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Suborbital
Category of launch vehicles.



Subtopics

RP-318 Russian manned rocketplane. Korolev adapted his SK-9 glider in 1936 as the first rocked-powered aircraft in the Soviet Union.

Korolev Rocket Plane Russian manned rocketplane. Study 1938. Korolev was already sketching rocketplanes similar to the Me-163 before World War II. This was one concept from his sketchbook.

Von Braun Rocketplane German manned rocketplane. Study 1939. On 6 July 1939 Wernher von Braun proposed to the German Reich Air Ministry a "fighter with rocket drive".

BI-1 Russian manned rocketplane. Flown 1941. The Bereznyak-Isayev BI-1 was the first high speed rocket plane developed by the Soviet Union. Drawings were completed by spring 1941 but Stalin did not give the go-ahead for production until July 9, 1941.

XS-1 American manned rocketplane. Design begun 1943. Also known as the X-1. This rocket plane was the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, and the first in a line of X- aircraft leading to the space shuttle.

MX-324 Northrop manned rocketplane. Flown 1944. First U.S. military rocket-powered plane.

LL Russian manned rocketplane. Flown 1945. The LL was a transonic aerodynamic test bed authorized by LII in September 1945. Three were built: the LL-1 with a straight wing; LL-2 with a conventional swept wing; and LL-3 with a forward swept wing.

XP-79 Northrop manned rocket-propelled flying wing fighter. Abandoned when pilot was killed in first test flight with turbojet engines in 1945.

X-2 American manned rocketplane. Design began 1945. X-2 was an AAF/ Bell project that flew three supersonic flight research aircraft, powered by liquid rockets. Originally designated XS-2.

346 rocketplane Russian manned rocketplane. 4 flights from 1946. Post-war Soviet version of the German supersonic DFS 8-346 rocket reconnaissance aircraft. Abandoned in 1951 after the prototype crashed.

I-270 Russian manned rocketplane. Flown 1947. The MiG I-270 rocketplane began as a post-war copy of the German Ju-248 (Me-263) design. The resulting rocketplane had a more refined aerodynamic form than the Me-263 and lower gross 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.

XP-92 American manned delta-wing rocketplane. Never flown with rockets, but flew as a turbojet-powered research aircraft, 1948-1953.

Samolyot 5 Russian manned rocketplane. Cancelled 1949. Bisnovat was assigned the project to develop an all-Soviet equivalent to the 346 supersonic rocketplane being developed by the German Roessing team in OKB-2.

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.

D-558-2 American manned rocketplane. Flown from 1949. Research airplane Douglas D-558. Airplane had both jet and rocket engines and was flown from ground takeoff. The D-558-II Skyrocket exceeded the speed of sound at Edwards AFB, Calif.

X-1D American manned rocketplane. Study 1953. The X-1A, B, and D were essentially identical rocketplanes intended to reach speeds above Mach 2.

X-1A American manned rocketplane. Study 1951. The X-1A, B, and D were essentially identical rocketplanes intended to reach speeds above Mach 2.

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.

X-1B American manned rocketplane. Flown 1952. The X-1A, B, and D were essentially identical rocketplanes intended to reach speeds above Mach 2.

D-558-3 American manned rocketplane. Flown 1954. The D-558-3 was a US Navy/Douglas counterpart to the X-15, which would have kept the Navy in the 'space race' and Douglas in the running for future manned spaceplanes.

FJ-4F American manned rocketplane. The FJ-4F was a US Navy Fury fighter fitted with a Rocketdyne AR1 engine for quick intercept of Soviet bombers. Two prototypes were tested which reached Mach 1.41 at 22 km altitude.

X-1E American manned rocketplane. Study 1954. The X-1E was designed to test an ultra-thin 4% thickness to cord wing for supersonic flight.

Suborbital Cabin Russian manned spacecraft. In 1956 Korolev laid out an outline plan 'Fast Solutions for the Conquest of Space'. Phase I and II of the plan involved experimental manned sub-orbital flights aboard an R-5A single-stage IRBM.

Ames Mach 10 Demonstrator American manned spaceplane. Ames proposed in 1957 to air-launch a high-wing designed hypersonic glider from a B-36 bomber. Early versions would use an XLR-99-powered booster stage and be capable of reaching Mach 6.

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.

ARTV American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. 3 launches, 1958.04.24 (ARTV 1) to 1958.07.23 (ARTV 3). Suborbital advanced reentry test vehicle.

Buran M-44 Russian manned ramjet-powered research aircraft. Study 1958. Air-launched derivative of the Buran Mach 3 high altitude cruise missile system, proposed for use as an unmanned high speed research vehicle.

Adam American manned spacecraft. 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.

NF-104 American manned rocketplane. Study 1959. The NF-104 aerospace trainer was a modified F-104A fighter, incorporating an LR-121 liquid fuel rocket engine in addition to the conventional J-79 turbojet engine.

HARP 5-1 Canadian earth atmosphere probe. Launched from 1960. The HARP 5-1 gun probe was a dart-shaped, sub-caliber vehicle with a major diameter of 66 mm, a length of 116 cm and a flight weight of 10.4 kg.

HARP 5-3 Canadian earth atmosphere satellite. Study 1960. The HARP 5-3 probe was developed during HARP to reduce the complexity of the 5 inch vehicles and in particular the nose eject system used by the HARP 5-1 probe.

HARP 7-1 Canadian earth atmosphere suborbital probe. Flights from 1961. The original HARP 7-1 gun probe was fundamentally a scaled up version of the 5-1 gun probe and was used for similar payloads.

HARP 7-2 Canadian earth atmosphere probe. Study 1961. The Harp 7-2 vehicle was an optimized version of the 7-1 vehicle. The 7-2 had a body diameter of 76 mm a length of 1410 mm a flight weight of 18.2 kg and a payload volume of 2048 cc.

Program 661A American ion engine technology satellite. Study 1961. In November of 1961, Electro-Optical Systems was awarded a contract by the U. S. Air Force to develop a 8.9 mN, cesium-contact ionization IPS for three sub-orbital flight tests.

Highwater American earth atmosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1962.04.25 (Highwater 1) and 1962.11.16 (Highwater 2). Release of large quantities of chemicals at high altitudes during suborbital tests of Saturn I.

Beanstalk American technology satellite. One launch, 1962.05.31. Suborbital.

M2-F2 American manned spaceplane. Study 1966. The least stable of the lifting body designs. The 'flying bathtub' had a rounded belly / flat top layout as opposed to the flat belly / rounded top of the other designs.

Asset American manned spaceplane. 6 launches, 1963.09.18 (ASSET 1) to 1965.02.23 (ASSET 6). One part of the Dynasoar manned spaceplane project was ASSET ( 'Aerothermodynamic Elastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests') .

FIRE American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. 2 launches, 1964.04.14 (FIRE 1) and 1965.05.22 (FIRE 2). Suborbital re-entry test program that used a subscale model of the Apollo Command Module to verify the configuration at high reentry speed. Reentry Technology satellite built by Republic Aviation Corporation for NASA.

X-15A-2 American manned spaceplane. The crash-damaged X-15 number 2 was rebuilt to attain even higher speeds. The body frame was stretched, and two drop tanks were added, increasing propellant load by 75%. Reached Mach 6.7 and 108 km altitude.

M2-F3 American manned spaceplane. 43 launches, 1966.07.12 to 1971.12.21 . The crashed M2-F2 was rebuilt as the M2-F3 with enlarged vertical stabilizers. Maximum speed achieved was Mach 1.6, top altitude 21,800 m.

Prime American manned spaceplane. 3 launches, 1966.12.21 (Prime 1) to 1967.04.19 (Prime 3). The Prime (Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry) project was the second part of the USAF START program. Lifting Body Reentry Testsatellite built by Martin Marietta for USAF.

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.

Boost Glide Re-entry Vehicle American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. The Boost Glide Re-entry Vehicle investigated related technological problems, particularly hypersonic maneuvering after re-entry into the atmosphere.

X-15A-3 American manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1962. It had been proposed that X-15 number 3 would be reworked to install a delta wing and designed to reach Mach 8.

X-24A American manned spaceplane. 28 launches, 1969.04.17 to 1971.06.04 . The X-24A was the Martin Corporation's subsonic test version of the US Air Force's preferred manned lifting body configuration.

Altitude Sounder Russian earth atmosphere satellite. Study 1969. Used the KAUR-1 bus, which consisted of a 2.035 m diameter cylindrical spacecraft body, with solar cells and radiators of the thermostatic temperature regulating system mounted on the exterior.

PAET American military technology satellite. One launch, 1971.06.20. Suborbital.

Mini-shuttle American manned rocketplane. Study 1972. In August 1972 it was proposed to test a subscale version of the shuttle to test the aerodynamics. The 13,750 kg vehicle would be 11 m long and have a wingspan of 7 m.

X-24B American manned spaceplane. 36 launches, 1973.08.01 to 1975.11.26 .

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

X-24C American manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1977. Two X-24C NHFRF (National Hypersonic Flight Research Facility) aircraft were to be built under a $ 200 million budget.

Buran Analogue Russian manned spaceplane. This Buran OK-GLI 'Analogue' was a version of the Buran spaceplane equipped with jet engines to allow it to be flown in handling and landing system tests at subsonic speed in the earth's atmosphere.

SPIKE American military anti-satellite system. Study 1975. Project SPIKE was a 1970's suborbital conventional warhead ASAT air-launched from an F-106 interceptor. Considerable work was done from the early 1970s under the Missile and Space Defense Program.

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.

BOR-5 Russian spaceplane. The aerodynamic characteristics of Buran at hypersonic speeds were validated by the BOR-5 1:8 sub-scale model of Buran.

HGV American spaceplane. Study 1992. The Hypersonic Glide Vehicle was a USAF project discussed openly in 1987 to 1988, which may have flown as a black project in 1992-1993.

Starchaser 5 British manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Starchaser Industries, Cheshire, England. The concept used a rocket powered vertical takeoff followed by a parachute descent to land.

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.

X-43 American spaceplane. Study 1997. NASA's X-43 Hyper-X program demonstrated an integrated hypersonic scramjet engine briefly at Mach 10 on its third and final flight.

LB-X American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Kelly Space & Technology, San Bernardino, California.

ARD French re-entry vehicle technology satellite. The ARD was an 80 percent scale model of the Apollo Command Module, and a technology test for a possible International Space Station Crew Rescue Vehicle. Reentry test satellite built by Aerospatiale for ESA, Europe. Launched 1998.

Alflex Japanese spaceplane. Study 2000. Unmanned glider to test technology for Japanese HOPE spaceplane. Wing area 9.45 square meters.

Alpex Japanese spaceplane. Study 2000. Kawasaki unmanned glider to test technologies for HOPE spaceplane. Wing area 7.57 square meters.

X-37 American unmanned spaceplane. The Boeing X-37 Space Maneuver Vehicle began as a subscale version of a proposed USAF manned 21st Century spaceplane. The smaller-scale X-40 tested some technologies prior to completion of the X-37A. The X-37B was the reusable space vehicle. Reusable satellite satellite built by Boeing for NASA, USAF, USA. Launched 2010 - 2015.

Gauchito Argentinian manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Pablo De Leon of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

Wild Fire Canadian manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital balloon-launched ballistic spacecraft concept of the Da Vinci Project, led by Brian Feeney of Toronto, Canada. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

Orizont Romanian manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

X-40 American unmanned spaceplane. Boeing X-40A Experimental Space Maneuver Vehicle was built to test landing technologies for the later X-37.

Canadian Arrow Canadian manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Geoff Sheerin, Toronto. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

Black Armadillo American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Armadillo Aerospace, Mesquite, Texas. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

Cosmopolis 21 Russian manned spaceplane. Mock-up unveiled in 2002. On 15 March 2002 Space Adventures unveiled the mock-up of their C-21 (Cosmopolis 21) spaceplane at Zhukovskiy Air Base, Moscow.

Mayflower American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital seaplane-spacecraft of Advent Launch Services of Houston, Texas. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

Eagle X-Prize American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Vanguard Spacecraft of Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Crusader X American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Micro-Space, Inc of Denver, Colorado.

Aurora X-Prize American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Fundamental Technology Systems, Orlando, Florida.

Cosmos Mariner American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Lone Star Space Access, Houston, Texas.

Kitten American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital rocketplane concept of Kittyhawk of Oroville, Washington.

Lucky Seven American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Acceleration Engineering, Bath, Michigan.

Liberator American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of HARC, Huntsville, Alabama.

Michelle-B American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of TGV Rockets, Bethesda, Maryland. As of 2005, flight testing of the Michelle-B was expected to begin no earlier than 2007.

Negev 5 Israeli manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital balloon-launched ballistic spacecraft concept of IL Aerospace Technologies (ILAT), Israel.

Pioneer XP American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Pioneer Rocketplane, Solvang, California. No backing forthcoming.

Rubicon American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of STC.

SabreRocket American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Panaero, Fairfax, Virginia. It envisioned conversion of a Sabre-40 business jet to rocket power.

Solaris X American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Interorbital Systems of Mojave, California.

The Space Tourist American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital flying saucer concept of Discraft Corporation of Portland, Oregon.

The Green Arrow British manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Flight Exploration of London, England.

The Spirit of Liberty American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of American Astronautics Corporation, Oceanside, California.

New Shepard American manned spacecraft. Flight tests begun 2006. Vertical takeoff/vertical landing suborbital tourist spacecraft being developed by Blue Origin and scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2010.

Shenlong Chinese spaceplane. Chinese spaceplane photographed under the belly of an H-6 medium bomber in 2007. Probably a subscale drop test model of a potential space combat system.

Ares spaceplane French spaceplane. Study 1998. Small 7-meter long delta wing spaceplane, proposed by Aerospatiale, weighing 2,000 kg. Launched 2009.10.28,

Tier Two American manned spaceplane. Development of the much larger SpaceShipTwo suborbital commercial manned spacecraft was announced in July 2005.

Stabilo Romanian manned spacecraft. Study 2013. Stabilo was a suborbital manned system developed by ARCA.

Rocketplane XP American manned spaceplane. Study 2015. The Rocketplane XP Vehicle was a proposed suborbital manned spaceplane with accommodations for four crew.

Xerus American manned spaceplane. Study 2016. Suborbital vehicle that XCOR planned to design and build on a commercial basis. Rocket powered, it would take off from a runway, and be capable of high altitude, high speed flight.

Altairis American manned spacecraft. Study 2006. Rocket utilizing liquid oxygen / kerosene propulsion, launched vertically and with the planned capability of sending seven tourists on a suborbital space trip.

Hyflex Japanese spaceplane. Unmanned testbed for Japanese HOPE spaceplane.

Nose-Cone-Test American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. Suborbital.

Tsien Spaceplane 1949 American winged rocketplane. In 1949 Tsien Hsue-shen, the leading expert in high-speed aerodynamics working in America, applied the knowledge learned from German rocket developments to the design of a practical intercontinental rocket transport.

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.

Stages: X-34.

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