SPACE: Launch vehicles

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 05:04:33 MDT

In going through the current documented launch capacities
and costs (URLs provided by Carol Tilley), I am struck
by the following...

According to the quoted prices, using Energia rockets you
could dump 7 out of 8 launches into the ocean and still get
more material actually "in orbit" for the same cost.
While they may be unreliable, they aren't *that* unreliable.

Part of this seems to be due to the lower launch weight.
Energia: .68 Mlbs, Proton: 1.55 Mlbs, Titan IV: 1.9 Mlbs.
LEO Payloads:
Energia: 88 Kkg, Proton M: 22 Kkg, Titan IV SRM/US: 23 Kkg.

Now *why* do the Russian rockets weigh so much less than
the U.S. rockets and yet have payload capacities of so
much more?!? Or are the numbers quoted actually wrong?

Its interesting to note that Intl. Launch Svs. (
documents that Atlas V rockets will be flying on Russian RD-180

A sad testimony to the state of engine design in the U.S.


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