Jets and Moon Rockets: 1957-1970

The Boeing Company ... Booster Rockets

On Sept. 15, 1966, the first Boeing Burner II/IIA rocket booster made its initial flight. It was the first solid-fuel upper-stage vehicle with full control and guidance capability to be used for general space applications. It was originally built to be used with the Douglas Thor first-stage booster but later was adapted for use with all Air Force space boosters.

The Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) two-stage payload-delivery vehicle was first launched in 1982. The IUS is a crewless, upper-stage booster rocket carried into low Earth orbit and then launched. Based on the Burner II upper-stage booster, the IUS has continued to be used to position satellites into higher orbit or to send space probes to other planets. It is compatible with both the space shuttle and the Titan IV launch vehicles, so the IUS has delivered payloads to a wide range of Earth orbits.

Another upper-stage vehicle Boeing studied in 1984 was the automatically controlled Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV). The OTV was to be a reusable liquid-fueled spacecraft that could transfer up to 10 tons of payload from one orbit to another in space. It could be ground based or space based at a space station, and while it was not built, it led to Boeing work on the International Space Station.

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