Jarvis (rocket)


ManufacturerHughes Aircraft / Boeing
Country of originUnited States
Height58 m (190 ft)
Diameter8.38 m (27.5 ft)
Mass1,154,000 kg (2,544,000 lb)
Payload to LEO
Mass38,000 kg (84,000 lb)
Payload to GTO
Mass13,000 kg (29,000 lb)
Launch history
StatusNone built
Total launches0
First stage
Engines2x F-1
Thrust15,481.26 kN (3,480,330 lbf)
Specific impulse304 seconds (vacuum)
Burn time170 seconds
PropellantRP-1 / LOX
Second stage
Engines1x J-2
Thrust1,031.98 kN (232,000 lbf)
Specific impulse425 seconds (vacuum)
Burn time525 seconds
PropellantLH2 / LOX
Third stage
Engines8x R-4D
Thrust3.92 kN (880 lbf)
Specific impulse312 seconds
PropellantMMH / N2O4

Jarvis was a proposed American medium-lift launch vehicle for space launch, designed by Hughes Aircraft and Boeing during the mid-1980s as part of the joint United States Air Force (USAF)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Advanced Launch System (ALS) study. Intended to utilize engines and tooling in storage from the Saturn V rocket program along with Space Shuttle components, and projected to be capable of carrying up to six satellites into multiple orbits using a single launch (e.g. GPS constellation), the proposal failed to meet the ALS requirements, and the Jarvis rocket was never built.


Jointly proposed by Hughes and Boeing as a heavy-lift rocket, using propulsion systems and equipment built for the Saturn V rocket and placed in storage at the end of the Apollo program,[1] as well as Space Shuttle components,[2] Jarvis was intended to be capable of launching multiple GPS satellites,[3] major components of the planned Space Station Freedom and commercial satellites.[1] The rocket was named after Hughes employee and NASA mission specialist Gregory Jarvis, who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in January 1986.[1]

Submitted as part of the Advanced Launch System studies jointly conducted by the United States Air Force and NASA for a new heavy-lift rocket system capable of substituting for the Space Shuttle and expanding upon its capabilities,[4] Jarvis was planned as a three-stage rocket capable of launching a payload of up to 83,000 pounds (38,000 kg) to low earth orbit, or 28,000 pounds (13,000 kg) to geosynchronous orbit; the rocket was projected to cost under $300 million USD per launch;[5] some estimates had a per-launch cost of the Jarvis vehicle at a cost as low as $150 million each, with $1 billion being cited as the projected development cost of the rocket system.[6]

The first stage of the Jarvis vehicle was designed to use two Rocketdyne F-1 engines, powered by RP-1 rocket fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX); these were the same engines used by the Saturn V's first stage. The second stage would use a single Rocketdyne J-2 LOX/liquid hydrogen (LH2) engine, while the third stage was intended to utilise eight Marquardt R-4D reaction control system thrusters, fueled by a hypergolic mix of nitrogen tetroxide and monomethylhydrazine (N2O4/MMH), to provide final boost, and to allow for the deployment of multiple payloads into different orbits.[5][7] Jarvis was designed to be capable of carrying payloads of up to 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter; as many as six satellites could be carried on a single rocket,[8] and it was suggested that the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation be deployed in this manner.[9]

While the Hughes proposal for the "Jarvis" would have been powered by a pair of Saturn V F-1 engines, when Boeing joined the proposal they quickly shifted the proposal toward a Shuttle-derived in-line design consisting of an External Tank powered by a single aft-mounted Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) augmented by a pair of Solid Rocket Boosters. This Revised Jarvis would be able to lift 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg) to LEO.[3]

Although Hughes received an Air Force contract to study the Jarvis vehicle,[7] the Jarvis failed to meet the Air Force's requirements for the ALS, being too large in size compared to the specification.[10] In 1986, Hughes stated that the rocket could be operational by the 1990s,[7] with launches beginning two years after project go-ahead;[11] however the U.S. Air Force rejected the Hughes-Boeing proposal.[12] Consideration was given to continuing the Jarvis project as a private venture,[12] and the Jarvis was mentioned as meeting the requirements for a launch vehicle to be used in the establishment of a lunar base in a 1992 conference on the subject,[13] however nothing further came of the proposal, while the entire Advanced Launch System development effort was scaled back into the National Launch System before being cancelled in 1992.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Smith 1989, p.280
  2. ^ Logsdon 1988, p. 138
  3. ^ a b Kyle, Ed (November 19, 2009). "Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV)". SpaceLaunchReport.
  4. ^ Thompson and Guerrier 1989, p.30
  5. ^ a b Smith, B. A. (August 4, 1986). "Air Force Studies MLV". Aviation Week & Space Technology. 125 (5): 34. Bibcode:1986AvWST.125...34S.
  6. ^ "Shuttles: Hughes Aircraft proposes rocket to help fill the void left by disaster". The Deseret News. Salt Lake City, UT. August 14, 1986. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  7. ^ a b c "Future Rocket Will Make 'Local' Stops". Popular Mechanics. 163 (12): 125. December 1986.
  8. ^ Curtis 1990, p. 376
  9. ^ Air Force Magazine, February 1986, p.32
  10. ^ Gavaghan, Helen (29 January 1987). "Military satellites return to rockets". New Scientist. 113 (1545): 37.
  11. ^ Harwood, William (September 22, 1986). "Rocket builders are revamping technology". The Bryan Times. Bryan, Ohio.
  12. ^ a b "The Air Force dropped the Jarvis rocket bid". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. November 26, 1986. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  13. ^ Dowling et al. in Mendell 1992, p. 180
  14. ^ Henry 2003, p. 10
  • Curtis, Anthony R. (1990). Space Almanac. Woodsboro, Maryland: ARCsoft Publishers. ISBN 978-0866680653.
  • Dowling, Richard; Robert L. Staehle, and Tomas Svitek. "A Lunar Polar Expedition". in Mendell, Wendell W., ed. (1992). The Second Conference on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century , Volume 1. NASA Conference Publication 3166. 1. Houston, Texas: NASA. NASA-CP-3166-Vol-l.
  • Henry, Gary N. (February 2003). The Decision Maker's Guide to Robust, Reliable, and Inexpensive Access to Space. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Center for Strategy and Technology, Air War College, Air University. ISBN 978-1234087159.
  • Logsdon, Tom (1988). Space, Inc: Your Guide to Investing in Space Exploration. New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 978-0517568125.
  • Smith, B.A. (4 August 1986). "Hughes Jarvis launcher would use technology from Saturn, Shuttle". Aviation Week and Space Technology. Vol. 125. pp. 34–36. ISSN 0005-2175.
  • Smith, Melvyn (1989). Illustrated History of the Space Shuttle. St. Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International. ISBN 978-0854296002.
  • Thompson, Wayne; Steven W. Guerrier (1989). Space: National Programs and International Cooperation. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. ISBN 978-0813377759.

External links

  • Jarvis at Encyclopedia Astronautica