SASSTO (Saturn Application Single-Stage-to-Orbit) combined launch vehicle and spacecraft. Only 62.3 ft (19m.) tall, a single plug-nozzle engine would serve both as launch vehicle and for soft-landing back on Earth after an orbital mission. The craft – seen here with a Gemini two-man capsule – would be recovered intact and could be used repeatedly. It would be a particularly appropriate for ferry missions into Earth-orbit including the emergency rescue of astronauts.

  1. Optional fairing around the two-man Gemini Capsule;
  2. Gemini adapter section;
  3. Transition support structure;
  4. Orbit injection / retro and control propellant tanks (6);
  5. Toroidal liquid-oxygen tank;
  6. Annular combustion chamber;
  7. Truncated plug nozzle and re-entry heat shield;
  8. Attitude-control system (4);
  9. Retractable landing legs (4);
  10. Spherical liquid-hydrogen propellant tank.

Text from Frontiers of Space by Philip Bono & Kenneth Gatland, 1969

SASSTO at Astronautix

Philip Bono at Astronautix

Image credit: Douglas

Image source(s):

SDASM Archives

Numbers Station

Convair Lunar Lander


Kraft Ehricke at Astronautix

Image credit: Convair

Image source: Paul Carsola


Space Station 1970 at Astronautix

Image credit: North American Rockwell

Image source(s):



Surface Operations

Kraft Ehricke at Astronautix

Image credit: Convair

Image source: SDASM Archives

Exploratory Vehicle

A Boeing design for a manned orbital or interplanetary reconnaissance vehicle. The vehicle would be built in orbit around the earth around the Earth, inside a plastic bubble having controlled atmosphere and pressure, permitting technicians to work without space suits. Propelled by a nuclear-powered plasma jet, it could travel to planets within our solar-system , carrying shuttle vehicles to make the actual observations of planet surfaces. Nylon nets, rather than flooring, would divide the vehicle into seven levels.

Eagle Book of Rockets and Space

by John W.R. Taylor and Maurice Allward
Longacre Press, 1961

Image credit: Boeing Aircraft Company

Image source: Numbers Station

X-20 by George Mathis

330-PSA-279-62 (USAF 167026): Artwork by George Mathis of how the Air Force Titan III Standard Launch Vehicle may look boosting the United States Air Force X-20 (Dyna-Soar) into orbit, August 1962.

X-20 Dyno-Soar at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: National Museum of U.S. Navy

Apollo Flight Configuration

The Saturn V configuration is shown in inches and meters as illustrated by the Boeing Company. The Saturn V vehicle consisted of three stages: the S-IC (first) stage powered by five F-1 engines, the S-II (second) stage powered by five J-2 engines, the S-IVB (third) stage powered by one J-2 engine. A top for the first three stages was designed to contain the instrument unit, the guidance system, the Apollo spacecraft, and the escape system. The Apollo spacecraft consisted of the lunar module, the service module, and the command module. The Saturn V was designed perform lunar and planetary missions and it was capable of placing 280,000 pounds into Earth orbit.

Saturn V at Astronautix

Image credit: NASA

Image source: NASA MSFC

Assembly & Launch

Image credit: North American Rockwell

Image source: Numbers Station

Outpost III

Convair Outpost at Astronautix

Image credit: Convair

Image source: SDASM Archives

Convair’s Helios

Krafft Ehricke at Astronautix

Image credit: Convair

Image source: SDASM Archives

Artist’s Rendering

Image credit: North American Rockwell

Image source: Numbers Station