Blue Origin's Goddard prototype VTOL vehicle
returns to the
hangar after a test flight in November 2006.
The table below provides brief descriptions
of a SUBSET of fully and partially
reusable launch and space vehicles (RLSV) projects,
present and past. The table will be updated and
modified periodically as projects come and go.
mostly includes vehicle projects that seem to
be active to some degree. (Active can mean hardware
development at least on the prototype level, announcements
of funding, etc.) Emphasis is on vehicles that
intend to pursue commercial markets such as space
tourism, science/education payloads, high altitude
Note: here the term reusable
space vehicle refers to a vehicle,
crewed or not, that is released in space from,
for example, a shuttle or launched on top of an
expendable and then operates in space. When it
is fiinished, it will de-orbit, return to earth,
and be launched again for another mission. For
example, the space station crew rescue vehicle
(CTV), for which the X-38 is a prototype, would
fall in this category. The table focuses on private
development but mentions NASA/Military projects
and some government projects outside the US near
launched from White Knight 2. Two pilots + 6 passenger
vehicle intended for commercial space tourism.
pay $200k each.
Funded by Virgin Galactic. WK2 rolled out late
2008. SS2 rolled out in Dec 2009. Captive carry
& drop tests took place in 2010. First rocket
powered tests expected in early 2011. Passenger
flights in late 2011 or early 2012 timeframe. Links
Suborbital, booster stage
+ crew capsule, vertical takeoff and landing with
hydrogen peroxide/kerosene engines, with powered
landing. (Goddard uses peroxide only.)
of Enviro. Impact Report.)
3 or more passenger to
100km, up to 52 flights per year.
Goddard flew for first
time in November 2006. 2 more untethered flights
in 2007. New prototype under construction. Company
intends for a series of prototypes leading to test
flights in 2010, remote control tests in 2011, passenger
flights in 2012 Links
Reusable Orion capsule
launched on a two stage Ares 1. First stage uses
version of Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster so it may
Can be used to take a
crew to ISS. Eventually Orion will link up with
lunar modues launched with Ares
5 for travel to the Moon.
Contractors for Ares 1
first stage (ATK) and for Orion (Lockheed-Martin)
were selected in 2006. Contractor for 2nd stage
will be selected in 2007. First crew flights in
2014 time frame.
1 and Orion
1-stage sub-orbital. Dropped from carrier plane.
Mach 8, altitudes of 250,000 feet.
~24 flights in 12months
after cost growth due to significant late hardware
changes. These came after the Mars Lander failure
led to review of all major NASA programs. Also,
NASA failed to deliver the Fastrac
Low altitude vehicle
that tested low cost reusable technologies and operations.
Started as a project
in the Missile Defense program. After 5 flights
transferred to NASA. Demonstrated that a liquid
fueled rocket vehicle could be flown by a small
team and turned around between flights in 26 hours.
All goals met but vehicle later lost when leg failed
to deploy on landing.