Survey of Existing Launchers
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Current Launch Vehicle Data - World

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

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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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.

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

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Vehicle        |     Payload  kg  (lbs)   |  Reliability  | Price
(nation)       |  LEO      Polar    GTO   |               |
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.
For more info, check out Boeing's web page at
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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