launch vehicle


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launch vehicle

Any system by which the necessary energy is given to a satellite, spaceprobe, etc., in order to insert it into the desired orbit or trajectory. Expendable multistage launchers were used originally, and are still being used and developed: ESA's Ariane and NASA's Titan and Delta families are examples. The reusable space shuttle was developed by NASA so that recovery of the vehicle is possible.

Rocket propulsion is a form of jet propulsion: all the propellant is carried in the vehicle at take-off and the hot combustion gases, resulting from the mixture of fuel with reactant, are ejected at high speed through a nozzle to produce the necessary force – termed thrust – to lift the vehicle off the ground. Modern launchers generally consist of two, three, or four stages; the final stage carries the spacecraft into the desired orbit, the satellite separating from the stage when orbital velocity is reached. There are design variations in the type of propellant used, which may be either solid or liquid, the means of carrying the propellant, and the process by which the tanks, etc., are discarded.

Launch Vehicle

 

a multistage (two- to four-stage) rocket used to lift artificial earth satellites, unmanned space probes, manned spacecraft, orbital stations, and other payloads into space. Depending on the performance characteristics and the capability of injecting a payload of a given weight into orbit, launch vehicles can be classified as light (up to 500 kg), medium (up to 10 tons), heavy (up to 100 tons), and extra heavy (more than 100 tons). Most launch vehicles are based on intercontinental or intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The fuel components generally used in the first stage of a launch vehicle are kerosine and liquid oxygen; this combination is used in the Vostok (USSR) and the Atlas-Agena (USA) rockets. The liquid-propellant rocket engines of the upper stages usually operate on high-energy fuels; examples are the Cosmos (USSR), the Atlas-Agena (USA), and the Titan 2 (USA) rockets. The upper stages may also operate on liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, as do the Atlas-Centaur and the Saturn 5 (USA) rockets.

A distinctive feature of the final stages of some launch vehicles is the possibility of restarting their engines; this permits maneuvering to change the altitude and inclination of the orbit and to launch a payload from an earth orbit. In addition to liquid-propellant rocket engines used as the main engines in the majority of launch vehicles, solid-propellant booster engines are sometimes attached to the first-stage housing, as in the case of the Thrust-Augmented Thor-Agena (USA) rocket.

Payloads ranging in weight from several kg to several tens of tons can be placed in circular earth orbits with the required velocity using launch vehicles. All launch vehicles are characterized by a relatively small weight and a large fuel capacity (the weight of the fuel is between 85 and 90 percent of the rocket’s launch weight). The launch weight ranges from several tens of tons up to several thousand tons. The duration of the powered flight trajectory of some launch vehicles is more than 17 min. The flight covers a wide altitude range.

G. A. NAZAROV

launch vehicle

[′lȯnch ‚ve·ə·kəl]
(aerospace engineering)
A rocket or other vehicle used to launch a probe, satellite, or the like. Also known as booster.
References in periodicals archive ?
The obvious way out of this dilemma is to design a pad that can serve a variety of launch vehicles. This will entail developing a set of industry standards for the "hardpoints" for supporting a launch vehicle on the pad, the locations and types of electrical and electronic connections, and the valves for transferring propellant to the launch vehicle.
ua Another team of two engineers will be at the Takesaki Range Control Centre with other Japanese engineers to monitor the actual launch vehicle during refuelling, during the launch event, and even after the launch until the separation.
Starship has been designed to be recovered and re-used after landing, much in the same way as the first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
It also powers the second stage and the fourth strap of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the twin-engine core liquid stage (L110) of GSLV Mk-III.
Spaceflight offers customers the most options for getting to space, working with nearly every global launch vehicle provider, including the Falcon 9, PSLV, Antares, Cygnus, Electron, Soyuz and others.
Nissan Motor Company (NASDAQ: NSANY)(TYO: 7201), a Japan-based automaker, and West African conglomerate, Stallion Group, are planning to collaborate to jointly launch vehicle assembly in Nigeria.
"Telesat selected MHI to launch our new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite after an extensive evaluation of the H-IIA launch vehicle, including the planned enhancements," said Daniel S.
The first experimental Satellite Launch Vehicle SLV- 3 was developed in 1980.
The launch vehicle is being provided by International Launch Services and the launch will be the seventh ASTRA satellite launched on a Proton vehicle.
If the agency decides that the Pegasus XL requires considerably more testing before it is deemed flightworthy, "the only choice is to use a Russian launch vehicle, and that choice, given the climate of 'buy American', is not politically popular right now," she says.
Several new technologies such as Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, Reusable Launch Vehicle and in-flight connectivity (with launch of GSAT-20) are planned to be demonstrated this year.
Then, in 2022, Stratolaunch expects the first flight of its "new medium-class air-launch vehicle" which it calls Medium Launch Vehicle. The MLV will come in two variants - single-core and three-core - which would have payload capacities of 3,400 kilograms and 6,000 kilograms respectively.