Ask a question about 'Prometheus (spacecraft)'
Start a new discussion about 'Prometheus (spacecraft)'
Answer questions from other users
was a proposed manned vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing (VTHL) spaceplane
A spaceplane is a vehicle that operates as an aircraft in Earth's atmosphere, as well as a spacecraft when it is in space. It combines features of an aircraft and a spacecraft, which can be thought of as an aircraft that can endure and maneuver in the vacuum of space or likewise a spacecraft that...
concept put forward by Orbital Sciences Corporation
Orbital Sciences Corporation is an American company which specializes in the manufacturing and launch of satellites. Its Launch Systems Group is heavily involved with missile defense launch systems...
in late 2010 as part of the second phase of NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...
's Commercial Crew Development
Commercial Crew Development is a multiphase space technology development program, funded by the U.S. government, and administered by NASA. The program is intended to stimulate development of privately operated crew vehicles to low Earth orbit. It is run by the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program...
The Prometheus design was based on an earlier NASA design, the HL-20 Personnel Launch System
The HL-20 Personnel Launch System was a circa 1990 NASA spaceplane concept for manned orbital missions studied by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. HL-20 was envisaged as a lifting body re-entry vehicle based on the Soviet BOR-4 spaceplane design featuring low operational costs,...
Prometheus also included other NASA-funded design improvements to HL-20 by Orbital Sciences that were done some years ago as part of NASA's Orbital Space Plane
The Orbital Space Plane program was a NASA concept designed to support the International Space Station requirements for crew rescue, crew transport and contingency cargo such as supplies, food and other needed equipment...
Whereas the HL-20 was a pure lifting body
A lifting body is a fixed-wing aircraft configuration in which the body itself produces lift. In contrast to a flying wing, which is a wing with minimal or no conventional fuselage, a lifting body can be thought of as a fuselage with little or no conventional wing...
the Prometheus design was for a Blended Lifting Body (BLB).
This design combines volumetric efficiency with superior aerodynamic qualities.
Prometheus could have initially carried four astronauts to the International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...
or future commercial space stations but further development could have increased the seating capacity to six. The baselined launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....
was the Atlas V
Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...
, but the design could have accommodated other launch vehicles. The cost of the development of the Prometheus spacecraft and of upgrading the Atlas V would be between $3.5 and $4 billion.
Commercial Crew Development program
Failing to be selected in NASA's CCDev phase 2 program, Orbital Sciences announced in April 2011 that they will likely wind down their efforts to develop a commercial crew vehicle.
- Dream Chaser (spacecraft) - another HL-20 derived proposed spacecraft put forward in 2010 by Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation is an electronic systems provider and systems integrator specializing in microsatellites, energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, and commercial orbital transportation services. The company contracts with the US military, NASA and private spaceflight companies. The company...