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Expendable launch system

An expendable launch system throws away the rocket in order to launch some object, called the "payload". Usually the goal is to get the load into low Earth orbit.

Expendable launchers have been simple modifications of 1950s era ballistic missiles. Since the entire vehicle is discarded after launch, they may seem like an expensive launch method, but in practice they are cheaper than the space shuttle (see the shuttle article for a discussion of its economics). Most satellites are launched using expendable launchers because they are perceived as a having a low risk of mission failure, a short time to launch, and a relatively low cost.

Launchers in current use include:

Ariane 5
Atlas 5[?]
Delta 2[?]
Delta 4[?]
H-2A rocket
Long March rocket
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
Proton rocket[?]
Sea Launch[?]
Soyuz launch vehicle
Titan IV[?]

Planned launchers include:

Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle[?]

Historical launchers include:

Ariane 1
Ariane 2 and Ariane 3
Ariane 4
Atlas rocket
Delta 3[?]
Europa rocket
R-7 rocket
Saturn V
Titan I (see Titan rocket)
Titan II[?]
Titan III[?]

See also space transport and spacecraft propulsion.

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