Spaceplane Models

Ascender - The second stage of a TSTO spaceplane design conceived by David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes, England. It would ride piggyback on a runway-launched booster before entering orbit by itself. Ascender could also take off from a runway using jet engines and climb to 100 km using rocket engines and onboard propellants for suborbital space tourism flights. Conceptual.

Black Horse - USAF one-person spaceplane that would take off under its own rocket power, rendezvous with a conventional aerial tanker, take on its full hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) oxidizer supply, and fly into orbit from some 40,000 ft. Required good subsonic lift-to-drag ratio. Conceptual mid-1990s.

Blackstar - USAF air-launched manned spaceplane with aerospike engines, released from large carrier aircraft at 100,000 ft for surprise orbital reconnaissance. Rumored 2006.

BoMi - Bell Aircraft two-stage fully reusable suborbital bomber-missile or reconnaissance vehicle. Both manned delta-wing booster and manned double-delta glide-rocket would land horizontally. Booster: 120 ft long, 60 ft wingspan, 2 crew. Glide rocket: 60 ft long, 35 ft span, 1 crew. Propellants: UDMH and N2O4. Conceptual 1952-1955 .

BOR-4 - Unmanned Soviet orbital test vehicle to assess thermal protection system for Buran. The lifting body design was a downscaled unmanned version of the manned Spiral spaceplane. It was used to evaluate the hypersonic entry and cross range capability of the design, as well as to test heat shield materials for the Buran program. It has excellent characteristics in this and in subsonic flight and resulted in Langley Research center using the shape as the basis for its own HL-20 Crew Escape Rescue Vehicle or Personnel Launch System. After a circuit of the Earth, the BOR-4 spacecraft would deorbit, perform a gliding reentry, follwed by parachute deployment, splashdown in the ocean, and be recovered by Soviet naval forces. Flew unmanned 5x 1980-1984.

BOR-5 - Unmanned Soviet suborbital test vehicle using 1/8 scale 2,800-pound model to assess aerodynamic and thermodynamic conditions of Buran shape. Flew 5 times 1983-1988.

Brass Bell - A USAF-funded program at Bell Aircraft to develop a two-stage manned suborbital reconnaissance vehicle based on Atlas missile engines. Conceptual 1956.

Buran - Soviet space shuttle; made one unmanned flight on November 15, 1988, with automatic landing at Baikonur Cosmodrome. Main differences from U.S. Space Shuttle were, main engines were not carried on the winged orbiter but at base of the Energiya rocket; strap-on rockets were powered by kerosene and LOX instead of solid propellants; and launch vehicle was assembled horizontally and erected before launch. Flew unmanned 1x1988 .

DC-X Delta Clipper - A McDonnell Douglas VTVL spacecraft built and flown in the early 1990s. Despite many successful atmospheric test flights, the unmanned vehicle is best remembered on its final flight for tipping over and exploding when one of its four landing legs failed to extend. Flew in 1990s.

Douglas Skyrocket - Officially the D-558-2, the first manned rocketplane to reach Mach 2, on November 20, 1953, piloted by Scott Crossfield. Flew 1948-1956 .

EADS Astrium Space Tourism Project - a concept to take off from a runway with a small jet-powered rocketplane, fly up to 12 km using jet engines only, then accelerate almost straight up using rocket engines fueled by methane and liquid oxygen. A pilot and four passengers would reach 100 km altitude in this manner, the edge of space. Currently under development.

EADS Phoenix - A winged testbed, successor to Hermes and predecessor to Hopper, it was a one-sixth scale prototype with a 6.9 m length, 3.9 m span, and 1,200 kg mass. On May 8, 2004, the testbed was dropped from 2.4 km by helicopter and made a GPS-guided 90 s glide to the European Space Range in Kiruna, Sweden, 1,240 km north of Stockholm.

EZ-Rocket - XCOR Aerospace's rocketplane, using a Rutan Long-EZ airframe with its engine replaced by an XCOR in-house liquid rocket engine. The EZ-Rocket has made 26 test flights, including numerous in-flight restarts of the rocket engine. Flew 26x2000-2005 .

Hermes - European manned spaceplane project, to be launched by Ariane 5 rocket for crew and cargo flights to the Columbus space station. It originally consisted of a spaceplane with a capacity of six astronauts and 4,500 kg of cargo, but this was reduced to three astronauts with ejection seats after the Challenger tragedy in 1986. Hermes was to be equipped with a rear-mounted Resource Module, which would be jettisoned before re-entry. Conceptual 1987-1993 .

HL-10 - The Northrup Horizontal Lander was a NASA delta planiform lifting body, used to assess the flight and landing capabilities of the lifting body shape, and supported development of the Space Shuttle. Flew 37x1966-1970 .

HOPE - Japanese H-II orbital plane, a ballistic orbital spaceplane, to be launched by the H-II rocket, intended to deliver cargo to a space station. Conceptual 1987-2003 .

Hopper - ESA concept to launch a spaceplane from a 4-km magnetic track, greatly reducing propellant requirements for entering space. Conceptual.

HOTOL - A single-stage-to-orbit HTHL spaceplane under development by the British government from 1991 to 1995. Conceptual.

Kliper - Russian lifting body spaceplane designed to be ballistically launched and reenter at an angle to reduce G forces on crew. Conceptual 2004 to present.

M2-F1 - Flying Bathtub. Flew > 477x1963-4965 .

M2-F2 - Initial design had only two tail fins, later modified into the M2-F3. Flew 1966-4971 .

M2-F3 - Modified from M2-F2 by addition of tall center fin. Flew 1970-1972 .

Me 163 Komet - World's first operational rocketplane. Flown by Germany in World War II as an interceptor-attack fighter. Endurance 8-12 min. Flew 1944-1945 .

Orbital Space Plane - Four design concepts intended to replace the Space Shuttle program involving either (1) Apollo-type capsule, (2) lifting body, (3) winged slender-body, or (4) winged fat-body designs. The capsule was ultimately chosen as the Orion replacement for the Space Shuttle.

Rocketplane XP - Runway-launched sub-orbital spaceplane being developed by Rocketplane Global of Burns Flat, Oklahoma, for the space tourism industry.

Under active development.

Roton - Rotary Rocket's unique spaceplane design, which was actually a space helicopter. The rotors used small tip-mounted rocket engines to generate initial lift at takeoff, followed by main rocket engine ignition. For landing, the rotors would autorotate to provide a soft touchdown. The main engine sported a rotating aero-spike for automatic altitude compensation.

Singer II - German project of the 1980s to resurrect Eugen Sanger's two-stage-to-orbit design. The piggyback spaceplane would take off from a runway, separate at altitude, and fly into space. Conceptual 1980s.

Silbervogel - "Silverbird" was Eugen Sanger's original design for a manned suborbital spaceplane originally conceived as an "Amerika Bomber," able to deliver a bomb half-way around the world, hence the name antipodal bomber. Conceptual 1940s.

SF-01 Spacefleet Project - Private British collaboration using clean propellants (LOX and LH2) and eight engines to transport up to eight space tourists and two pilots at a time up to a maximum apogee of 340 km, well above space height of 100 km. This would provide the advantage of longer periods of weightlessness and better views of Earth below. Conceptual.

Skylon - An improved version of the British HOTOL spaceplane, designed by Alan Bond of Reaction Engines Limited. Taking off horizontally, the unmanned vehicle would employ liquid hydrogen in a novel engine design utilizing a closed helium loop and super-cooled air before entering orbit at the top of the atmosphere. Conceptual.

Space Adventures Explorer - Suborbital aircraft spaceplane to be operated from the Ras Al Khaimah spaceport in the United Arab Emirates. It is based on the Space Adventures C-21, designed by the Russian Myasishchev Design Bureau.

SpaceShipOne - The first civilian spaceship and spaceplane, winner of the X Prize, exceeded 100 km twice in 2 weeks in October 2004, from the Mojave Spaceport, California, using hybrid rocket engine with liquid oxidizer, and folding tail. Flew 2000-2004 .

SpaceShipTwo - Follow-up to SS1, designed to carry two pilots and five passenger-astronauts on suborbital flights beginning about 2009. Under construction.

SpaceShipThree - Orbital successor to SS1 and SS2, able to take space tourists to an orbiting space hotel or space station. Method of launch has not yet been revealed. Conceptual as of 2007.

Space Shuttle - American spaceplane, first flown on April 12, 1981, consisting of fully reusable double-delta winged orbiter, reusable solid propellant strap-on boosters, and throwaway external tank (ET) filled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Typically carries crew of seven and 55,000 pound payload to LEO. Responsible for delivering most International Space Station modules, repairing the Hubble Space Telescope, and conducting numerous satellite and planetary spacecraft delivery and scientific missions. Challenger lost on January 28, 1986, due to SRB joint seal failure and subsequent detonation of ET. Columbia lost on February 1, 2003, due to left wing damage from foam strike on liftoff, followed by wing failure and vehicle breakup on re-entry. Enterprise used for approach and landing tests, 1977, never flew in space. Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour still on flight status as of late 2007. Shuttle fleet due for retirement in 2010. Flew 120xas of late 2007 .

SR-71 Blackbird - High-altitude Mach 3 reconnaissance aircraft, the fastest turbojet powered aircraft known. Operational.

VentureStar - Lockheed-Martin orbital single-stage VTHL spaceplane and successor to the X-33 proof-of-concept vehicle. The spacecraft was a fully reusable combined launch vehicle, orbiter, and spaceplane using linear aerospike engines for greatly increased efficiency. It sported a lifting body design with small wings for control. Studied mid-1990s. Conceptual.

Winged V-2 - V-2 fitted with wings for added range. Achieved Mach 4 in January 1945. Flew 2x1945 .

XCOR Xerus - Suborbital runway-launched spaceplane under development by XCOR Aerospace. It uses in-house piston-pump liquid propellant engines and burns methane or kerosene and liquid oxygen. Under development 2007.

X-20 Dyna-Soar - One-person ballistic orbital reconnaissance spaceplane or orbital bombardment vehicle to be launched by Titan III liquid rocket with solid propellant strap-on boosters. Project under development 1957-1963, then canceled.

X-24A - Flew 28 times 1969-1971. Shape borrowed by X-38 CRV.

X-24B - Flying Flatiron Modified from X-24A. Double-delta planiform. Flew 1973-1975.

X-1 - Bell research rocket aircraft, first manned vehicle to break the sound barrier, October 14, 1947.

X-2 - Bell rocket-research aircraft, the first to reach Mach 3.

X-15 - Joint NASA/Department of Defense rocket-powered research vehicle; reached 67 miles altitude and Mach 6.7 in the early 1960s, and provided data for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. Flew 199x1959-1968.

X-30 NASP - The National Aerospace Plane was to have used scramjet engines in a lifting body waverider to achieve single-stage-to-orbit spaceflight and rapid flight between major cities. Conceptual early 1990s.

X-33 - Subscale demonstrator for the VentureStar SSTO spaceplane. X-33 was an unmanned VTHL lifting body with integral composite propellant tanks and linear aerospike engines. The project was canceled in 2001 because of tank construction problems and concerns of unmanned test flights over the continental United States.

X-43 Hyper X - Unmanned scramjet vehicle, launched by B-52 mothership and Pegasus booster; demonstrated hypersonic cruise at speeds between Mach 6 and 10.

Flew 2x2004 .

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