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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launch vehicles, and super heavy-lift launch vehicles have also been extensively developed but have not completely superseded the small vehicles.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]

Contents

Small-lift launch vehiclesEdit

Vehicle Origin Manufacturer Mass to
LEO
(kg)
Mass to
other orbits
(kg)
Launches Status First flight Last flight
SS-520   Japan IHI 3 2 Operational 2017
Vanguard   United States Martin 9[9] 11(+1) Retired 1957 1959
Lambda 4S   Japan Nissan Motors[10] 26[11] 5 Retired 1966 1977[12]
SLV   India ISRO 40[13] 4 Retired 1979 1983
Safir   Iran Iranian Space Agency 50[14] 6+1[15][16] Operational 2008
Vector-R   United States Vector Space Systems 60[17] 0(+2) Development (2017)
Black Arrow   United Kingdom RAE 73[18] 4 Retired 1969[note 1] 1971
ARION-1   Spain PLD Space 100[19] 0 Development
Simorgh   Iran Iranian Space Agency 100-350[20] 1(+1)[21] Operational 2016
Naro-1   South Korea
  Russia
KARI/Khrunichev 100[22] 3 Retired 2009 2013
Unha   North Korea KCST 100[23] 3 Operational 2009
Volna   Russia Makeyev 100[24] 1(+5)[25] Retired 1995[note 2] 2005[25]
Kaituozhe-1   China CALT 100[26] 2 Retired 2002 2003[27]
Diamant   France SEREB 107[28][29] 12 Retired 1965 1975
Vector-H   United States Vector Space Systems 110[30] 0 Development
Electron   New Zealand Rocket Lab 225[31] 6 Operational 2017
Shavit   Israel IAE 160[32] 10 Operational 1988
Scout   United States US Air Force/NASA 174[33] 125 Retired 1961 1994
Mu-4S   Japan Nissan Motors[10] 180[11] 4 Retired 1971 1972
Mu-3C   Japan Nissan Motors[10] 195[11] 4 Retired 1974 1979
ARION-2   Spain PLD Space 150[19] 0 Development
Tronador II   Argentina CONAE 250[34] 0 Development
Shtil'   Russia Makeyev 280 - 420 [35] 2[25] Retired 1998 2006
Mu-3H   Japan Nissan Motors[10] 300[11] 3 Retired 1977 1978
Mu-3S   Japan Nissan Motors[10] 300[11] 4 Retired 1980 1984
Long March 1 (CZ-1)   China CALT 300[36] 2[37] Retired[38] 1970[37] 1971[37]
Delta 1913   United States McDonnell Douglas 328[39] 1[40] Retired 1973 1973
Delta 2310   United States McDonnell Douglas 336[41] 3[40] Retired 1974 1981
Delta 1410   United States McDonnell Douglas 340[42] 1[40] Retired 1975 1975
VLS-1   Brazil AEB, INPE 380[43] 2[note 3] Retired 1997 2003
Delta 1604   United States McDonnell Douglas 390[44] 2[40] Retired 1972 1973
Kuaizhou-1   China CASC 400[45] 3[45] Operational 2013[45]
Kuaizhou-11   China CASC 1,500 0 Development
Falcon 1   United States SpaceX 420[46] 5 Retired[47] 2006 2009
Pegasus   United States Orbital 443[48] 43[49] Operational 1990
Sputnik 8K71PS   Soviet Union RSC Energia 500[50] 2 Retired 1957 1957
Start-1   Russia MITT 532[51] 350 to SSO[52] 5[53] Operational 1993
Minotaur I   United States Orbital 580[54] 11[55] Operational 2000
Minotaur IV   United States Orbital 1,735[56] 4(+2)[57] Operational 2010[57]
Minotaur-C   United States Orbital 1,450[58] 1,050[58] to SSO 10[59] Operational[60] 1994
Long March 6   China CALT 500 to SSO 2 Operational 2015
Long March 11   China CALT 700[61] 3 Operational 2015[62]
Paektusan   North Korea KCST 700[63] 1 Retired 1998
Long March 1D(CZ-1D)   China CALT 740[64] 0(+3) Retired 1995[note 4] 2002
Mu-3SII   Japan Nissan Motors[10] 770[11] 8 Retired 1985 1995
Athena I   United States Lockheed Martin 795[65] 515 to GTO 4[66] Retired 1995 2001
Delta 3913   United States McDonnell Douglas 816[67] 1[40] Retired 1981 1981
Alpha   United States Firefly Aerospace 1,000[68] 600 to SSO 0 Development
J-I   Japan IHI Corporation
Nissan Motors[10]
1,000[69] 0(+1) Retired 1996 1996
Delta 1910   United States McDonnell Douglas 1,066[70] 1[40] Retired 1975 1975
N-I   Japan
  United States
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1,200[71] 7 Retired 1975 1982[citation needed]
Atlas-Centaur   United States Lockheed 1,134[72] 2,222 to GTO [73] 148 Retired 1962 1983
Epsilon   Japan IHI Aerospace[74]      1,200[11] 3 Operational[11] 2013
Delta 0900   United States McDonnell Douglas 1,300[75] 818 to SSO[40] 2[40] Retired 1972 1972
Sputnik 8A91   Soviet Union RSC Energia 1,327 2 Retired 1958 1958
Ariane 1   Europe Aérospatiale 1,400 1,830 to GTO[76] 11[76] Retired 1979 1986
Kosmos-3M   Soviet Union
  Russia
NPO Polyot 1,500[77] 442[78] Retired 1967 2010
Strela   Russia Khrunichev 1,400[79] 3[80] Operational[80] 2003
H-I   Japan
  United States
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1,400[81] 9 Retired 1986 1992
M-V   Japan Nissan Motors[10] (-2000)
IHI AEROSPACE[74] (-2006)
1,800 - 1,850[11] 7 Retired 1997 2006
Athena II   United States Lockheed Martin 1,800[82] 3[83] Retired[84] 1998 1999
Delta 1900   United States McDonnell Douglas 1,800[40] 1[40] Retired 1973 1973
Delta 2910   United States McDonnell Douglas 1,887[40] 6[40] Retired 1975 1978
Rokot   Russia Khrunichev 1,950[85] 1,200 to SSO 30[86][87] Operational 1990
ASLV   India ISRO 150 4 Retired 1987 1994
Vega   Italy Avio 1,450 to SSO 13 Operational 2012
SSLV   India Antrix Corporation 500 300 to SSO 0 Development

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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NotesEdit

  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 readingEdit

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

External linksEdit