimated More...
  • Nova 59-4-1 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,177,000/136,000 kg. Thrust 38,697.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 295 seconds. Empty Mass Estimated More...
  • Nova 59-4-4 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 68,000/9,000 kg. Thrust 353.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Empty Mass Estimated More...

Nova 4L Chronology


1961 January 9 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Nova 4L.
  • First meeting of the Manned Lunar Landing Task Group - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Silverstein. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; Apollo Lunar Landing; CSM Source Selection; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. At the first meeting of the Manned Lunar Landing Task Group, Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Director of the Office of Space Flight Programs Abe Silverstein, and Director of the Office of Advanced Research Programs Ira H. Abbott outlined the purpose of the Group to the members. After a discussion of the instructions, the Group considered first the objectives of the total NASA program:

    1. the exploration of the solar system for knowledge to benefit mankind; and
    2. the development of technology to permit exploitation of space flight for scientific, military, and commercial uses.
    NASA's lunar program was a logical step toward these objectives. In current lunar program planning, three steps were projected:

    1. a manned landing on the moon with return to earth,
    2. limited manned lunar exploration, and
    3. a scientific lunar base.
    To accomplish the first step, a great increase in launch vehicle capability would be needed beyond that provided by current funding. A comparison of a three-million-pound-thrust and a six-million-pound-thrust Nova launch vehicle was made. It was estimated that a 60,000- to 80,000-pound payload to escape velocity would be needed for a manned lunar landing mission.

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