Small-lift launch vehicle

Summary

Launch of a Vanguard rocket
Scout rocket launch (NASA)

A small-lift launch vehicle is a rocket orbital launch vehicle that is capable of lifting up to 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). The next larger category consists of medium-lift launch vehicles.[1]

The first small-lift launch vehicle was the Sputnik rocket, which was derived from the R-7 Semyorka ICBM of the Soviet Union. On 4 October 1957, the rocket was used to perform the world's first satellite launch, placing Sputnik 1 satellite into a low Earth orbit.[2][3][4] The USA responded by attempting to launch the Vanguard rocket.[5][6] However, the Vanguard TV3 launch failed, with the 3 January 1958 launch of the Explorer 1 satellite using a Juno I rocket the first successful US orbital launch. Vanguard I was the second successful U.S. orbital launch. This was the start of the space race.[7][8]

Since the late 1950s, small-lift launch vehicles have continued launching payloads to space. Medium-lift launch vehicles, heavy-lift launch vehicles, and super heavy-lift launch vehicles have also been extensively developed but have not completely superseded the small vehicles. Small vehicles can meet the requirements of some spacecraft, and can be less expensive than larger vehicles.[citation needed]

Rated launch vehicles

Vehicle Origin Manufacturer Mass to
LEO
(kg)
Mass to
other orbits
(kg)
Launches Status First flight Last flight Mission cost
SS-520  Japan IHI 4 2 Operational 2017
Vanguard  United States Martin 9[9] 11(+1) Retired 1957 1959 $4.4M[10]
Veloce 17  United States Eldorado Space[11] 12 0 Development
Lambda 4S  Japan Nissan Motors[12] 26[13] 5 Retired 1966 1977[14]
SLV  India ISRO 40[15] 4 Retired 1979 1983
Safir  Iran Iranian Space Agency 50[16] 6+1[17][18] Operational 2008
Vector-R  United States Vector Space Systems 60[19] 0(+2) Defunct (2019)
Blue Whale 1  South Korea Perigee Aerospace 63[20] 50 to SSO 0 Development (2020)
Black Arrow  United Kingdom RAE 73[21] 4 Retired 1969[note 1] 1971
Miura 1  Spain PLD Space 100[22] 0 Development
Simorgh  Iran Iranian Space Agency 100-350[23] 1(+1)[24] Operational 2016
Naro-1  South Korea
 Russia
KARI/Khrunichev 100[25] 3 Retired 2009 2013
Volna  Russia Makeyev 100[26] 1(+5)[27] Retired 1995[note 2] 2005[27]
Kaituozhe-1  China CALT 100[28] 2 Retired 2002 2003[29]
Diamant  France SEREB 107[30][31] 12 Retired 1965 1975
Vector-H  United States Vector Space Systems 110[32] 0 Defunct
Miura 5  Spain PLD Space 150[22] 0 Development
ASLV  India ISRO 150 4 Retired 1987 1994
Shavit  Israel IAE 160[33] 10 Operational 1988
Scout  United States US Air Force/NASA 174[34] 125 Retired 1961 1994
Mu-4S  Japan Nissan Motors[12] 180[13] 4 Retired 1971 1972
Mu-3C  Japan Nissan Motors[12] 195[13] 4 Retired 1974 1979
Unha  North Korea KCST 200[35] 3 Operational 2009
ZERO  Japan Interstellar Technologies 100 to SSO[36] 0 Development (2022)
Electron  New Zealand United States Rocket Lab 231 225 to SSO[37] 9 Operational 2017 $7.5M (2019)[38]
Tronador II  Argentina CONAE 250[39] 0 Development 2020
Shtil'  Russia Makeyev 280 – 420[40] 2[27] Retired 1998 2006
Mu-3H  Japan Nissan Motors[12] 300[13] 3 Retired 1977 1978
Mu-3S  Japan Nissan Motors[12] 300[13] 4 Retired 1980 1984
Long March 1 (CZ-1)  China CALT 300[41] 2[42] Retired[43] 1970[42] 1971[42]
Delta 1913  United States McDonnell Douglas 328[44] 1[45] Retired 1973 1973
Delta 2310  United States McDonnell Douglas 336[46] 3[45] Retired 1974 1981
Delta 1410  United States McDonnell Douglas 340[47] 1[45] Retired 1975 1975
VLS-1  Brazil AEB, INPE 380[48] 2[note 3] Retired 1997 2003
Delta 1604  United States McDonnell Douglas 390[49] 2[45] Retired 1972 1973
Hapith V  Taiwan TiSPACE 390[50] 350 to SSO 0 Development (2020)
Kuaizhou-1  China CASC 400[51] 3[51] Operational 2013[51]
Falcon 1  United States SpaceX 420[52] 5 Retired[53] 2006 2009
Pegasus  United States Orbital 443[54] 43[55] Operational 1990 $56M (2014) [56]
Sputnik 8K71PS  Soviet Union RSC Energia 500[57] 2 Retired 1957 1957
Launcher One  United States Virgin Orbit 500[58] 300 to SSO 1 Development $12M (2020)[59]


SSLV  India ISRO / NewSpace India Ltd 500 300 to SSO 0 Development
Start-1  Russia MITT 532[60] 350 to SSO[61] 5[62] Operational 1993
Minotaur I  United States Orbital 580[63] 11[64] Operational 2000 $28.8M (2013) [65]
Long March 6  China CALT 500 to SSO 2 Operational 2015
Long March 11  China CALT 700[66] 3 Operational 2015[67]
Paektusan  North Korea KCST 700[68] 1 Retired 1998
Long March 1D(CZ-1D)  China CALT 740[69] 0(+3) Retired 1995[note 4] 2002
Mu-3SII  Japan Nissan Motors[12] 770[13] 8 Retired 1985 1995
Athena I  United States Lockheed Martin 795[70] 515 to GTO 4[71] Retired 1995 2001 $17M (2000)[72]
Delta 3913  United States McDonnell Douglas 816[73] 1[45] Retired 1981 1981
Alpha  United States Firefly Aerospace 1,000[74] 600 to SSO 0 Development $15M(2020) [75]
J-I  Japan IHI Corporation
Nissan Motors[12]
1,000[76] 0(+1) Retired 1996 1996
Delta 1910  United States McDonnell Douglas 1,066[77] 1[45] Retired 1975 1975
Terran 1  United States Relativity Space 1,250[78] 1[45] Developement $10M(2019)[79]
N-I  Japan
 United States
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1,200[80] 7 Retired 1975 1982[citation needed]
Epsilon  Japan IHI Aerospace[81]      1,200[13] 4 Operational[13] 2013 $38M[82]
Delta 0900  United States McDonnell Douglas 1,300[83] 818 to SSO[45] 2[45] Retired 1972 1972
Sputnik 8A91  Soviet Union RSC Energia 1,327 2 Retired 1958 1958
Strela  Russia Khrunichev 1,400[84] 3[85] Operational[85] 2003
H-I  Japan
 United States
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1,400[86] 9 Retired 1986 1992
Minotaur-C  United States Orbital 1,450[87] 1,050[87] to SSO 10[88] Operational[89] 1994 $45M[90]
Kosmos-3M  Soviet Union
 Russia
NPO Polyot 1,500[91] 442[92] Retired 1967 2010
Kuaizhou-11  China CASC 1,500 0 Development
Minotaur IV  United States Orbital 1,735[93] 4(+2)[94] Operational 2010[94] $50M[95]
M-V  Japan Nissan Motors[12] (−2000)
IHI AEROSPACE[81] (−2006)
1,800 – 1,850[13] 7 Retired 1997 2006
Athena II  United States Lockheed Martin 1,800[96] 3[97] Retired[98] 1998 1999 $46M (2014)[99]
Delta 1900  United States McDonnell Douglas 1,800[45] 1[45] Retired 1973 1973
Delta 2910  United States McDonnell Douglas 1,887[45] 6[45] Retired 1975 1978
Rokot  Russia Khrunichev 1,950[100] 1,200 to SSO 34 Retired 1990 2019
Vega  Italy Avio 1,450 to SSO 15 Operational 2012 $37M[101]

See also

References

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Notes

  1. ^ Suborbital test in 1969, first orbital launch attempt in 1970
  2. ^ First orbital launch attempt in 2005
  3. ^ A third rocket exploded before launch
  4. ^ Suborbital test flights in 1995, 1997 and 2002, no orbital launches attempted

Further reading

  • Isakowitz, Hopkins, and Hopkins International Guide to Space Launch Systems, AIAA. ISBN 1-56347591-X.

External links

  • Small Satellite Launchers at NewSpace Index