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  • Martin concept reusable spacecraft Antares. (ca. 1960)

Antares was a 1960 proposal for a sled launched spacecraft. It came from engineer Dandridge Cole and the team at the Martin advanced projects division.

Antares was an early forerunner of the concept for ground launching using a long track to get up to speed. Cole's team suggested that a 15 mile long inclined track would carry a turbojet-powered sled to carry the Antares, a winged nuclear powered shuttle, up to a ground speed of 2000 feet per second. Acceleration along the track would be at 1g and the Antares would then use a nuclear rocket to attain a speed of 10,000 feet per second.

Cole predicted that Antares' first iteration could be built and flying by 1972. The main engines would be derived from the Project Rover nuclear rocket program.

The full vehicle would have weighed 10 to 20 million pounds, it could loft a payload between 2.5 to 5 million pounds. The flight vehicle was a winged shuttle capable of an aerodynamic landing on a runway.