Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- for a launch into an orbital spaceflight and beyond:
- for the launch into a suborbital flight also:
- for launches not into space also:
If a rocket is launched to deliver a payload from a planetary surface into space it is called a launch vehicle.
There are several broad categories that launch vehicles fall under, including:
"Rocket launch technologies" generally refers to the entire set of systems needed to successfully launch a vehicle, not just the vehicle itself, but also the firing control systems , ground control station , launch pad, and tracking stations needed for a successful launch and/or recovery.
For the launch vehicles currently in use for human spaceflight, see that article.
Commercial launch service providers include:
- Boeing Launch Services Inc. (BLS) - Delta rocket
- EADS SPACE Transportation / Arianespace SA - Ariane rocket
- International Launch Services (ILS)  - Atlas rocket and Proton rocket
There were ca. 46 launches into space in 2004.
Term launch vehicle
The term derives from the American satellite program, Project Vanguard, as a contraction of the phrase "Satellite Launching Vehicle" abbreviated as "SLV" as a term in the list of what the rockets were allocated for: flight test, or actually launching a satellite. The contraction would also apply to rockets which send probes to other worlds or the interplanetary medium.
In the English language, the phrase carrier rocket was used earlier, and still is in some circles in Britain. A translation of that phrase is used in German and Russian. The U.S. Air Force detested the term carrier, which would refer to their competition, the aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy. For this reason they called one airplane which carried another a conveyor.
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