Liberty (rocket)

Liberty is the name of a launcher, which is still in the concept stage. As part of the CCDev 2 partners Alliant Techsystems ( ATK ) and EADS Astrium NASA proposed the development of this launcher, as a commercial successor product for the Space Shuttle.

Mission requirements

As a successor to the decommissioned space shuttle fleet, NASA is looking for a rocket for the launch of manned and unmanned payloads into low earth orbit. The start-up costs compared to the Space Shuttle will be significantly reduced.


For the development of the Liberty for both partners to contribute their experience from previous developments carrier. ATK provides the solid rocket boosters for the Space Shuttle or the first stage of the Ares I, Astrium is prime contractor for the Ariane 5 On the basis of these components, the Liberty is to be developed.

According to current plans, the first step would be taken over by the Ares I. This is again a extended from four to five segments boosters of the Space Shuttle. L- 3 Communications would contribute the avionics for the first stage. The upper stage would consist of a converted main stage of the Ariane 5, which is driven by a Vulcain 2. However, were to be made for this adaptation still some development work. So far, the Vulcain 2 is for example not qualify for an ignition in orbit.

Because of the already made test flight of the Ares IX mission parts necessary for the operation of the Liberty infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center would already exist.

Project Status

In the second round of the CCDev, with the NASA promotes private development of space systems, the Liberty did not come into play. However, this project has been in the " Technical availability " given good marks. The development of the Liberty so will be pursued from company funds and ATK hopes for a consideration in the next CCDev round. A first test flight is scheduled for late 2013. From 2015, the rocket is then able to bring payloads into orbit. NASA announced that it wants to help the consortium in the development of the rocket.

The Liberty consortium has since the beginning of May 2012 a space capsule for five astronauts to the rocket. This could become operational in 2015. The space capsule will have the form of the NASA Orion capsule, but are built from composite material. In addition, they should receive a rescue system, which although works with rocket engines, but does not require the heavy tower of a rescue rocket.

On July 3, 2012 it was announced that along with the space capsule for a maximum of seven astronauts now a pressurized cargo module with 2.27 tonnes of cargo capacity and other, non-pressurized, freight to be transported to the ISS. The maximum payload of the pressurized module is to amount to 2.31 ​​tons. After posting the picture Frachmodul should be installed between the spacecraft and their propulsion module.


  • Height of the rocket: 90 m
  • Payload to orbit the ISS: 20,185 kg