Pegasus (rocket)

Pegasus (Rocket)

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Pegasus (rocket)

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Description:
The Pegasus rocket is a winged space launch vehicle capable of carrying small, unmanned payloads () into low Earth orbit. It is air-launched, as part of an expendable launch system developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation (Orbital). Three main stages burning solid propellant provide the thrust. It flies as a rocket-powered aircraft before leaving the atmosphere.

The Pegasus is carried aloft below a carrier aircraft and launched at approximately . The carrier aircraft provides flexibility to launch the rocket from anywhere rather than just a fixed pad. A high-altitude, winged flight launch also allows the rocket to avoid flight in the densest part of the atmosphere where a larger launch vehicle, carrying much more fuel, would be needed to overcome air friction and gravity.

Pegasus program

The Pegasus's three Orion solid motors were developed by Hercules Aerospace (now Alliant Techsystems) specifically for the Pegasus launcher. Additionally, wing and tail assemblies and a payload fairing were developed. Most of the Pegasus was designed by a team led by Dr. Antonio Elias. The wing was designed by Burt Rutan.

  • Mass: 18,500 kg (Pegasus), 23,130 kg (Pegasus XL)
  • Length: 16.9 m (Pegasus), 17.6 m (Pegasus XL)
  • Diameter: 1.27 m
  • Wing span: 6.7 m
  • Payload: 443 kg (1.18 m diameter, 2.13 m length)


Orbital's internal projects, the Orbcomm communications constellation and the OrbView observation satellites, plus Orbcomm-derived satellites (the...
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