Heavy lift launch vehicle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle)
Jump to: navigation, search
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV-Heavy rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload launches Aug. 28, 2013, from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Ariane 5 ES launch
Proton-M on the launch pad

A Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle, or HLV / HLLV, is an orbital launch vehicle capable of lifting between 20,000 to 50,000kg to LEO. [1] The current Heavy-Lift Launch vehicles in service are the Ariane 5 in its ES and ECA variants, the Russian Proton-M and the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy.

Propellant requirements[edit]

Several different fuel/oxidiser combinations have been used in heavy lift launch vehicles. The earliest ones were simply liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which, when combined, release a very significant[clarification needed] amount of energy, and whose only combustion byproducts are heat and water vapor. This approach was used for the main engines of the Space Shuttle and for the upper stages of the Saturn V, and is still used for the main engines on some HLLVs, such as the Ariane 5 and Delta IV. It is also often used for upper-stage motors, due to its high specific impulse.[citation needed]

Other propellant options include those used by solid-fuel rockets, combinations of various liquid fuels such as RP-1 and liquid oxygen as used in the Atlas V first stage[citation needed] and hypergolic propellants, such as unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, used in the Proton rocket.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NASA Space Technology Roadmaps - Launch Propulsion Systems, p.11: "Small: 0-2t payloads, Medium: 2-20t payloads, Heavy: 20-50t payloads, Super Heavy: >50t payloads"

Further reading[edit]

  • Mallove, Eugene F. and Matloff, Gregory L. The Starflight Handbook: A Pioneer's Guide to Interstellar Travel, Wiley. ISBN 0-471-61912-4.