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Pegasus

Pegasus (Pegsat) under NB-52 [NASA]

Pegasus-H under L-1011 [OSC]

Pegasus-XL (CYGNSS) under L-1011 [OSC]

HXLV with Hyper-X 1 under NB-52 [OSC]

The Pegasus is the first successful air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Pegasus was designed as a replacement for the Scout launch vehicle for small payloads. It is a three stage solid fuel rocket with optional liquid fouth stage (HAPS) for improved performance.

The original version was launched by NASA's Boeing NB-52 aircraft, while the later versions used OSC's Lockheed L-1011 aircraft. The Pegasus-H (aka Hybrid Pegasus) is the standard Pegasus modified for L-1011 launch with the aft fins angled down to allow the L-1011's main gear retracting. The Performance of the Pegasus was further improved by stretching the first and second stages to create the Pegasus-XL. A single stage derivative called HXLV launched NASA's Hyper-X scramjet demonstrator.

A ground launched wingless derivative with Castor-120 as first stage is called Taurus. The second and third stages form also the upper stages for the Minotaur. A wingless version called OBV has been developed as a silo-based launcher for the GBI missile defense

In October 2016, Orbital ATK announced a partnership with Stratolaunch Systems to launch Pegasus-XL rockets from the giant Stratolaunch 'Roc' carrier plane, which could launch up to three Pegasus-XL rockets on a single sortie.

 

→ complete list of all Pegasus based rockets

Version Aircraft Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Pegasus B-52 Orion-50S Orion-50 Orion-38 -
Pegasus HAPS B-52 Orion-50S Orion-50 Orion-38 HAPS / 3 × MR-107K
Pegasus-H L-1011 Orion-50S Orion-50 Orion-38 -
Pegasus-XL L-1011 Orion-50SXL Orion-50XL Orion-38 -
Pegasus-XL HAPS L-1011 Orion-50SXL Orion-50XL Orion-38 HAPS / 3 × MR-107K
HXLV B-52 Orion-50S - - -
Performance (kg) LEO LPEO SSO GTO GEO MolO IP
Pegasus 400 - - - -
Pegasus HAPS 425 - - - -
Pegasus-H 400 - - - -
Pegasus-XL 475 365 125 - - -
Pegasus-XL HAPS 500 - - - -
HXLV - - - - - - -
No.TypNo Type             Date          LS             Aircrft       Payload 

  1   1  Pegasus          05.04.1990    Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        SECS (USA 55) / Pegsat
  2   1  Pegasus HAPS     17.07.1991  P Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        Microsat 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 (SCS 1 - 7)
  3   2  Pegasus          09.02.1993    CC RW15/33     NB-52B        SCD 1 / Orbcomm-CDS 1 (OXP)
  4   3  Pegasus          25.04.1993    Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        ALEXIS (P89-1B) / Orbcomm-CDS 2 (VSUME)
  5   2  Pegasus HAPS     19.05.1994  P Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        STEP 2 (P91-2, SIDEX) 
  6   1  Pegasus-XL       28.06.1994  F Va RW30/12     L-1011        STEP 1 (P90-1)
  7   4  Pegasus          03.08.1994    Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        APEX (P90-1)
  8   1  Pegasus-H        03.04.1995    Va RW30/12     L-1011        OrbView 1 (MicroLab) / Orbcomm FM01 / Orbcomm FM02
  9   2  Pegasus-XL       22.06.1995  F Va RW30/12     L-1011        STEP 3 (P92-2)
 10   3  Pegasus-XL       09.03.1996    Va RW30/12     L-1011        REX 2 (P94-2)
 11   2  Pegasus-H        17.05.1996    Va RW30/12     L-1011        MSTI 3
 12   4  Pegasus-XL       02.07.1996    Va RW30/12     L-1011        TOMS-EP
 13   5  Pegasus-XL       21.08.1996    Va RW30/12     L-1011        FAST (SMEX 2)
 14   6  Pegasus-XL       04.11.1996  P WI RW04/22?    L-1011        SAC-B / HETE 1
 15   7  Pegasus-XL       21.04.1997    Ga RW03/21     L-1011        Minisat 01 / Celestis 01 
 16   8  Pegasus-XL       01.08.1997    Va RW30/12     L-1011        OrbView 2 (SeaStar)
 17   9  Pegasus-XL       29.08.1997    Va RW30/12     L-1011        FORTE (P94-1)
 18  10  Pegasus-XL       22.10.1997    WI RW04/22?    L-1011        STEP 4 (P95-1)
 19   1  Pegasus-XL HAPS  23.12.1997    WI RW04/22?    L-1011        Orbcomm FM05 / FM06 / FM07 / FM08 / FM09 / FM10 / FM11 / FM12
 20  11  Pegasus-XL       26.02.1998    Va RW30/12     L-1011        SNOE (STEDI 1) / BATSAT (Teledesic T1)
 21  12  Pegasus-XL       02.04.1998    Va RW30/12     L-1011        TRACE (SMEX 4)
 22   2  Pegasus-XL HAPS  02.08.1998    WI RW04/22?    L-1011        Orbcomm FM13 / FM14 / FM15 / FM16 / FM17 / FM18 / FM19 / FM20
 23   3  Pegasus-XL HAPS  23.09.1998    WI RW04/22?    L-1011        Orbcomm FM21 / FM22 / FM23 / FM24 / FM25 / FM26 / FM27 / FM28
 24   3  Pegasus-H        22.10.1998    CC RW13/31     L-1011        SCD 2
 25  13  Pegasus-XL       06.12.1998    Va RW30/12     L-1011        SWAS (SMEX 3)
 26  14  Pegasus-XL       05.03.1999    Va RW30/12     L-1011        WIRE (SMEX 5)
 27   4  Pegasus-XL HAPS  18.05.1999    Va RW30/12     L-1011        TERRIERS (STEDI 2) / MUBLCOM
 28   5  Pegasus-XL HAPS  04.12.1999    WI RW04/22?    L-1011        Orbcomm FM30 / FM31 / FM32 / FM33 / FM34 / FM35 / FM36
 29  15  Pegasus-XL       07.06.2000    Va RW30/12     L-1011        TSX 5 (P95-2)
 30   4  Pegasus-H        09.10.2000    Kw RW06/24     L-1011        HETE 2
 31   1  HXLV             02.06.2001 *F Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        X-43A 1 (Hyper-X 1)
 32  16  Pegasus-XL       05.02.2002    CC RW13/31     L-1011        HESSI (SMEX 6)
 33  17  Pegasus-XL       25.01.2003    CC RW13/31     L-1011        SORCE
 35  18  Pegasus-XL       28.04.2003    CC RW13/31     L-1011        GALEX (SMEX 7)
 36  19  Pegasus-XL       26.06.2003    Va RW30/12     L-1011        OrbView 3
 37  20  Pegasus-XL       13.08.2003    Va RW30/12     L-1011        SciSat 1
 40   2  HXLV             27.03.2004 *  Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        X-43A 2 (Hyper-X 2)
 41   3  HXLV             16.11.2004 *  Ed RW04/22     NB-52B        X-43A 3 (Hyper-X 3)
 42   6  Pegasus-XL HAPS  15.04.2005    Va RW30/12     L-1011        DART
 44  21  Pegasus-XL       22.03.2006    Va RW30/12     L-1011        ST 5a / ST 5b / ST 5c
 46  22  Pegasus-XL       25.04.2007    Va RW30/12     L-1011        AIM (SMEX 9)
 48  23  Pegasus-XL       16.04.2008    Kw RW06/24     L-1011        C/NOFS (P00-3)
 50  24  Pegasus-XL       19.10.2008    Kw RW06/24     L-1011        IBEX (SMEX 10) [Star-27H]
 55  25  Pegasus-XL       13.06.2012    Kw RW06/24     L-1011        NuSTAR (SMEX 11)
 57  26  Pegasus-XL       28.06.2013    Va RW30/12     L-1011        IRIS (SMEX 12)
 64  27  Pegasus-XL       15.12.2016    CC RW13/31     L-1011        CYGNSS A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H

 
planned launches

 xx  28  Pegasus-XL       xx.12.2017    Kw RW06/24     L-1011        ICON (MIDEX 8)
 xx  xx  Pegasus-XL       xx.xx.2019    ?              Stratolaunch  ?
 

Launch failures:
 
 2: HAPS failed to generate full thrust
 5: HAPS failed to generate full thrust
 6:
 9:
14: Satellites failed to seperate from Stage 3
31: Destroyed (t+51 sec) after vehicle veered off course (t-5 sec)


Launch sites:

CC  = Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Eastern Test Range, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA USA/ RW13/31 (Skid Strip)
Ed  = Edwards AFB, California, USA USA
Ga  = Base Aerea de Gando, Gran Canaria, Spain SpainKw  = Kwajalein Island, Reagan Test Site (formerly Kwajalein Missile Range), US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA), Marshall Islands Marshall Islands
Va  = Vandenberg AFB, California, USA USA
WI  = Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, USA USA