Conestoga (rocket)

The Conestoga rocket was one of the company Space Service ( SSI), from 1990 EER Systems Corporation, privately developed launch vehicle for small satellites in low orbits.

Conestoga -1

The Conestoga -1 was an attempt, based on the second stage abgerüsteter Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles, similar to the Aries rocket, but to develop two additional upper stages, a launcher for small satellites. A test rocket with mock-ups of the upper level has been tested successfully on 9 September 1982 on a suborbital flight from the Texas Matagorda Island from. The complete rocket but was never flown, as no orders were secured. The SSI company then developed the modular Conestoga 1000 rocket.

Conestoga -1000

The Conestoga -1000 series was a modular, assembled from already proven ingredients rocket, which had nothing in common with the former more Conestoga -1 design. It is based on up to seven occasions Castor-IV-A/B-Raketenmotoren bundled, were used in the delta rocket in large numbers. In this case, a castor IV-B served as a booster central stage of the rocket. In this block there are one or two solid upper stages and optionally the run with hydrazine correction stage HMACs was dependent on the configuration ( Hydrazine Maneuvering and Attitude Control System).

The modular design of the rocket could be produced in several variants with different payload capacities. To identify the versions of the rocket, a four-digit marking system was used similar to the delta. Single digits were assigned place by the following key:

  • The first digit corresponds to the first stage and type of the side booster.
  • The second digit indicated the number of lateral boosters.
  • The third digit stood for the type of the first upper
  • The fourth digit stood for the type of the second school ( 0 if not available)

There was only one flight in Conestoga -1620 configuration instead, which should bring the microgravity research satellites METEOR 1 of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility of the out into space on 23 October 1995. Due to a control problem, the rocket exploded shortly after takeoff. The Conestoga rocket was in direct competition with the Athena and Taurus. Due to lack of demand, no further flights took place.