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What uncrewed interplanetary probes have launched on heavy/superheavy-lift rockets? I'm using NASA's definitions of heavy and super-heavy vehicles; heavy-lift is 20-50 metric tons to LEO, super-heavy is 50+ metric tons.

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  • $\begingroup$ Only one I know about so far is Cassini, which launched on a Titan IV/Centaur. $\endgroup$
    – DylanSp
    Aug 7 '17 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ Europa clipper, which I believe is under 7 tons, will launch on an sls rocket in the 2020's $\endgroup$ Aug 7 '17 at 23:58
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If you count Shuttle as a heavy lift vehicle:

Galileo (to Jupiter) on STS-34

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Magellan (to Venus) on STS-30

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Ulysses (to the Sun) on STS-41

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In addition to the shuttle-based missions, I see:

Both launchers are at the low end of "heavy lift".

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Energia launching the military Polyus satellite in 1987. 80 tons of payload delivered to orbit. Wiki

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  • $\begingroup$ Polyus stayed in Earth orbit though. I read 'Exploration probes' as interplanetary missions. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Aug 8 '17 at 9:59
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, interplanetary was what I had in mind. I've edited the question to clarify that. $\endgroup$
    – DylanSp
    Aug 8 '17 at 10:53
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    $\begingroup$ @DylanSp I've heard there was this idea in the 1970s to send super Voyagers to the outer Solar system with Saturn V. But Saturn V never launched anything interplanetary (not counting the Moon). And the Russians only launched Energia twice, with its uncrewed shuttle and with that very heavy laser weapon which then turned itself the wrong way around and bursted itself to burn up in the atmosphere. The Europa Clipper mission on SLS would be the first one, if that happens. But they seem to develop the spacecraft for the smaller current launchers. $\endgroup$
    – LocalFluff
    Aug 8 '17 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ @LocalFluff Interesting; hadn't heard that about the super-Voyagers. Part of the reason I'm asking this question is to see what probes used really expensive launchers, so I could look at their budgets and see how much was spent on the launch vehicle. $\endgroup$
    – DylanSp
    Aug 8 '17 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @LocalFluff interesting, never knew about the second Energia flight or the super voyagers! Anywhere I can read more information on both? $\endgroup$ Aug 8 '17 at 14:58

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