Encyclopedia Astronautica

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.

Cost $ : 1.000 million.

Status: Development ended 1996.
Gross mass: 29,500 kg (65,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 6,700 kg (14,700 lb).
Height: 21.95 m (72.01 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Span: 10.37 m (34.02 ft).
Thrust: 386.30 kN (86,844 lbf).
Specific impulse: 316 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 220 s.
Burn time: 180 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • RS-56-OSA Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 386.4 kN. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=316s. Sustainer engine for Atlas II, IIA, IIAS. First flight 1991. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • X-34A 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. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

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