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Comparison of heavy lift launch systems

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

For this article, heavy lift launch systems are determined as being those capable of lifting at least 20,000 kg to LEO (low Earth orbit) or at least 9,000 kg to GTO (geosynchronous transfer orbit). Systems that have not yet conducted a successful launch are listed in italics.

Vehicle Origin Manufacturer Mass to
Mass to
(Mil US$)
Record Status
Angara A5  Russia Khrunichev 024,500sm=n 006,600sm=n 0/0 Development
Ares V  United States Alliant Techsystems
TBD (Stage two)
188,000sm=n 0/0 Development
Ares I  United States Alliant Techsystems (Stage I)
Boeing (Stage II)
025,600sm=n[1] 0/0 Development
Ariane 5 ECA  Europe EADS Astrium 021,000[2]sm=n 009,600 [3]sm=n 00$20,000[4]sm=n 18/19 Operational
Ariane 5 ES  Europe EADS Astrium 021,000[2]sm=n 008,000 [3]sm=n 1/1 Operational
Delta IV Heavy  United States United Launch Alliance 022,950 [5]sm=n 012,980 [5]sm=n 2/3 Operational
Energia  Soviet Union NPO Energia 098000 100,000 [6]sm=n * Retired
Falcon 9 Heavy  United States SpaceX 029,610 [7]sm=n 015,010 [7]sm=n 000094.5 [7]sm=n 003,273sm=n 007,500sm=n 0/0 Development
Long March 5  People's Republic of China 025,000 [8]sm=n 014,000 [8]sm=n 0/0 Development
N1  Soviet Union NPO Energia 070,000sm=n 0/4 Cancelled
Proton  Soviet Union
Khrunichev 021,600[9]sm=n 006,360[9]sm=n 000085 [10]sm=n 00$4,302 [10]sm=n 0$18,359 [10]sm=n 291/331[11] Operational
Space Shuttle  United States Alliant Techsystems (SRBs)
Martin Marietta (ET)
Rockwell International (Orbiter)
024,400 sm=n 003,810 (with Inertial Upper Stage) sm=n 000300 [10]sm=n 0$10,416 [10]sm=n 0$50,874 [10]sm=n *** Operational
Saturn V  United States Boeing (S-IC)
North American (S-II)
Douglas (S-IVB)
118,000sm=n 12/12 ** Retired
Saturn INT-21  United States Boeing (S-IC)
North American (S-II)
075,000sm=n 1/1 Retired
Titan IVB  United States Lockheed Martin 021,682sm=n[12] 005,761 [12]
(9,000 with upper stage) sm=n
000350 250 - 350 [12]sm=n 013836 11,530 - 13,836sm=n 060753 43,395 - 60,753sm=n 15/17 Retired

* The launch record of Energia is controversial. The vehicle launched twice, but only the on the second flight the payload successfully reached orbit. The initial Soviet press releases listed the first flight as a successful suborbital test of the Energia with a dummy payload. Later information revealed that the flight had actually carried the "Polyus" payload, not a dummy, and had intended to inject the spacecraft into orbit after separation from the launcher. For more information, see Energia or Polyus (spacecraft) articles."

** The launch record of Saturn V shows 12 Apollo flights, the INT-21 variant used to launch Skylab is listed separately

*** The space shuttle has successfully launched to orbit 125 times (the failure being the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986); it has completed its mission including landing 124 times (the second failure occurring on the re-entry of the orbiter vehicle, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003). Thus, the orbital launch record is 125/126, but the mission success record is 124/126.

See also

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Published - July 2009

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