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By solids to the Moon: all-solid JPL Nova proposal

Skybolt

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Just after President Kennedy May 1961 call for a lunar landing before the end of the decade, there was a lot of proposals for boosters capable to take a manned lander to the Moon: ever growing Saturns, and Novas built with the most diverse combination of stages, liquid, solid and nuclear. One of the least known proposals, and the only one, to my knowledge, that was totally composed of solid staged (four) for the lunar trajectory insertion of the payload, was proposed in August 1961 by Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA headquarters charged Space Technology Laboratories of Los Angeles (Ca) to evaluate the proposal. STl actually did more that that, re-elaboratoed and refined the all-solid Nova concept, using an Apollo based lunar lander as payload (JPL had used a different capsule, that seems the Convair Astro M-1 proposal...).
So, behold these solid behemoths. First and second stages for both configuration were composed by 300-in monolithic solids, third and fourth of the JPL-s one were monolithic 222-in, 165-in for STL.
One of the method proposed by STL to launch this Nova was an offshore based protected by a semicircular breakwater, serviced by a modified Iowa-class battleship with a 1,500-ton crane in lieu of the aft turret.
Original 1961 JPL report is unavailable online, but here http://hdl.handle.net/2060/19740072201 is a revised version of early-1962.
Here is the only-available portion of the STL evaluation http://hdl.handle.net/2060/19790076743. And here is the JPL comparison of their all-solid proposal with the then current Earth-orbit rendezvous concept based on Saturn C-3s http://hdl.handle.net/2060/19740072519
 

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robunos

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awesome!, i'm assuming that the JPL version, top drawing, would have had an aerodynamic outer shell...

cheers,
Robin.
 

Skybolt

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Yes, but it seems they left it for later refinement work.
 

robunos

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i thought so, but just think what it would have looked like without, and held together with russian style trusses...

cheers,
Robin.
 
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Lee

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All-solid JPL Nova proposal

I hadn't seen the proposed all solid design before.

The only book I had as a teenager or saw at the library suggested that anyone standing unprotected up to 10 or more miles from a booster detonation on the launch pad wouldn't survive the blast if the whole thing was as big as the JPL design.

Solid boosters are simple, but not very controlled in thrust after they're ignited.
I occurs to me: grain cracks, uneven density distribution, chunks of grain breaking off and clogging the throat and grain separation from the inside of the casing can be some potentially disastrous flaws that can destroy a payload or Space Shuttle, for example.

Not that the liquid fuelled engines are less prone to failure by their complex turbomachinery.

One can be about the same as another, but I think liquid engines burn cleaner and pollute less on average.
 

Michel Van

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not only JLP but Aerospace industry well proposed all Solid Moon Rocket

Aerojet-General proposed in spring 1961 at NASA a Solid NOVA Booster
4 Stage rocket build from 3,5 ø meter Modules
first stage 7 Modules with 7700000 kp trust, burntime a minute
Booster weight of 3000000 kg payload in low orbit 160000 kg to Moon or Mars 77000 kg
time from program start to launch first protype in 30 months !

Aerojet-General Small Booster
build from 4 x 2.5 ø meter Modules
first stage - 3 Modules with 2000000 kp trust
Second stage - one Module
payload in low orbit 20000 kg to Moon or Mars 7600 kg
time from program start to launch first protype in 30 months !

major reason for All Solid Moon rocket was time
very fast development, build and Launch in 30 months
they had beaten the Soviet in case they had super booster
other like Boeing or Convair proposed Hybrid Booster
fist stage Solid, second stage LH2/LOX or even NERVA !

source
German Space Book
Astronautik
A.F. Marfeld
Safari-verlag (second editon from spring 1969)
page 92
 

Skybolt

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I have the Boeing one. It was a multiphased study for large hybrid liquid-solid boosters, all the way up from 100.000 lbs low-Earth orbit to Nova-size payloads. The Boeing hybrid Nova I published here in another thread was the end result of that study, but they studied hybrid Saturn C-1, C-2 and C-3 before.
 

Michel Van

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I have the Boeing one.
those ?
SOLID-BOOSTED NOVA VEHICLE SYSTEM STUDY Document D2-22431 Volume III
aka 1966001234.pdf
SOLID-BOOSTED NOVA VEHICLE SYSTEM STUDY (U) Document D2-22431 Volume IV
aka 19890068698.pdf
 

flateric

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GD Apollo is so cute...unsymmetric...waiting patiently
 

Skybolt

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those ?
SOLID-BOOSTED NOVA VEHICLE SYSTEM STUDY Document D2-22431 Volume III
aka 1966001234.pdf
SOLID-BOOSTED NOVA VEHICLE SYSTEM STUDY (U) Document D2-22431 Volume IV
aka 19890068698.pdf
No, that was the 1963 study, already published in the Boeing Nova thread. I was referring to 1961 studies. I have the reports on my disk, let me dig them up.

GD Apollo is so cute...unsymmetric...waiting patiently
Wait to see the GD's, expecially the "advanced configurations"... 8)
 
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Lee

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I agree with Skybolt. Hydrogen is risky to handle, which is why I always liked the greater density impulse offered by fuels like hydrazine and hydrocarbons.

There was a writeup in Aviation Week & Space Technology that had a picture of a payload lost at Vandenburg with solid fuel burning chunks flying in all directions. Skybolt is right in saying the launch gantry in usually reinforced against vehicle bast failures.

A German group has a paper from 2001 concerning historical Nova class vehicles, thus,

Nova and beyond, a Review of Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Concepts in the POST-SATURN Class
www.ilr.tu-berlin.de/koelle/ILR-Mitteilungen/Archive/ILR352.pdf
 

Archibald

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There was a writeup in Aviation Week & Space Technology that had a picture of a payload lost at Vandenburg with solid fuel burning chunks flying in all directions

Titan 34D number 9, 04-18-1986.
The crash figure here
http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=fJHtkjjwoeg&feature=related

Look at how the Titan desingrate :eek:
 
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Lee

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Very good, Archibald.

The third sequence in the clip with the twin boosters went out as I described.

Unfortunately, I'm on a borrowed computer and I'm limited to what I can do in this library. My Dad has his own computer, but with all the viruses on the 'Web, I don't want to be blamed for something I can't necessarily say was my fault.

Uploading film clips like Archibald's was never allowed in the past, but I might ask the librarian if it's possible now.
 
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I saw that N1 Crash on discovery when i was a kid ... the yanks picked it up on their photorecon .. apparently it obliterated the entire launch pad
 

starviking

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A long, long time ago I came across a book in my University library which showed a proposed fuelling procedure for a Solid-Rocket Nova. The suggestion was to walk into the rocket and stack propellant bricks up until fuelling was completed! :eek:

Starviking
 

Skybolt

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Nova and beyond, a Review of Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Concepts in the POST-SATURN Class
www.ilr.tu-berlin.de/koelle/ILR-Mitteilungen/Archive/ILR352.pdf

Ja ! That's the paper from Prof. Koelle (who, BTW, at almost 90 is alive and well in Berlin), who was there ! He was the Von Braun's man for Future Systems at Marshall. There are a score of his papers in the AIAA library. And he is the designer of Neptune, the big SSTO from Germany. Before you ask why Neptune, go to the Clarke's "2001" book when Floyd is lifting off from the Cape...
 

Michel Van

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Skybolt said:
Nova and beyond, a Review of Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Concepts in the POST-SATURN Class
www.ilr.tu-berlin.de/koelle/ILR-Mitteilungen/Archive/ILR352.pdf

Ja ! That's the paper from Prof. Koelle (who, BTW, at almost 90 is alive and well in Berlin), who was there ! He was the Von Braun's man for Future Systems at Marshall. There are a score of his papers in the AIAA library. And he is the designer of Neptune, the big SSTO from Germany. Before you ask why Neptune, go to the Clarke's "2001" book when Floyd is lifting off from the Cape...

not quite
the name Neptun was used by Clark, becaus he think like this: Jupiter -> Saturn -> Uranus -> Neptun Rocket.

Neptun HLLV from Prof. Koelle is only a Theoretical Study for students, at Technical University of Berlin.
 
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Lee

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"Ja ! That's the paper from Prof. Koelle (who, BTW, at almost 90 is alive and well in Berlin), who was there !"

I thought I printed off a copy of Koelle's paper, but I'll have to look harder for it. I seem to remember Koelle didn't favor solid booster designs in his extra-large-size launch vehicles. Maybe that was because advanced technology hadn't caught up with necessity and 10 to 15-foot-wide grain boosters were impossible to manufacture at the time, yes?
But this may be conjecture on my part. Koelle's paper was published in 2001 and I'm not all that knowledgeable on SRB's, even today.
 

Skybolt

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Main problem with solids is that they are not throttleable on demand (you can shape the powder to vary the level of thrust, but only in a predetermined way) and at the time (early '60) nobody was sure they were really steerable (at that high thrust level). NASA commissioned a series of studies all along the 60's on method to steer large solids: gimballing, various types of liquid injection, asymmetric venting and so on. Anyway, Koelle wasn't the one with decision power back then. He was a young and brilliant engineer, but decisions were taken higher.
 
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Lee

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"Main problem with solids is that they are not throttleable on demand (you can shape the powder to vary the level of thrust, but only in a predetermined way)..."

Yes, I agree for the most part. I do remember seeing a U.S. Patent or two that claimed to be able to restart or else throttle back a solid fuel engine after being lit. Nothing ever came of it, though.

The Space Shuttle reaches maximum aerodynamic pressure at around 60,000 ft. and then the SSME's throttle down and the SRB's also have an internally special shape or special mixture inside the grain to slow combustion until maximum pressure is passed. Skybolt is entirely correct about that.

I've only read that some countries(like China) are using less aluminum powder and more stuff like hydrazinium nitroformate to reduce particulate exhaust pollution in the atmosphere. They lose a little bit in specific impulse, but they make the engine a little bigger to compensate.
I think that was in Aviation Week magazine a while ago.

Propellant chemistry is a 'forte' of mine, but I usually concentrate on liquid fuels/oxidizers.
 

Orionblamblam

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Lee said:
I do remember seeing a U.S. Patent or two that claimed to be able to restart or else throttle back a solid fuel engine after being lit. Nothing ever came of it, though.

Incorrect. Throttleable solids, as well as stoppable/restartable solids, were built by several major rocket firms in the 1960's to serve as upper stages for Minuteman ICBMs. These would allow for finer tuning of targetting (by permitting greater latitude in trajectories) as well as giving some degree of evasion capability, or jsut makign the trajectories unpredictable. They worked, but were too complex and expensive to bother with.

Conversely, throttleable solids are now commonly used on anti-missile DACS systems, such as LEAP.
 

Archibald

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Thank you very much. Excellent stuff to boost imagination!

Before you ask why Neptune, go to the Clarke's "2001" book when Floyd is lifting off from the Cape...

... which I've red again this morning for the 100000000 times since 2001, when I bought this book (guess why? ;D)

Second N-1 flight early july 1969 simply blew up the pad, pushing another launch atempt to 1971.
Seems every time N-1 crashed it illuminated the Kazakh countryside up to 50 km away. IHMO nothing can be worse than the R-16 crash of 1960, but this is off-topic...
 

Skybolt

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Design 2 in Apollo 01.gif is the internal NASA detailed design effort done in parallel with contractors' feasibility studies. That was (the story goes) because Maxine Faget was irritated by the fact that nobody had pursued the "enlarged blunt body reentry vehicle" approach, for which there was a lot of data already available.
nothing can be worse than the R-16 crash of 1960,
Well, that was a "bang" more than a "crash", and the disaster stemmed from that (a lot of people around).
 
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Lee

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Written by Lee:
"Nothing ever came of it, though."

Let met clarify myself. I didn't know about the LEAP or Minuteman rocket advancements, which, I would suspect, are proprietary in their internal workings and operational applications when used with guidance firmware. I thought the patent(s) I saw only once or twice were difficult to understand(they're sometimes vague---maybe on purpose so as to be as wide in scope as possible) and I didn't take them very seriously for that reason.

Also, about 1951, President Eisenhower signed a directive that allowed the CIA to inspect and classify any U.S. Patent they thought was in the national interest. The British did the same in their country a year or two later. If a patent has a number, it's not classified and publically available. If it is classified, it may or may not have a number(?), but it's unknown to me and the public. Then there's such things as corporate "company secrets" that stay in a company indefinitely.

What you refer to in the LEAP and Minuteman programs may be classified in fine detail? Or otherwise proprietary? I'm not sure either way.

I admit to not being up on guidance, since both the Americans and British in particular have a lot classified and I like to stay away from such things.
(I've spoken to a few who had such high clearances and they had very little good to say about whatever they did.)
 

Orionblamblam

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Lee said:
What you refer to in the LEAP and Minuteman programs may be classified in fine detail? Or otherwise proprietary?

The details are of course kept quiet, but the operating principles are simple enough. All you need to do to throttle a solid rocket is to chang ethe port ares. The way this is done with a big rocket it to have a pintle that fits in the nozzle throat... move the pintle in and out, and the throat area changes. Like this:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=hu88AAAAEBAJ&dq=3943708

Or this:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=WupLAAAAEBAJ&dq=2944390

Or this:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=NjIvAAAAEBAJ&dq=3948042

Reduce the throat area, and the chamber pressure (and burn rate) goes up; and even though you have a smaller throat, you get more thrust. To shut off the motor, your throat area needs to be opened very quickly, so that chamber pressure drops by hundreds of thousands of psi per second. The combustion will simply "blow out."

The way throttling is done with typical solid DACS sytems is the same... total port area is changed. However, kill vehicles generally use a single gas generator (i.e. solid propellant charge) that is ducted to a multitude of separate thrusters. Each thruster has its own valve. Open all the valves, and chamber pressure is low, as is total thrust (never mind that with all thrusters running, they generally cancel each other out). Close valves, and the total thrust increases. DACS systems generally just use on/off valves, rather than real throttling capability.

Like this:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=-wgdAAAAEBAJ&dq=3948042

Throttling is also achievable by using fluid injection:
http://www.google.com/patents?id=LUlZAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA2&dq=throttlable+solid+rocket&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=0_1#PPA2,M1
 

Skybolt

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Yep, if one thinks about it, it's simple. What is the maximum thrust level at which this method is feasible ?
 
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Lee

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"Throttling is also achievable by using fluid injection:
http://www.google.com/patents?id=LUlZAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA2&dq=throttlable+solid+rocket&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=0_1#PPA2,M1 "


Well, now I remember seeing this patent in one of my searches for efficient propellants. The rest pretty much use a more mechanical means of achieving throttling. Some of those other patents may not work as the inventors had envisioned, especially if their design is asymmetrical. Vibration and unbalanced thrust could be a problem with one or more.

That's why I didn't care a great deal for that sort of thing. Terminal guidance with a smart warhead like the one that recently shot down that nonfunctioning American spy satellite is the way to go, in my opinion. But, I do think the propellant technique above is the best of the group shown.

I got lucky on GOOGLE and saw this ejector ramjet patent:

"Windmills for Ramjet Engine"
http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT4368620

One can always shape the fuel inlet port cover in Fig. 3B more like a cone, or maybe a funnel, to allow gradual reduction of intake air to affect thrust more or less.
 

Orionblamblam

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Skybolt said:
Yep, if one thinks about it, it's simple. What is the maximum thrust level at which this method is feasible ?

"Feasible?" No upper limit. "Practical?" You could probably do it in rockets bigger than the RSRMs, but thay would have to be specially designed. And you'd have to have a *really* good reason for doing so, because it would be heavy and expensive.
 

Skybolt

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So, big throtteable solids end up to cost (almost) as much as liquids. Probably they are worthwhile if you need a long store-time orbital launch vehicle with instant availability and you don't want to use storable liquid propellants. Actually, it is hard to find a condition in which this would be the only solution.
 

hesham

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Here is the Nova from 1959.
 

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hesham

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Hi,


the Nova.


https://archive.org/stream/missilesrockets6196unse#page/n705/mode/2up
 

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Michel Van

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the last three post are but Liquid fuel Nova rocket, this here is about Solid fueled Nova rocket !
 

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