Launch vehicle

A launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket designed to carry a payload (spacecraft or satellites) from the Earth's surface to outer space. Most launch vehicles operate from a launch pads, supported by a launch control center and systems such as vehicle assembly and fueling.[1] Launch vehicles are engineered with advanced aerodynamics and technologies, which contribute to large operating costs.

Comparison of launch vehicles. Show payload masses to LEO, GTO, TLI and MTO
Russian Soyuz TMA-5 lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan heading for the International Space Station

An orbital launch vehicle must lift its payload at least to the boundary of space, approximately 150 km (93 mi) and accelerate it to a horizontal velocity of at least 7,814 m/s (17,480 mph).[2] Suborbital vehicles launch their payloads to lower velocity or are launched at elevation angles greater than horizontal.

Practical orbital launch vehicles are multistage rockets which use chemical propellants such as solid fuel, liquid hydrogen, kerosene, liquid oxygen, or Hypergolic propellants.

Launch vehicles are classified by their orbital payload capacity, ranging from small-, medium-, heavy- to super-heavy lift.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Launch vehicle, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.