Military Wiki
Manufacturer Hughes Aircraft / Boeing
Country of origin United States
Height 58 m (190 ft)
Diameter 8.38 m (27.5 ft)
Mass 1,154,000 kg (2,544,000 lb)
Stages 3
Payload to
38,000 kg (84,000 lb)
Payload to
13,000 kg (29,000 lb)
Launch history
Status None built
Total launches 0
First Stage
Engines 2x F-1
Thrust 15,481.26 kN (3,480,330 lbf)
Specific impulse 304 seconds (vacuum)
Burn time 170 seconds
Fuel LOX/RP-1
Second Stage
Engines 1x J-2
Thrust 1,031.98 kN (232,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 425 seconds (vacuum)
Burn time 525 seconds
Fuel LOX/LH2
Third Stage
Engines 8x R-4D
Thrust 3.92 kN (880 lbf)
Specific impulse 312 seconds
Fuel N2O4/MMH

Jarvis was a proposed American heavy-lift launch vehicle for space launch, designed by Hughes Aircraft and Boeing during the mid-1980s as part of the joint United States Air Force (USAF)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Advanced Launch System study. Intended to utilize engines and tooling in storage from the Saturn V rocket program along with Space Shuttle components, and projected to be capable of carrying up to six satellites into multiple orbits using a single launch, the proposal failed to meet the ALS requirements, and the Jarvis rocket was never built.


Jointly proposed by Hughes and Boeing as a heavy-lift rocket, using propulsion systems and equipment built for the Saturn V rocket and placed in storage at the end of the Apollo program,[1] as well as Space Shuttle components,[2] Jarvis was intended to be capable of launching major components of the planned Space Station Freedom and commercial satellites.[1] The rocket was named after Hughes employee and NASA mission specialist Gregory Jarvis, who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in January 1986.[1]

Submitted as part of the Advanced Launch System studies jointly conducted by the United States Air Force and NASA for a new heavy-lift rocket system capable of substituting for the Space Shuttle and expanding upon its capabilities,[3] Jarvis was planned as a three-stage rocket capable of launching a payload of up to 83,000 pounds (38,000 kg) to low earth orbit, or 28,000 pounds (13,000 kg) to geosynchronous orbit; the rocket was projected to cost under $300 million USD per launch;[4] some estimates had a per-launch cost of the Jarvis vehicle at a cost as low as $150 million each, with $1 billion being cited as the projected development cost of the rocket system.[5]

The first stage of the Jarvis vehicle was designed to use two Rocketdyne F-1 engines, powered by RP-1 rocket fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX); these were the same engines used by the Saturn V's first stage. The second stage would use a single Rocketdyne J-2 LOX/liquid hydrogen (LH2) engine, while the third stage was intended to utilise eight Marquardt R-4D reaction control system thrusters, fueled by a hypergolic mix of nitrogen tetroxide and monomethylhydrazine (N2O4/MNH), to provide final boost, and to allow for the deployment of multiple payloads into different orbits.[4][6] Jarvis was designed to be capable of carrying payloads of up to 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter; as many as six satellites could be carried on a single rocket,[7] and it was suggested that the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation be deployed in this manner.[8] Although Hughes received an Air Force contract to study the Jarvis vehicle,[6] the Jarvis failed to meet the Air Force's requirements for the ALS, being too large in size compared to the specification.[9] In 1986, Hughes stated that the rocket could be operational by the 1990s,[6] with launches beginning two years after project go-ahead;[10] however the U.S. Air Force rejected the Hughes-Boeing proposal.[11] Consideration was given to continuing the Jarvis project as a private venture,[11] and the Jarvis was mentioned as meeting the requirements for a launch vehicle to be used in the establishment of a lunar base in a 1992 conference on the subject,[12] however nothing further came of the proposal, while the entire Advanced Launch System development effort was scaled back into the National Launch System before being cancelled in 1992.[13]

See also

  • Saturn C-3
  • Saturn INT-20


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Smith 1989, p.280
  2. Logsdon 1988, p. 138
  3. Thompson and Guerrier 1989, p.30
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Air Force Studies MLV". New York: McGraw-Hill. August 4, 1986. p. 34. 
  5. "Shuttles: Hughes Aircraft proposes rocket to help fill the void left by disaster". The Deseret News. Salt Lake City, UT. August 14, 1986.,5788638&dq=jarvis+rocket&hl=en. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Future Rocket Will Make 'Local' Stops". New York: Hearst. December 1986. p. 125. 
  7. Curtis 1990, p. 376
  8. Air Force Magazine, February 1986, p.32
  9. Gavaghan, Helen (29 January 1987). "Military satellites return to rockets". London: Reed Business Information. p. 37. 
  10. Harwood, William (September 22, 1986). "Rocket builders are revamping technology". The Bryan Times. Bryan, Ohio. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "The Air Force dropped the Jarvis rocket bid". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. November 26, 1986. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  12. Dowling et al. in Mendell 1992, p. 180
  13. Henry 2003, p. 10

External links

  • Jarvis at Encyclopedia Astronautica

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