Heavy-lift launch vehicle

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A heavy-lift launch vehicle, HLV or HLLV, is an orbital launch vehicle capable of lifting between 20,000 to 50,000 kg to low Earth orbit (LEO).[1] As of 2017, operational heavy-lift launch vehicles include the Ariane 5, the Proton-M and the Delta IV Heavy.[2] In addition, the Angara A5, the Falcon 9 Full Thrust and the Long March 5 are designed to provide heavy-lift capabilities but have not yet been proven to carry a 20-tonne payload into LEO. Several other heavy-lift rockets are in development.

Heavy-lift rated launch vehicles[edit]

Rocket In service Manufacturer Max. LEO payload Heaviest launch
…to LEO …to GTO

Operational[edit]

Those currently operational rockets have demonstrated heavy-lift capability to low Earth orbit.

Ariane 5 ECA and ES since 2002 European Union Airbus for ESA 21,000 kg (46,000 lb)[3] 20,293 kg (44,738 lb)[4]
Georges Lemaître ATV
29 July 2014
10,865 kg (23,953 lb)[5]
ViaSat-2 and Eutelsat 172B
1 June 2017
Delta IV Heavy[a] since 2004 United States ULA 28,790 kg (63,470 lb)[6] Actual payloads flown are classified under the NRO launch program.
Proton-M since 2001[b] Russia Khrunichev 23,000 kg (51,000 lb)[7] 22,776 kg (50,212 lb)[8]
Zvezda[c]
12 July 2000
6,740 kg (14,860 lb)[9]
ViaSat-1
19 October 2011

Unproven[edit]

The following rockets have not yet flown with a 20-tonne payload to LEO that would qualify them as an HLLV.

Angara A5 since 2014 Russia Khrunichev 24,500 kg (54,000 lb)[10] N/A 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)[11]
Mass simulator
23 December 2014
Falcon 9 Full Thrust since 2015 United States SpaceX 22,800 kg (50,300 lb)[12]
(expendable version)[d]
9,600 kg (21,200 lb)[13]
Iridium NEXT × 10
14 January 2017
6,761 kg (14,905 lb)[14]
Intelsat 35e
5 July 2017
Long March 5 (CZ-5) since 2016 China CALT 25,000 kg (55,000 lb)[15] N/A 4,000 kg (8,800 lb)[16]
Shijian 17
3 November 2016
  1. ^ Delta IV Heavy is the world's highest capacity rocket currently in operation.
  2. ^ Prior version Proton-K has flown operationally from 1970 to 2012.
  3. ^ Zvezda was launched by a Proton-K version; Proton-M is slightly more powerful.
  4. ^ The Falcon 9 reusable configuration only fits the medium-lift launch vehicle criteria.

Former HLLVs[edit]

The following HLLVs were formerly operational:

In development[edit]

Four HLLVs are currently being developed:

  1. ^ Payload to LEO presumed to be similar to Ariane 5 ES or ECA
  2. ^ A fully expendable configuration is classified as a super heavy-lift launch vehicle since payload to LEO is over 50,000 kg
  3. ^ If the upper part of this estimated payload range (>50,000 kg to LEO) is more accurate, then classification is as a super heavy-lift launch vehicle

Earlier concepts[edit]

  • (NASA's Ares I was in the planning stages when canceled in 2010)[27] Payload to LEO: 25,400 kg (56,000 lb)

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[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"
  2. ^ May, Sandra (27 August 2014). "What Is a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle?". NASA. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "Ariane 5 Users Manual, Issue 4, P. 39 (ISS orbit)" (PDF). Arianespace. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  4. ^ "Lanzamiento del ATV-5 Georges Lemaître (Ariane 5 ES)". 
  5. ^ "Arianespace marks its 2017 mid-year launch milestone with a record-setting Ariane 5 mission at the service of ViaSat and Eutelsat" (Press release). Arianespace. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Delta IV Launch Services User's Guide, June 2013" (PDF). United Launch Alliance. June 2013. p. 2-10. Retrieved 9 October 2017. 
  7. ^ "Proton Launch System Mission Planner's Guide – Section 2. LV Performance" (PDF). International Launch Services. July 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  8. ^ "Zvezda Service Module". Khrunichev. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  9. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "ViaSat 1". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  10. ^ Spaceflight101, Angara-a5
  11. ^ "Russia made its first test launch "Angara-A5"". RIA Novosti. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Capabilities & Services (2016)
  13. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (15 June 2016). "Iridium's SpaceX launch slowed by Vandenberg bottleneck". SpaceNews. Retrieved 11 June 2017. Each Iridium Next satellite will weigh 860 kilograms at launch, for a total satellite payload mass of 8,600 kilograms, plus the 1,000-kilogram dispenser. 
  14. ^ Graham, William (3 July 2017). "SpaceX Falcon 9 launches with Intelsat 35e at the third attempt". NASASpaceflight. 
  15. ^ Space launch report, CZ-5-7 Data Sheet
  16. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "SJ 17". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  17. ^ Entering the Race to the Moon, Saturn IB Established Its Place in Space.
  18. ^ https://www.space.com/18422-apollo-saturn-v-moon-rocket-nasa-infographic.html
  19. ^ http://www.khrunichev.ru/main.php?id=54
  20. ^ astronautix.com, Space Shuttle
  21. ^ astronautix.com, Titan IV Archived 18 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ "Ariane 6 design finalized, set for 2020 launch". Space Daily. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  23. ^ Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (30 April 2016). "@elonmusk Max performance numbers are for expendable launches. Subtract 30% to 40% for reusable booster payload" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  24. ^ Berger, Eric (13 September 2016). "Falcon Heavy? New Glenn? NASA chief says he's not a "big fan"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  25. ^ http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/vulcan.html
  26. ^ Space Flight Now, ULA unveils its future with the Vulcan rocket family, 13 April 2015, by Justin Ray
  27. ^ "Constellation Is Dead, But Pieces Live On". Aviation Week, 26 October 2010.

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.