Encyclopedia Astronautica
Nova NASA



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Nova LV
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Nova NASA 6 F-1
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Nova NASA 6 F-1
Nova NASA 6 F-1 Cutaway
Credit: © Mark Wade
American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The Nova vehicle most often illustrated in the popular press and histories. As in other early concepts, this NASA design of 1959/1960 used F-1 engine in both first and second stages. Resulting performance and total liftoff mass was equivalent to later Saturn V.

LEO Payload: 132,000 kg (291,000 lb) to a 160 km orbit. Payload: 45,000 kg (99,000 lb) to a translunar trajectory.

Stage Data - Nova NASA

  • Stage 1. 1 x Nova NASA-1. Gross Mass: 2,268,000 kg (5,000,000 lb). Empty Mass: 113,000 kg (249,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 45,914.000 kN (10,321,877 lbf). Isp: 296 sec. Burn time: 134 sec. Isp(sl): 257 sec. Diameter: 14.60 m (47.90 ft). Span: 14.60 m (47.90 ft). Length: 31.40 m (103.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 6. Engine: F-1. Status: Study NASA 1959/60.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Nova NASA-2. Gross Mass: 499,000 kg (1,100,000 lb). Empty Mass: 35,000 kg (77,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 7,640.000 kN (1,717,540 lbf). Isp: 304 sec. Burn time: 177 sec. Isp(sl): 265 sec. Diameter: 9.80 m (32.10 ft). Span: 9.80 m (32.10 ft). Length: 12.50 m (41.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: F-1. Status: Study NASA 1959/60.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Nova NASA-3. Gross Mass: 227,000 kg (500,000 lb). Empty Mass: 21,000 kg (46,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 2,667.000 kN (599,565 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 313 sec. Isp(sl): 150 sec. Diameter: 9.80 m (32.10 ft). Span: 9.80 m (32.10 ft). Length: 11.00 m (36.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 4. Engine: J-2. Status: Study NASA 1959/60.

Status: Study 1959.
Gross mass: 3,152,400 kg (6,949,800 lb).
Payload: 132,000 kg (291,000 lb).
Height: 66.00 m (216.00 ft).
Diameter: 14.60 m (47.90 ft).
Thrust: 39,865.10 kN (8,962,031 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...
  • J-2 Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1033.1 kN. Study 1961. Isp=421s. Used in Saturn IVB stage in Saturn IB and Saturn V, and Saturn II stage in Saturn V. Gas generator, pump-fed. First flight 1966. 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 NASA-3 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 227,000/21,000 kg. Thrust 2,667.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. More...
  • Nova NASA-1 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,268,000/113,000 kg. Thrust 45,914.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 296 seconds. More...
  • Nova NASA-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 499,000/35,000 kg. Thrust 7,640.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 304 seconds. More...

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