US Rockets

While all manned spaceflights from the Russia and the former Soviet Union have used variants of the R-7 rocket, and China has used the CZ-2F variant of the Long March series, the United States has used a number of different vehicles to put people into space.

Redstone was first, used for the early sub-orbital Mercury flights. Then came the Atlas for the remaining Mercury flights. Titan II was used for Gemini, and the Saturn and Saturn V for Apollo, Skylab, and ASTP. The Space Transport System (Shuttle) was used until 2011.

The Ares was the intended follow to the spacde shuttle, but was cancelled after a single test flight. It was in turn replaced by the SLS (Space Launch System).

Civilian launch vehicles also play a part in the US Space program. SpaceX is using the Falcon 9, while the Boeing Starliner uses Atlas V from ULA (United Launch Alliance).

These pages are intended to be brief overviews for each family and not extensive or detailed histories.

US rocket size comparison
Scale models showing representative sizes of the rockets used for the US manned space programs.

From the left: Redstone, Atlas, Titan II, Saturn V

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Last updated: 06 November 2023 19:25:35.

NOTE: While the United States has used a number of other rockets in its space program (Agena, Juno, Jupiter, and Vanguard to name a few) we only have pages for those directly involved in manned flight. While we have no plans to the contrary, if you wish to write a page about one of these "lesser" launch vehicles and send it to us, we may publish it (with prominent credit to the true author, of course).