Encyclopedia Astronautica
X-34A



x349905.jpg
X-34
Credit: NASA
American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. The original X-34A was a three-stage vehicle consisting of the Orbital Sciences L-1011; which air-launched the X-34A reusable rocketplane; which space-launched the rocket-powered third stage; which would take a small payload to orbit. Only the third stage would be expendable.

The original, larger X-34A was powered by an RS-56-OSA Atlas sustainer engine. The 4500 kg third stage was powered by a subscale version of the Fastrac engine.

Payload: 400 kg (880 lb) to a LEO.

Stage Data - X-34A

  • Stage 1. 1 x X-34A-1. Gross Mass: 29,500 kg (65,000 lb). Empty Mass: 6,700 kg (14,700 lb). Thrust (vac): 386.300 kN (86,844 lbf). Isp: 316 sec. Burn time: 180 sec. Isp(sl): 220 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 10.37 m (34.02 ft). Length: 21.95 m (72.01 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RS-56-OSA. Status: Development 2000. Comments: Original design for two-stage reusable space launcher. Abandoned in favour of more modest X-34A technology demonstrator after industry refused to make significant investments in the concept.
  • Stage 2. 1 x X-34A-2. Gross Mass: 4,500 kg (9,900 lb). Empty Mass: 300 kg (660 lb). Thrust (vac): 44.100 kN (9,914 lbf). Isp: 348 sec. Burn time: 325 sec. Diameter: 2.00 m (6.50 ft). Span: 2.00 m (6.50 ft). Length: 4.00 m (13.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: FastTrack. Status: Development 2000.

AKA: X-34.
Status: Development ended 1996.
Gross mass: 26,500 kg (58,400 lb).
Payload: 400 kg (880 lb).
Height: 17.68 m (58.00 ft).
Span: 8.44 m (27.69 ft).
Thrust: 268.93 kN (60,458 lbf).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • Fastrac Huntsville Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 269 kN. Development ended 1996. Isp=310s. Used on X-34A launch vehicle. Intended to demonstrate lower cost in a reusable simple turbopump rocket engine. More...

See also
  • X-34 NASA failed to attract industry co-investment to develop the original X-34A air-launched, reusable, low-technology, low-cost orbital launch vehicle concept. So the project was scaled back and NASA contracted with Orbital Sciences on 28 August 1996 to build and fly the X-34 unmanned technology demonstrator. This program in turn developed overruns and was cancelled in 2001 before a test flight was made. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • OSC American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Orbital Sciences Corporation, USA. More...

Associated Stages
  • X-34A-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 4,500/300 kg. Thrust 44.10 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 348 seconds. More...
  • X-34A-1 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 29,500/6,700 kg. Thrust 386.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 316 seconds. Original design for two-stage reusable space launcher. Abandoned in favour of more modest X-34A technology demonstrator after industry refused to make significant investments in the concept. More...

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