Encyclopedia Astronautica
Burner 2


Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 774/116 kg. Thrust 43.55 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 285 seconds. Burner II was a launch vehicle upper stage developed by Boeing for the Air Force Space Systems Division. It was the first solid-fuel upper stage with full control and guidance capability developed for general space applications.

Burner II was designed for use with the Thor booster, but was readily adapted for use on the complete range of standard launch vehicles. Its general assignment was to place small- and medium size payloads into orbit. The Burner II motor, guidance system and reaction control system were integrated to provide attitude stability and precise control of flight rate and burnout velocity for orbital injection and earth-escape missions. Boeing had delivered 8 flight vehicles under its original contract. Under terms of a follow-on contract, it built 6 additional flight models. Four Thor-Burner II combinations were launched successfully from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The third launch placed 2 unclassified satellites in Earth orbit. A SECOR satellite, built for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by the Cubic Corporation, and an Aurora satellite, developed by Rice University for the Office of Naval Research, were placed in circular orbits 3,300 km above the Earth. As integration contractor for the Air Force Space Experiment Support Program (SESP) Office, Boeing designed, built and tested the injection stage, or "payload dispenser," which carried the 2 satellites on top of a standard Burner II stage and placed them in precise orbits. The satellites were mounted on opposite sides of the injection stage, which housed a640 kgf thrust, solid-propellant rocket motor. The Burner II was used as an upper stage by NASA for deep space probes. Prime Contractor: The Boeing Company. Major Subcontractors Thiokol Chemical Corporation (solid rocket motor); Honeywell Inc. (pre-programmed inertial guidance system); Walter Kidde Co. (reaction control system).

Cost $ : 3.480 million.

Status: Study 1965.
Gross mass: 774 kg (1,706 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 116 kg (255 lb).
Height: 0.84 m (2.75 ft).
Diameter: 0.66 m (2.16 ft).
Span: 0.66 m (2.16 ft).
Thrust: 43.55 kN (9,791 lbf).
Specific impulse: 285 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 220 s.
Burn time: 42 s.
Number: 108 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • Star 37 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 43.5 kN. Total impulse 161,512 kgf-sec. Motor propellant mass fraction 0.899. Isp=260s. First flight 1963. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Titan 3BAS2 American orbital launch vehicle. Configuration of Titan 3B proposed by Martin in mid-1960's. Titan 3B for deep space missions with Centaur upper stage, Algol strapons for liftoff thrust augmentation. Never flown. More...
  • Atlas Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with further improved and lightened Agena upper stage. More...
  • Thor Burner 2 American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Star 37B More...
  • Delta J American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta E + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • Delta M6 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 6 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1C + 1 x Delta E + 1 x Star 37D More...
  • Delta 0900 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1C + 1 x DSV-3N-4 More...
  • Delta 1914 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37C More...
  • Delta 2914 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37E More...
  • Delta 3914 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 + 1 x Star 37E More...
  • N-2 (2) American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage version consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor N + 1 x AJ10-118FJ More...

Associated Propellants
  • Solid Solid propellants have the fuel and oxidiser embedded in a rubbery matrix. They were developed to a high degree of perfection in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. In Russia, development was slower, due to a lack of technical leadership in the area and rail handling problems. Solid propellants have the fuel and oxidiser embedded in a rubbery matrix. They were developed to a high degree of perfection in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. In Russia, development was slower, due to a lack of technical leadership in the area and rail handling problems. More...

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