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Space FAQ 13/13 - Orbital and Planetary Launch Services

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Archive-name: space/launchers
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:27 $

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

Last update: October 31, 1995

The Orbital and Planetary Launch Services FAQ is intended to provide
basic performance data and background information for all existing or
near future space launch vehicles.  The document was compiled and is
maintained by Josh Hopkins (  While other documents
provide much more detailed information (see the reference list), I have
been able to find no public document which covers as many launch
vehicles or is updated as frequently.  Therefore I hope this reference
fills a useful niche.  This FAQ entry may be copied and distributed, but may
not be modified without the author's permission.  Requests to modify
this FAQ, questions, feedback, data, good jokes, or offers of employment
are welcome and should be directed to the author at the e-mail address above.

All data in this document were collected from public sources.
The following references were significant, and are recommended for further

"International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems" by Steven J.
   Isakowitz, 1991 edition.  Published by AIAA.
   (Note that a new edition is in press)

"Transportation Systems Data Book"  NASA Marshall SFC.	Revision A 1995.

"Small Launchers in the Future, a Global Overview of Their Features and
    Prospects."  W.G. Nauman, ESA, presented at the 1994 IAF conference.

"1991-1992 Europe and Asia in Space," compiled by Nicholas Johnson and
   David Rodvold for USAF Phillips Lab.

User's guides and other documentation provided by the manufacturers were
also utilized frequently.

As an additional source of information, NASA maintains a web page at which includes some information
about expendable launch vehicles used by NASA.	While the site doesn't
contain much technical information, it does have pictures of American
launch vehicles, and can provide a good introduction for readers
unfamiliar with rockets.

Readers interested in planetary launch capabilities may wish to read

"Capabilities, Costs, and Constraints of Space Transportation for Planetary
Missions," by Karen Poniatowski and Michael Osmolovsky of NASA HQ's Launch
Vehicle Office.

This paper, along with papers on planetary capabilities of the Delta,
Titan II and M-V were presented at the 1994 IAA International Conference
on Low-Cost Planetary Missions, and are archived in Acta Astronautica,
Vol 35, 1995.


*   Vehicle types which had not yet flown as of the latest update are
    marked with asterisks.

*   Unless otherwise specified LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and polar orbit payload
    data are for a 100 nm orbit.  LEO performance is generally given for the
    lowest inclination achievable from the vehicle's main launch site.
    In some cases, sources provide performance data for non-standard orbits
    without explicitly saying so.  This can introduce some errors into the
    data for less common vehicles.

*   GTO stands for Geostationary Transfer Orbit, and should not be confused
    with GEO, Geostationary Earth Orbit.  The impulse from GTO to GEO is
    generally performed by the satellite or an attached apogee kick motor,
    so launch vehicles specify only GTO capability.

*   Price and performance data may vary.  Launch prices depend on the
    spacecraft, currency exchange rates, and market fluctuation.  Payload
    depends on fairing and adapter selection.  This data should be accurate
    enough to make comparisons and conduct preliminary analysis.  Potential
    users requiring precise data should contact the manufacturers.

*   Reliability data is current to at least December 1994 for almost all
    vehicle families.  However, it is difficult to find comprehensive data
    for some Russian or Chinese systems since they were often secret, and
    data on the more obscure foreign launch systems doesn't get published
    very frequently.  When data is available, sources sometimes disagree.
    Therefore, reliability data for a few launchers may be out of date or


Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO	   Polar    GTO   |		  |

Ariane				       Ariane 4: 39/42	92.8%
  AR40		4900	   3900     1900		     $65m
	      (10,800)	  (8580)   (4190)
  AR42P		6100	   4800     2600		     $67m
	      (13,400)	 (10,600)  (5730)
  AR44P		7725	   5500     3000		     $70m
	      (17,000)	 (12,100)  (6610)
  AR42L		7400	   5900     3200		     $90m
	      (16,300)	 (13,000)  (7050)
  AR44LP	8300	   6600     3700		     $95m
	      (18,300)	 (14,500)  (8160)
  AR44L		9600	   7700     4200		     $115m
	      (21,100)	 (16,900)  (9260)

* AR5	       18,000	   ???	    6920    0/0		     $105m
	      (39,600)		  (15,224)

The Ariane 4 series holds the largest market share in the international
commercial launch market.  Development is funded by the European Space
Agency and lead by CNES, the French space agency.  Operations are conducted
by Arianespace.  The vehicles launch from French Guiana in South America.
The Ariane 5, an all new design, is scheduled for first launch in April of
1996.  The Ariane 4 will be phased out by late 1998.  Ariane 5 was
designed to launch multiple large communications satellites for a lower
cost than previous versions.  However, satellites have continued to grow
since the program was started almost ten years ago.  There is speculation
that Ariane 5 will eventually be too small to launch two satellites, but
too large to launch just one.  Therefore, ESA has approved a roughly
$1-2 billion "Ariane 5 Evolution" project to increase GTO payload to about
7.4 tons in small increments after the year 2000.

Atlas				       32/37  86.5% in last 10 years
  Atlas I	5580	   4670     2250		      $70m
	      (12,300)	 (10,300)  (4950)

  Atlas II	6395	   5400     2680		      $75m
	      (14,100)	 (11,900)  (5900)

  Atlas IIA	6760	   5715     2810		      $85m
	      (14,900)	 (12,600)  (6200)

  Atlas IIAS	8390	   6805     3490		      $115m
	      (18,500)	(15,000)   (7700)

Atlas is the largest commerical launch vehicle in the US and is used
frequently for commercial and military launches.  Starting in the summer
of 1995, Atlas is being marketed jointly with the Russian Proton vehicle by
International Launch Services, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and
Russian aerospace companies.  This offers more flexibility for customers.

Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO	   Polar    GTO   |		  |

Conestoga				    0/1
* Conestoga 1229   665	    500     --			      $15.5m
		 (1460)    (110)

* Conestoga 1679  1500	    1250    ???			      ??
		 (3300)    (2750)

  Conestoga 1620  1980	   ???	    960     0/1		      $18m
		 (4355)		   (2115)

Conestoga has been a very star-crossed project.  The vehicle was first
proposed by Deke Slayton's Space Services Inc, which was founded back in
1979 and eventually purchased by EER Systems Corporation.  Conestoga got
its big break when it was picked for the COMET (now METEOR) program, to
launch three of the recoverable capsules.  Unfortunately, the program
dragged on, over budget and behind schedule, and was even cancelled for a
while.	Recently, a new arrangement was worked out to launch the METEOR
capsule once, in the hope that this would attract commercial customers.
The first Conestoga launch was attempted in August, but delayed by faulty
pressurization in the thrust vector control system.  A second attempt
in October ended in the destruction of the vehicle.  Unlike the LLV,
Conestoga does not have a significant order backlog, so its future is
Conestoga is assembled from Castor IV solid rocket motors and has been
offered in a variety of different configurations.  In addition to those
listed above, the Conestoga 3632 and 5672 have been offered for larger

Delta					48/49  98% in last 10 years
* Delta Lite	1985	   1510     660			     ~$25m
   w/o SSRM    (4365)	  (3320)   (1450)

* Delta Lite	2610	   2030     860			     ~$25m
   w/ SSRM     (5740)	  (4465)   (1890)

* Delta 7326	2865	   2095     950			      ???
	       (6300)	  (4610)   (2090)

  Delta 7925	5,045	   3,830    1,820		      $50m
	      (11,100)	 (8,420)   (4,000)

* Delta III	  ?	      ?     3,800		      ???

The Delta launch vehicle family is built and marketed by McDonnell Douglas.
The Delta II (6925 and 7925 configurations) has proved reliable, but is
too small for most geosynchronous satellites.  Therefore, McDonnell Douglas
is developing the Delta III, with a much larger payload.  Hughes has
purchased 10 launches for its satellites.  New Delta versions were also
designed for NASA's Med-Lite contract, which sought launch vehicles between
the size of small launchers like Pegasus, and the Delta II, which was the
smallest of the large launchers.  The smaller Delta versions will be used
for future Mars missions, among other things.  First launches for each
of the new vehicles are planned for 1998.

Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO	   Polar    GTO   |		  |

H series				    12/12 100%
  H-2	       10,500	 6600	   4000    3/3		     $160m
	      (23,000) (14,500)   (8800)

The H-2 is the first Japanese launch vehicle to be entirely developed
domestically.  Previous N series and H-1 vehicles used Delta components.
The H-2 is designed to carry heavy payloads to orbit and has worked well
so far.  However, it is unlikely to be commercially attractive in the near
future, due to high costs and low flight rates.  NASDA hopes to cut
costs by as much as 50% by the turn of the century, in part by simplifying
the design and including some foreign components.  The H-2 is the
cornerstone of NASDA's plans for increasing activities in space, including
eventual human missions.

J series				    0/0		      $43m
* J-1	       900	 ???	    ???

The J-1 is a small booster developed jointly by NASDA, Japan's space
applications agency, and ISAS, the science agency.  It combines solid
boosters from the H-2 and M-3S-II vehicles.  First launch is scheduled for
February of 1996.  Like other Japanese vehicles, the J-1 is for government
use, and is not expected to be commercialized in the near future.

Kosmos					   371/377 98.4%
  Kosmos      [400 km circular orbit]				$???
	      51 degrees - 1400 kg
	      83 degrees - 1105 kg

Kosmos (also spelled Cosmos) is a Russian vehicle comparable in size to
the American Taurus.  (That is, the OSC Taurus, not the Ford Taurus).
Following back to back failures of the Pegasus XL, LLV, and Conestoga in
the summer and fall of 1995,  Kosmos attracted attention in the United
States as an alternative launcher with a more reliable history.   Several
companies have worked out joint agreements with the manufacturer, Polyot.
Assured Space Access appears to be the current favorite, although other
companies have also been involved.  Final Analysis Inc. has reserved a
number of launches for its own use and is marketing extra payload space
on those launches.
Space News says Kosmos has launched roughly 730 times, in contrast to the
numbers above, from Isakowitz.	The 1991-1992 edition of Europe and Asia in
Space says Ksomos had reached orbit 389 times.	I assume the Space News
figure is a typo, unless anyone has other information.

Lockheed Launch Vehicle			     0/1
  LLV-1		 795	   515	    ---			      $16m
	       (1,755)	  (1140)

* LLV-2		1,985	   1490      593		      $22m
	       (4,835)	  (3,145)  (1305)

* LLV-3		3,655	  2,855     1,136		      TBD
	       (8,060)	 (6,295)   (2,500)

The first flight of the LLV-1 failed during the summer of 1995 when the
vehicle began pitching out of control.	The cause of the accident was still
under investigation at this writing.  Fortunately, the vehicle has a
good order book for such a new vehicle, including NASA's Lewis and Clark
satellites, and the Lunar Prospector mission.  Therefore the LLV should
be able to overcome this initial setback.  The LLV-3 version has four
variants, with 2 to 6 Castor IVA small solid rocket boosters.  Space News
reports that Lockheed Martin will change the name of the booster to "Astria."

Long March
* CZ-1D		  720	   ???	     200     0/0	      $10m
	       (1,590)		    (440)

  CZ-2C		2800	 1750	   1000     14/14	      $20m
	       (7040)	(3860)	  (2200)

  CZ-2E		9200	  ???	   3370     3/5		      $40m
	      (20,300)		  (7430)

  CZ-3		5050	  ???	   1500     7/9		      $33m
	      (11,150)		  (3300)

  CZ-3A		???	   ???	   2500     1/1		      $???m

* CZ-3B		???	   ???	   4800     0/0		      $???m

  CZ-4		4000	   2500    1100     2/2		      $???m
	       (8800)	  (5500)  (2430)

The Long March family includes a variety of different vehicles from the
small CZ-1D to the CZ-2E heavy GEO launcher.  They are used both for
national programs and for international commercial launches.  While Long
March vehicles are restricted from undercutting western prices by more than
15%, they have been attractive to many satellite owners in Asia.  The
CZ-2E has suffered two poorly explained failures while carrying Hughes
HS-601 spacecraft.  Several CZ-2C/SD vehicles will be used to launch
Iridium spacecraft starting in 1998.  First launch for the 1D and 3B
variants is scheduled for 1996.  There have also been reports of a new
"CZ-3C" variant with strap-on boosters.  In addition, China has operated
the CZ-2D, which is slightly larger than the 2C version.  However,
data on these vehicles are not available.

Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO	   Polar    GTO   |		  |

M Series
* M-V		1950	  1300	    1215     0/0	      $70m
	       (4300)	 (2860)    (2680)

The M-V is an all-solid, small launch vehicle under development for ISAS,
Japan's space science agency.  The vehicle will fly approximately once
per year, carrying payloads such as the upcoming Lunar A and Planet B
missions to the Moon and Mars.	First launch is planned for 1996.
ISAS has also studied, but rejected, air launched versions of M-V.

Pegasus/Taurus				     7/9   77%
  Pegasus XL	  455	   365	     125     0/2	     $13.5m
	       (1,000)	  (800)     (275)

  Taurus	1,450	 1,180	     375     1/1	     $15m
	       (3,200)	(2,600)     (830)

Pegasus was the first new American vehicle in more than a decade, and
deserves some credit for restarting the interest in small satellites.
Pegasus is a small, all solid rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corporation.
The winged rocket is launched from beneath the company's L1011 aircraft.
The original Pegasus configuration is being phased out, in favor of the
Pegasus XL (Extended Length).  The first two Pegasus XL flights were
failures, but OSC hopes to have the rocket flying again soon.

Taurus was developed to meet military requirements for rapid launch of
small spacecraft.  It consists of Pegasus stages mounted atop a Castor 120
first stage.  Taurus will be used in conjuction with Delta-Lite for small
missions under the Med-Lite contract.

Proton				       96/103  93.2%  in last 10 years
  Proton       20,000	   ???	   5,500		     $65m
	      (44,100)		 (12,200)

Proton is the heavy lift workhorse of the former Soviet launch stable.
It is being marketed in the west by International Launch Services, a joint
venture between Krunichev and Lockheed Martin.	ILS also offers the Atlas.
Russia is currently limited to offering prices within 7.5% of western
prices and the number of GEO launches is limited to 8 before the year 2000.
However, there is speculation that these restrictions may be abandoned
as Russian launches become more commercialized.  ILS has twelve western
contracts for Proton launches, starting in 1996 with an Astra satellite for
Societe Europeenne de Satellites of Luxembourg.  Proton is also scheduled to
play an important role in launching space station components.  Krunichev
plans to offer new upper stages for Proton, including the storable
propellant Breeze-M upper stage in 1998 and the OHSM cryogenic stage a
few years later.  Proton will put 3.2 tons in GEO with Breeze-M and
4.5 tons with OHSM.  Current GEO capability is about 2.6 tons with the
Block D upper stage.  In addition to these technical changes, ILS is
considering conducting Proton launches from Cape Canaveral, or sites
in Australia or Brazil.  Launching closer to the equator would increase

Shavit					     3/3   100%
  Shavit	 ???	    160     ???      3/3	    $22m

Shavit is Israel's first, and so far only, launch vehicle.  It is
believed to be derived from the Jericho II ballistic missile.  Israel
Aircraft Industries is developing a more advanced version with an
added stage, which would be called "Next."  The payload of the new vehicle
would be slightly higher than Pegasus, and a cost of $15 million has
been suggested.   Commercialization is desired because Israeli missions
number less than one a year and have limited government support.  In order
to avoid dropping spent stages on Arab neighbors, Israel launches west
over the Mediterranean, decreasing the vehicle's performance significantly.

Space Shuttle				     69/70  98.6%
  Shuttle/RSRM 23,500	   ???	   5,900     69/70	 [I'm not going
	      (51,800)		 (13,000)		 to touch the
							 price issue]

More has been written, and read, about the space shuttle than any other
launch vehicle.  Therefore, there is little that can usefully be written

Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO	   Polar    GTO   |		  |

SLV					     5/10   50%
(India)		(400km)  [900km polar]
  ASLV		  150	    ???      ???     2/4	   $???m

  PSLV		3,000	  1,000      450     1/2	   $???m
	       (6,600)	 (2,200)    (990)

* GSLV		8,000	   ???	   2,500     0/0	   $???m
	      (17,600)		  (5,500)

India's first (albeit unsuccessful) orbital launch was in 1979, with the
Satellite Launch Vehicle capable of carrying 40 kg to orbit.  Despite a
very small budget and technical difficulties (early launches occured only
once every few years and had a 33% success rate), India has continued to
build a strong space program.  The Advanced Satellite Launch Vechicle was
used to orbit small Rohini experimental satellites.  The Polar Satellite
Launch vehicle is being used to orbit indigenously built IRS remote
sensing satellites.  The Geosynchronous SLV is projected to come online
around the turn of the century, to launch India's communications satellites.
GSLV development was delayed when the US tried to prevent the sale of
Russian cryogenic engine technology to India.

(Russia)		 [650km]
  Vostok	4,730	  1,840     ???      ?/149	    $??m
	      (10,400)	 (4,060)

  Soyuz		7,000	   ???	    ???     1023/1098	    $??m

  Molniya	1500kg (3300 lbs) in	     ?/258	    $???M
		Highly eliptical orbit

The Soyuz/Vostok series is the same family of vehicles which launched
Sputnik and Gagarin.  1500 launches later, the Soyuz vehicle is still
used to carry cosmonauts to the Mir space station and launches most
medium-sized Russian satellites.  The Russian Space Agency plans to
replace the current model Soyuz with a vehicle called "Rus" in 1997.
The payload will be increased by a few hundred kilograms to allow Russia
to launch Soyuz TM capsules to Mir from Plesetsk, rather than being
dependent on the launch facilities in Kazakhstan.

Start					    1/2
  Start-1				    0/1
	       ???	600	  ???			  $7m  ?

The Start program began with the START vehicle derived form the Soviet SS-20.
In order to avoid conflict over arms control agreements, the project
switched to the Start-1 vehicle, which is derived from Russian SS-25 ICBM.
One mission, carrying small satellites from Israel and Mexico, failed.
Start seems to have enough momentum to overcom this.  The fact that
the rockets can be launched from a mobile transporter makes them attractive
to a number of countries which do not have their own launch facilities.

Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO	   Polar    GTO   |		  |

Titan					   26/30   86.7% in last 10 years
  Titan II	 ???	  1,905     ???      5/5	    $43m

  Titan IV/SRM 17,700	 14,100    6,350     10/11	     $315m-$360m
	      (39,000)	(31,100) (14,000)

  Titan IV/SRMU 21,640	  18,600    8,620    0/0	    $300m
	      (47,700)	(41,000) (19,000)

Titan II vehicles are left over ballistic missiles which have been
refurbished for space launch.  They are used for polar orbiting Earth
observation systems. It was a Titan II that launched Clementine.  Titan IV
is used mainly for large military payloads, including Milstar communications
spacecraft and classified intelligence platforms.  A Titan IV is also
booked to launch NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn.  Note that because
all Titan IV launches are government missions, and most are classified,
prices are subject to debate.  The SRMU is an advanced solid rocket
booster, which should come online in 1996.

Zenit					     22/25  88%
  Zenit        13,740	 11,380    4300			 $65m
	      (30,300)	(25,090)  (9480)

Zenit is the newest of the large former Soviet vehicles, having come online
in 1985.  It suffered three consecutive failures between 1990 and 1992,
but appears to have overcome those growing pains.  Zenits are manufactured
in Ukraine by NPO Yuznoye.  Boeing recently announced a joint venture
with NPO Yuznoye and the Norwegian marine engineering company Kvaerner
to launch Zenits from a modified oil platform starting around 1998.
Due to the lower launch site latitude and a new upper stage from RSC Energia,
performance will increase.  Payload to GTO will increase to about 5400 kg.
Payload to LEO will be about 13,000 kg.  Price is unknown at this time.
Check out Boeing's web page at for more

A large number of new vehicles are on the drawing boards of aerospace
companies around the world.  The following entries describe some of the more
serious ventures.  Plus signs mark those vehicles which seem most likely to
make it off the launch pad.  In some cases, recently defunct ventures are
listed for information purposes.  These are marked with an X.  Information
on other launch vehicle programs or further details on those listed below
is welcome.

X  AMROC/Aquila (United States)
	A company called American Rocket, or AMROC has been working on
   developing hybrid rocket motors for launch vehicles for over ten years,
   and at one time looked like it might be the first small launcher on the
   market.  The most recent configurations went by the name Aquila.
   Unfortunately, AMROC went bankrupt in the summer of 1995.

+  Angara (Russia)
	Russia plans to develop an all new heavy launch vehicle, perhaps to
   replace the Zenit, which is manufactured in the Ukraine.  The Russians
   emphasize that Angara will use only environmentally clean propellants,
   unlike the Proton, which uses nitrogen tetroxide and UDMH.  The vehicle
   is planned to come online around 2001 or so, and carry 26 tons to LEO
   and 4.5 tons to GEO.  That would make it slightly larger than Proton.
   Krunichev, the manufacturer, has suggested that the first stage might
   eventually be made reusable.  The first stage engine will be an RD-174,
   which is derived from the RD-170 Zenit engine.  The second stage engine
   will be derived from the Proton upper stage.

   Aussroc (Australia)
       Aussroc is a proposed derivative of small indigenous sounding
   rockets currently being test fired.	The last sounding rocket test
   failed.  The current development program is a mix of university,
   government and industry work.  An orbital launch vehicle is probably
   at least ten years away.

   Burlak/Diana (Russia/Germany)
       Burlak is a proposed air launched, liquid propellant booster
   somewhat larger than Pegasus.  Payload figures suggest performance
   of roughly 1000 kg to LEO, and roughly 600 kg to a 700 km polar orbit.
   Burlak would be launched from beneath a Tu-160 Blackjack bomber.
   Some financial support has been received from DARA (the German space
   agency) and OHB System GmbH, a German firm.	Estimated launch cost is
   around $5 million.

   Capricornio	(Spain)
       Capricornio is a Spanish project to build a launcher for 100 kg
   class satellites to be launched from the Canary Islands.  First launch
   is scheduled for 1997 or 1998.  Total budget for development through
   first flight is $32 million dollars.  Earlier information suggested this
   program had been cancelled in favor of launching the Spanish
   minisatellite on Pegasus.  However, the program appears to have been

   Eagle (United States)
       E'Prime Aerospace has proposed a small launcher based on MX missile
   solid rocket motors.  They have received permission from the US
   government for use of the motors.  Little recent information is

+  EELV - Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle  (United States)
       The US Air Force has the responsibility for funding development of
   US government ELV programs; EELV is their answer.  The idea is to spend
   $2 billion to develop a family of vehicles which can launch all military
   spacecraft.	Theoretically, the consolidation would mean high flight
   rates for one vehicle type, thus lowering unit costs.  Currently four
   teams are designing vehicles under contracts worth $30 million each.
   Boeing leads a team which proposes a semi-reusable vehicle with an
   SSME-powered core and strap on solid boosters.  Alliant Tech Systems
   (which bought Hercules) proposes a family of solid launchers, with an
   Arian V core thrown in for heavy lift missions.  McDonnell Douglas is
   proposing modified versions of its Delta vehicles.  No concrete
   information on Lockheed Martin's plans is available.  The next design
   phase starts with a downselect to two teams in 1996.

   ESA/CNES small launchers (Europe)
	ESA and the French space agency CNES have considered all manner
   of small launchers, be they solid or liquid, air launched or ground
   launched.  Proposals have included derivatives of Ariane, various
   national missile programs, or Russian vehicles like Soyuz.  The current
   study project is the European Small Launcher (ESL), an all solid vehicle
   which could launch one ton into a 700 km sun-synchronous orbit for $20
   million.  The decision on whether or not to pursue the project will
   be made by the end of 1995.	In the past, no small launch vehicle
   has ever made it beyond the study phase.  Arianespace Chairman
   Charles Bigot said at the 1995 Paris Air Show  "In the near future
   Arianespace has no reason to enter the market of lightsat launches with
   a specific launcher."  Given this attitude and the very tight budgets
   at European space agencies, it is unlikely that Europe will field a
   multinational small launcher before the end of the millenium. Programs
   in Spain and Italy and joint ventures with Russian firms offer the
   best hope for European small launch capability.

   Italian small launchers (Italy)
	A variety of small launch vehicles have been studied and tested
   by the Italian space agency, University of Rome, and Italian aerospace
   firms.  Generally the vehicles are derived from Scout components, since
   Italy has experience launching Scout rockets from their San Marco
   platform off the coast of Kenya.  Various projects have gone by the
   names Vega, Zefiro, San Marco Scout, Advanced Scout, etc.  Italy clearly
   has a strong interest in a small solid vehicle, but has not yet been
   able to convert that to a steady development program, due in part to
   instability in the government.

   Kistler K-1 (United States)
	Kistler is a new aerospace company, which plans to use private funds
   to develop an all reusable, two stage small launch vehicle.	Tests of
   hardware for the K-0, a subscale engineering test vehicle, have been
   conducted.  The Kistler fleet would include the K-1, with a payload
   of 2000 pounds to LEO starting around the turn of the century, and
   the K-2 which would carry 6000 pounds a starting a few years later.
   Eventually, Kistler would like to build the K-3, which could launch
   20,000 lbs.	The company is releasing little public information, and
   management and engineering shakeups have been occuring, which
   could affect the design and timeline for the fleet.	For more information,
   see the Kistler homepage at

X  OrbEx (United States)
       CTA had a contract with BMDO for a launch on a small "ORBital
   EXpress" vehicle.  However, that contract has been cancelled, and
   CTA has put the project on indefinate hold because of a glut of small

+  PacAstro (United States)
      PacAstro now has at least three contracts; customers include KITcom
   of Australia which plans to launch satellites similar to Orbcomm, and
   the Swedish Space Corp.  Much of the technology will be developed under
   contract with US Air Force for a sounding rocket dubbed PA-X.  The PA-2
   will carry 340 kg (750 lbs) to LEO or 225 kg (500 lbs) to a polar orbit
   for $6 million dollars.  This entry will probably be updated and moved
   into Section 2 during the next FAQ revision.  Meanwhile, check out the
   web site at

+  Rockot  (Russia/Germany)
       Rokot is a three stage liquid propellant launch system developed in
   Russia and funded in part by German companies.  It will be marketed
   by Eurockot Launch Services GmbH.  Rockot is derived from the SS-19 ICBM
   with an aditional upper stage, and should be able to put about 1800
   kg into low orbits.	Sources disagree on the schedule for the first

+  Russian small launchers (Russia)
      A large number of new small launch vehicles are being designed in
   Russia.  They are usually derived from ICBMs or SLBMs, though some
   are developed around existing space launch components.  They differ
   widely in the level of "reality."  Some have financial and
   institutional backing and even customers, while other proposals are
   probably just trial balloons floated by hopeful rocket engineers.  The
   trick is figuring out which is which.  A brief summary of the more
   viable-seeming plans:
      Riksha-1: Under development at NPO Energomash, to launch 1.7 tons to
   LEO for $10 million starting around 1999.  Propellants would be LOX and
   liquified natural gas.
      Surf: Sea-launched vehicle derived from the SSN-23 and SSN-20
   submarine ballistic missiles.  Five, count'em five, stages.
   Demonstration launch planned soon.  Managed by Sea Launch Investors,
   a joint US-Russian company.	Payload of roughly two tons to LEO.
      Volna, Vysota, Shtil:  More SLBM derivatives.
      Space Clipper:  Air launched version of SS-24.  Technically, this is a
   Ukraine venture, since the manufacturer is NPO Yuzhone.
      Rockot, Burlak, Start:  Rockot and Burlak both have German backing,
   so they've been given their own entries above.  Start actually has a
   flight history, and is therefore listed in Section 2 as a currently
   operational launch vehicle (though unfortuantely I still don't have much
   data on it).

   Scorpius/Liberty (United Sates)
       Microcosm Inc. of Torrance, CA has recently tested small (5000 lbf)
   pressure fed, ablative cooled rocket engines powered by LOX/Kerosene.
   They propose clustering 49 of these engines in seven side-by-side pods
   to create a rocket which can launch 2.2 tons to orbit for $1.7 million.
   Flight tests of sounding rockets testing some components are being
   considered for 1997.  (See Av. Week, Sept 25, 1995, p 103)

   Seagull  (Russia/Australia)
       Russian organizations and the Australian Space Office are discussing
   a project to co-produce a liquid-fueled space launcher with a capacity
   of about one ton into low orbit.  The vehicle would be a new design,
   though it would use a number of existing components.  Launch would take
   place either from Woomera or a site on the northeast coast of Australia.

+  VLS (Brazil)
      The VLS has been a long standing goal of the Agencia Espacial
   Brasileria and a major part of the Brazilian Complete Space Misson (MECB).
   The launcher is derived from the Sonda IV sounding rocket and is
   currently designed to put 185 kg into a 750 km orbit.  First launch
   is currently planned for 1996 or 1997 from Brazil's Alcantara range,
   which is located about as close to the Equator as a launch site can get.
   However, the VLS first launch has been pushed back several times in the
   past, so that date should not be considered firm.  Budget cuts and
   conflicts with the US over missile technology export controls have
   delayed the program previously.

+  X-34 (United States)
	X-34 would be a semi-reusable vehicle, with development funded
   in part by a $70 million contract with NASA.  The project is managed
   by OSC and Rockwell, which are spending a total of $100 million on
   the project.  Current plans are for the vehicle to be carried atop
   a NASA 747 shuttle transporter and launched at altitude.  The vehicle
   would reach roughly half of orbital velocity and eject a satellite with
   an expendable upper stage to reach orbit.  Estimated price is around
   $4 million per launch.  First flight is planned for 1998 or 1999.

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