Pegasus (rocket)

The American Pegasus launch vehicle was developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation and can bring a payload of around 450 kg in low earth orbit.

The start is from an airplane, initially a Boeing B- 52 was used for this purpose, later a Lockheed L -1011 TriStar. At the start of the missile is oriented horizontally for 5 seconds and falls from the aircraft before the first stage fire. The missile consists of three stages, which are operated with all the solid propellant, optionally a further driven with hydrazine step can be added.

The first launch took place on 5 April 1990. A slightly stronger version, which was first launched on 27 June 1994, Pegasus XL is called. By October 2008, there were 43 launches, 37 of them were successful.


The three Orion solid motors were the Pegasus from Hercules Aerospace ( later Alliant Techsystems ) specifically designed for this application. Additionally wings were (from Scaled Composites ), and tail fairing newly constructed.

  • Mass: 18.500 kg ( Pegasus ), 23,130 kg ( Pegasus XL)
  • Length: 16.9 m ( Pegasus ), 17.6 m ( Pegasus XL)
  • Diameter: 1.27 m
  • Wingspan: 6.7 m
  • Payload: 443 kg (1.18 m diameter, 2.13 m length)

Further developments and modifications

Based on the Pegasus more missiles were developed:

  • The HXLV missile is a single stage version of Pegasus, which was used to launch the X -43 hypersonic missile.
  • The Taurus -Lite was a prototype for the development of a launcher for the missile defense. These were de facto a ground- launched Pegasus XL rocket without wings.
  • The OBV is the rocket launcher and immediately applicable for missile defense. It corresponds to a silogestarteten version of the Taurus -Lite with modified payload fairing.

More rocket models that combine components of the Pegasus rocket with another rocket stages are:

  • The Taurus rocket, which combines a wingless Pegasus with a first stage of the Peacekeeper ICBM.
  • The Minotaur 1 rocket that combines the second and third stages of the Pegasus with the first and second stage of the Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile.


Taurus -Lite