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Survey of Existing Launchers
Section 4.1.1.1.1.
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Current Launch Vehicle Data - United States

Sci.Space FAQ: Launcher Section
Current U.S. Launch Vehicles Data
Current World Launch Vehicles Data
Future Launch Vehicles Data

   SECTION 2:  CURRENT LAUNCH VEHICLE DATA -UNITED STATES
****************************************************************************

Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlas                                  32/37  86.5% in last 10 years
(USA)
  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.

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Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Conestoga                                   0/1
(USA)
* 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
uncertain.
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
payloads.


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Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Delta                                   
48/49  98% in last 10 years
(USA)
* 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                     ???
                                   (8,400)


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.


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Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Lockheed Launch Vehicle                      0/1
(U.S)
  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."


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Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pegasus/Taurus                               7/9   77%
(USA)
  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.


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Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Space Shuttle                                
69/70  98.6%
(USA)
  Shuttle/RSRM 23,500      ???     5,900     69/70         $356m
              (51,800)           (13,000)

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


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Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Titan                                      26/30   86.7% in last 10 years
(USA)
  Titan II       ???      1,905     ???      5/5            $43m
                         (4,200)

  Titan III    11,800      ???      ???                     $110m
              (26,000)

  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.
Sci.Space FAQ: Launcher Section
Current U.S. Launch Vehicles Data
Current World Launch Vehicles Data
Future Launch Vehicles Data

Survey of Existing Launchers

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