Project ISINGLASS & Project RHEINBERRY

asiscan

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Good Day All!

Here are a few of the negative scans - thoughts on whether this is Model 192, Mach 12 Demonstrator or?!?!

Enjoy the Day! Mark


Here are a few of the negative scans - thoughts on whether this is Model 192, Mach 12 Demonstrator or?!?!

Enjoy the Day! Mark
[/QUOTE]
Looks more like the Mach 12 HYFAC studies from early 1970's, in the McDonnell Model 200 series. There were quite a few conceptual designs drawn up, the image below is not exactly but pretty representative of what McD were up to.
 

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Archibald

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We have X-24C and other threads for that stuff. RHEINBERRY was dead from 1966-67 and Schriever retirement.

"McDonnell-Douglas Hypersonic projects from the 60s and 70s"
 

Dynoman

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I'm curious if the Convair SA-2S was affiliated with the Project RHEINBERRY design effort.

CIA contract No. NA-2000 to General Dynamics (Convair was a division of GD at this time) for an ISINGLASS type program (possibly a predecessor program or one that was congruent at the time of ISINGLASS (document dated 1964). This contract was for a series of aircraft designs started by Convair that involved designs developed from Convair's FISH and GD's F-111 aircraft designs (which was also the only identifying elements in the only RHEINBERRY mentioned CIA document. The code names for the descriptions of the ISINGLASS and RHEINBERRY projects may have been accidentally switched in the document as they describe ISINGLASS incorrectly as a GD design). CIA documents show money that was provided for a B-58 launched manned and unmanned variants and a "high speed self-accelerating" aircraft designed with low RCS. These sound like the Convair Model 234, 234B, and SA-2S.

The designs can be seen in Code One's website: Super Hustler, Kingfish, Fish, and Beyond. Not certain yet, but these Convair designs seem to fit. If a contract number can be found for the specific Models 234 or SA-2S, things would clear up a lot.
 

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Archibald

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Many many thanks for that.

So this mean that
- Convair lost to Lockheed A-11 / A-12 in 1959
- and then Convair hanged on five more years, and in 1964 tried their chance again
- at a SUCCESSOR of the A-12 to try and slain it
- and get some kind of revenge against Lockheed ?

Note that the (technical) distinction between ISINGLASS and RHEINBERRY
was

ISINGLASS: Mach 4.5, airbreathing > ramjets - HYPERSONIC

RHEINBERRY: XLR-129 with 450 seconds isp and 0.80 mass fraction, top speed Mach 22 - SUBORBITAL

The difference between hypersonic and suborbital could be defined as follow

- hypersonic is driven by aerodynamics and is an extension of aircraft flight - won't get higher than 100 000 ft except if it gets a rocket stuck in its rear end

- suborbital is driven by rockets and ballistics, can get out of the atmosphere and pretty high above 200 000 ft (ICBM top 1000 miles or higher)

...so ISINGLASS would be Convair / GD, the son of FISH / KINGFISH, airbreathing, hypersonic, maximum Mach 4.5 and 100 000 ft.

And RHEINBERRY would be the suborbital beast ?
 
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Archibald

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The first of the configurations, Configuration 234A, was optimized for supersonic aerial refueling. It had a gross weight of 41,850 pounds, a zone range of 3,045 miles, and a post-zone range of 1,885 nautical miles. (Range was split into zone and post-zone legs. Zone was the effective range once the aircraft reached its operational speed and altitude, defined as Mach 4 and 90,000 feet.)

Supersonic refueling posed several aerodynamic problems so this configuration was dropped from consideration.

That's extremely interesting.
Because at the exact same time, were also considered
- supersonic refueling between XB-70 Valkyrie
- hypersonic refueling between X-15s
- as a proof-of-concept for "hypersonic refueling Aerospaceplane".
EDIT
- Lockheed A-12 to YF-12, over twenty years 1959 - 1979 they considered it again and again and nearly tried it (my mind is blown !)


You guess, none of these concepts was ever flown, and it is not a great loss - many pilot lives were probably saved...
 
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Sundog

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Just for reference, the hypersonic regime begins when an aircraft is going so fast that the heat off of it starts cooking the air, so that you're no longer actually flying in air. The gas dynamics change at hypersonic speeds.
 

Dynoman

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According to Code One:

"A team of about fifteen engineers led by Randy Kent worked on the renewed design studies. “We put together an excellent team,” Kent recalled almost fifty years later. “We were assigned a secure area that was dedicated specifically for our project. The work was very important to the company because we thought we were going to be out of business if we didn’t produce. Very few new aircraft programs were out there for us at the time.”

"Those working on the A-12 replacement project initially referred to it by an internal billing designation—Work Order 540. The initial studies were divided into four two-month phases that spanned November 1963 through June 1964."

CIA documents posted above states that the General Dynamics (Convair Division):

"Work started in October 1963 and was completed in October 1964," according to one document. Another CIA document (Contract No. NA-2000) indicates that the General Dynamics "ISINGLASS" program (possibly grouped under the one code name due to the type of program (i.e. BGV)) period performance 24 October 1963 through 29 February 1964.

Considering the relatively small size of the GD Fort Worth design group for advanced aircraft (15 engineers) during this same time period it would seem very plausible that the Code One designs are the GD entries for the ISINGLASS program. One CIA document (Contract NA-2000) even indicates that the funds are for a "change in direction" in the basic configuration. This may indicate the change from the FISH configuration (Model 234) to the variable geometry designs (VSF-1), which were referenced in Code One as the starting point for the A-12 replacement aircraft.
 
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Dynoman

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This was the CIA's 1963-64 Statement of Work for General Dynamics to design a replacement high altitude reconnaissance aircraft with a speed of Mach 4-5. It was identified for the FY64 under the program name ISINGLASS. This work appears to be a precursor to the McDonnell Douglas effort to develop a Mach 20 vehicle, according to the timeline. Unfortunately, no reference to Rheinberry. The NA-2000 General Dynamics contract does not reference ISINGLASS until 1965, which could indicate that the GD contract was started as a study and was later grouped into the ISINGLASS project file due to its high speed airborne reconnaissance role. A request of the CIA to provide additional information regarding NA-2000 has been made, but nothing has materialized to date.
 

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Archibald

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LowObservable said:
One question about Isinglass still puzzles me: The engine seems huge for an air-launched vehicle. Mulready's book gives a loaded weight of 132,000 pounds, but that seems pretty massive even for a B-52, particularly asymmetrically carried, and still won't allow a lot of burn time on a 250K engine. And if you're launching at altitude, why do you need the two-position nozzle?

Is it possible that an early version of Isinglass was smaller and air-launched, but that it was ground-launched by the time the development work was under way?

The NB-52 dropped the SRB-DTV, which was 48,000 pounds. That should be the heaviest thing it's carried on the pylon, and is right up to the aircraft's limits. The X-51 vehicle is pushing the 52H right up to the limits of its performance envelope as is.
So 132k does sound pretty big.

I was wondering the same question... X-15A2 was 52 000 pounds but some of the S-104 concepts are 90 000 and 97000 pounds, nearly twice as much ! Can a B-52 wing pylon - and wing root ! - support such a huge weight without breaking ? plus the asymmetry ? Even a B-52D "big belly" carried *only* 60 000 pounds of bombs, in the centerline bomb bay.
 

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LowObservable said:
One question about Isinglass still puzzles me: The engine seems huge for an air-launched vehicle. Mulready's book gives a loaded weight of 132,000 pounds, but that seems pretty massive even for a B-52, particularly asymmetrically carried, and still won't allow a lot of burn time on a 250K engine. And if you're launching at altitude, why do you need the two-position nozzle?

Is it possible that an early version of Isinglass was smaller and air-launched, but that it was ground-launched by the time the development work was under way?

The NB-52 dropped the SRB-DTV, which was 48,000 pounds. That should be the heaviest thing it's carried on the pylon, and is right up to the aircraft's limits. The X-51 vehicle is pushing the 52H right up to the limits of its performance envelope as is.
So 132k does sound pretty big.

I was wondering the same question... X-15A2 was 52 000 pounds but some of the S-104 concepts are 90 000 and 97000 pounds, nearly twice as much ! Can a B-52 wing pylon - and wing root ! - support such a huge weight without breaking ? plus the asymmetry ? Even a B-52D "big belly" carried *only* 60 000 pounds of bombs, in the centerline bomb bay.
Remember, the wing lifts the aircraft, not the other way around! A B-52 carries about 100,000 pounds of fuel in fuselage tanks - operating entirely on wing tanks would free up the required weight, for example. I'd expect the global structure to be able to accomodate it within acceptable safety margins for operations in non-contested airspace.

Some local reinforcement would be needed to the pylon structure (actually I suspect it would be an entirely new pylon), but nothing particularly challenging.

The real trick would be balancing the aircraft - suddenly dropping ~20% of takeoff weight is going to be a difficult control problem. Really, one of the 'catamaran' type aerial launch platforms would be ideal for this application.
 

Archibald

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I'm curious if the Convair SA-2S was affiliated with the Project RHEINBERRY design effort.
SNIP
The designs can be seen in Code One's website: Super Hustler, Kingfish, Fish, and Beyond. Not certain yet, but these Convair designs seem to fit. If a contract number can be found for the specific Models 234 or SA-2S, things would clear up a lot.

Jumping on this - using Code One part 4 with our very own Blackstar ISINGLASS Space Review entry of a decade ago.

A budget status chart at the end of the report for Phase 3 indicated that Work Order 540 would run through July 1965 with an overall budget of $165,000, and approximately $110,000 had been spent for the first three phases. However, no status reports beyond Phase 3 were found in researching this article. The gap, however, is covered by follow-on design work that was initiated in August 1964. The results of this work were presented to Air Force Systems Command in March 1965 in a report titled Manned Hypersonic Vehicle Study.

The Manned Hypersonic Vehicle study

a) summarized the work done in the previous phases for Mach 4 to 6 designs

b) then addressed two classes of Mach 6 to 12 hydrogen-powered designs.

The first class, called Early Availability, consisted of vehicles with conventional propulsion systems, including currently available turbojets and subsonic combustion ramjets.

The second class, called Later Availability, consisted of vehicles with advanced propulsion systems, including advanced turbojets and supersonic combustion ramjets.

None of the designs were B-58 parasites, which is not surprising since Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara formally announced the retirement of the B-58 program in late 1965.

The Later Availability vehicles were based on engine and structural advances as applied to Configuration C-3. These advances included supersonic combustion ramjets and advanced turbojets. These designs, which were not detailed and not pursued, according to Kent, would be capable of reaching orbital velocities.​

Now, onto Blackstar... https://www.thespacereview.com/article/1602/1

According to James Cunningham, the CIA’s Director of the Developmental Projects Division, he and CIA officials Jack Ledford and John Parangosky met with Jim McDonnell and his son to discuss the project. This was most likely in early 1965. SNIP - McDonnell Douglas worked on the project for approximately 14 months; that is, until summer 1966.

And thus... the dates match. Convair "Later availability" ISINGLASS ran from August 1964 to July 1965 and encompassed vehicles well beyond Mach 5 - up to Mach 9.
In comparison, McDonnell Douglas own sales pitch was done early 1965, so they overlap.
We still don't know why was the name changed from ISINGLASS to RHEINBERRY.

One thing is sure: one of Convair Early Availability studies technically overlapped with McDonnell Douglas own concept.

The first design approached the mission with a boost-glide vehicle. This design, called Configuration R-3, had a maximum speed of Mach 9 and a maximum altitude of 130,000 feet.​

Powered to max speed and altitude by a liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen rocket booster with thrust of 190,000 pounds, it then glided for the remainder of the time in the reconnaissance zone.​

Subsonic propulsion for pre- and post-zone operations was provided by a single Bristol Siddeley 100/8 turbojet engine (waaaaaaiiiiit, that's a Hawker P.1154 VSTOL british fighter engine. What's the hell it is doing here ??!!!)


Convair "Early Availability" R-3
Mach 9 and 130 000 feet, powered by a LOX/LH2 rocket ? this is superficially similar to McDonnell Douglas concept

MDD proposal to the CIA
Mach 22, 125 000 feet, powered by a XLR-129 engine (except it wasn't in a separate booster but part of the rocketplane with its tanks)

The dates (spring and summer 1965) and the basic concepts (125000 feet on an hydrolox rocket) matches.

I've long thought the shift from the ISINGLASS to RHEINBERRY name was related to a shift
- from airbreathing (= Convair 1964 studies, Mach 5 top speed)
- to rocket-suborbital
(1965: Convair late work plus MDD, no speed limit anymore because rockets)

What is really interesting is that massive speed boost would allow screwing SA-5 GAMMON, even with nukes. SAM could no longer shoot the beast: it would take either ASAT or ABM systems like the one around Moscow or the I.S.
 
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Archibald

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Theoretical speed limits circa 1965 - for the sake of comparison

- airbreathing: Lockheed X-7A-3, April, 17, 1958: Mach 4.31 with a Marquardt RJ43 ramjet. Best near-term hope hope was Mach 5, the entry ticket for scramjets. But the latter weren't tamed until the 90's with Kholod and the 2000's with the X-43 and X-51 flights.

- rocketry: depends from hydrolox, specific impulse, and prop mass fraction.

A dumb calculation shows that a hydrolox vehicle with a prop mass fraction of 0.80 (whatever its full weight, let's say 30 metric tons)
9.81*445*ln(30/6) = 7026 m/s that is a bit more than 7 km/s.

The B-52 carrier helps a little, perhaps 600 m/s so let's say 7600 m/s - still short of orbital velocity and even farther from an ascent to orbit (9 km/s +)

7.6 km/s would be 27360 km per hour. With Mach 1 at 1235 km per hour, that's
27360 / 1235 = 22.15
- a good Mach 22 - right the number mentioned by MDD.

So on paper at least, the two upward speed limits circa 1966 were
- Mach 4.5 for airbreathing (fixed by subsonic ramjets and the heat barrier
- Mach 22 for a single-stage rocket vehicle (fixed by prop mass fraction)

- Orbital velocity is Mach 26 and bridging the gap takes fluorine (aaargh) or drop tanks (meh) or whatever smart trick on hand.
 
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TomcatViP

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The turbojet might be the small turbojet (Bristol Siddley) we have discussed earlier shaping the shock bow at the nose of the vehicle for less drag at high speed and attitude control (pitch). The turbojet seemed to have been fed with pure o2 (LOX expanded in an internal expension volume).
 
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Opportunistic Minnow

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I read it as the BS.100 being a cruise engine for when the aircraft is not in "the zone". A BS.100 would be a little on the large side for shock-shaping. An Orpheus or J85 would be far more appropriate for that application, if not smaller still.

I presume PCB was desired for the cruise, I can't think of any other reason a NIH engine would be contemplated. Very interesting!
 

Archibald

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This implies that GD was conducting a study similar to ISINGLASS, before ISINGLASS got underway, and may have been funded to examine the application of their design to the boost-glide reconnaissance concept (i.e. possibly GD's VL-3A design, which has been written as the first boost-glide design in AIAA by Lynch).

Bouncing off this old post. That "study" was... FISH / KINGFISH, in 1959. Losing competitor to A-12. Convair waited four more years (1963, which also matches the time needed for Lockheed to fly the A-12: April 1962.)
then tried their chance again. Clearly they hoped to kick Lockheed's rear end and snatch a contract for a tentative A-12 successor at mach 4+ or Mach 4.5. Bad luck for them, the SA-5 had "locked" Soviet airspace well above 120 000 feet and well beyond Mach 5, perhaps up to Mach 10 with nuclear warheads.

Reminds of that scene in "Fail safe" (1964 and the 2000 remake with Clooney) where the US bombers manage to survive a Soviet nuclear SAM barrage only for the crew to take a lethal dose of radiation... and conclude a) nuclear war is really happening and b) they have nothing to lose, only death whatever happens. And thus they steadfastly carry on to Moscow.
 

Dynoman

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Archibald, these are very interesting propositions. I'm still trying to gather data on Contract NA-2000, which may help to define the vehicle that preceded ISINGLASS from Convair. Another interesting evolution to the ISINGLASS story is the CIA concept study into a follow-on vehicle, presented in November 1968 (after work termination on ISINGLASS), which would have used information on ISINGLASS, OXCART, an unknown program, and a General Dynamics Study to derive an advanced design. This vehicle was known as the Advanced Aerodynamic Reconnaissance System. Not sure if this concept study resulted in the vehicle known as Rheinberry. The 'General Dynamics Study' is not identified by such a code name in this 68' presentation.
 

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Archibald

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Great ! Do you have the pdf and could you attach it ? Otherwise I should be able to find it with its ID number on the page.

I often forget that ISINGLASS got a brief reprieve in the year 1968 - long after Schriever departure and pretty close from the Space Shuttle opening salvos by George Mueller - the same year.
Also, XLR-129 and SSME are loosely related.
 

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Last weekend I was printing some diagrams at A3 size from the Code One website and noticed something I hadn't spotted before. Now I hope it answers the question about what the BS100 was used for...
 

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Archibald

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AAAH - I see where this is going. ISINGLASS / RHEINBERRY obviously had a XLR-129 (SSME ancestor) stuck into its tail. So no room for a turbojet own exhaust.
Except if it is a Harrier-like engine, with the rearward, swivelling nozzles... on the sides.

Wow. So you think they picked a BS-100 just for the peculiar nozzles, since the big rocket engine was standing on the way ?
 

Zoo Tycoon

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If they were concerned about the bifurcated exhaust to miss the rocket, they might have just used twin engines with the rocket in between?

Supersonics do cause large CP shifts but I
thought it always went afterwards (as it did on Concorde), which would pitch the nose down, hence requiring up thrust at the back to correct. Landing with a displaced cg would almost be a reverse version of a hover slam landing ? Only again the vectored thrust would be pushing the nose down. I assume the BS100 was mounted the conventional way up?

I was wondering about high altitude pitch control when the aero aren’t very effective?
 

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There is also the potential effect of mitigating plumme expansion with altitude using the jet engine in that location to build back pressure around the plumme since there is both kerosene and LOX onboard.
Plumme expansion is a major source of drag for such fast vehicles.

The narrow twin verticals enclosing tightly the engine would concur to that (ejector effect).
 

Archibald

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Convair R-3 vs MDD Model 192
Configuration R-3 is very interesting when compared to MDD own proposal - Model 192: Mach 22 from a B-52; a quasi-orbital vehicle (ascent to orbit is Mach 26).
MDD dropped the VG wings and undercarriage for a rather extreme Alpha Draco -derived shape. That's how they got Mach 22 in place of Mach 9.
Note that both vehicles have very similar hydrolox rocket engines: probably the XLR-129.

Also the turbojet for IN OUT subsonic cruise: on Model 192 it was dropped. Why ? because Model 192 was so fast it could nearly circle the planet once. Dropped by the BUFF out of Spanish coast it would rocket full bore over USSR length of 10 000 km and then glide across the Pacific to Edwards AFB. Very much like a Shuttle "Abort Once Around".

It was also kind of similar to a X-15 - except with a far better engine. XLR-99 burned ammonia with LOX, isp 276 seconds: 2 km/s of delta-v from a B-52 wing pylon. Won't go farther from Las Vegas if dropped from Edwards AFB.

Model 192 got high-energy LH2 engine: XLR-129, 450 seconds isp. Also much better propellant mass fraction, 0.80 or more.
End result: 7 km/s+ out of the same B-52 wing pylon. Nearly enough for orbit; enough for a "once around" suborbital hop.

My gut feeling is that MDD designed Model 192 as an "extreme" variant of Convair R-3: no goodies, no frills, no compromise to speed. Go as fast as XLR-129 hydrolox rocket & mass fraction allows: as close from orbit as possible. End result: Mach 22: a quasi-SSTO.

And it was that drastic change in performance (and contractor) which led the NRO to switch the codename from ISINGLASS to RHEINBERRY. (nota bene: this last point is my humble opinion only).
 
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Archibald

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Thank you. Was a tedious job to extract the pictures first, then paste the website own comments on them. May that inspire you to return to ISINGLASS beyond the Mach 22 design you did a decade ago. :D

My favorites are R-3 and B-2.
 

publiusr

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The SA 2S 1 is still futuristic. Thank you ever so much for revealing that beauty.
 

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My deepest apologies. I accidentally hit the quote button the other day and I realized that just now. I went ahead and deleted it.

Kudos on the picture shares, though.
 

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Number of GD Convair Div. documents from the mid-60s (1964-1968) contain information of full-scale, flightweight, LH2 tank test article built for Mach 6 cruise hypersonic vehicle, of which just one image appears...

You can judge the vehicle size from the tankage dimensions shown. Was it or not somehow related to Isinglass, remains quite questionable, but obviously it was a design that the same guys were working on.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT HARDWARE PROGRAMS

Hydrogen Tankage Application to Manned
Aerospace Systems – AF Contract AF33(615)-2048
This advanced tankage system is representative of a lightweight liquid hydrogen tank for a hypersonic cruise vehicle application and was accomplished under Air Force Contract AF33 (615)-2048. The tank has a "Siamese" configuration; consisting of a 20-foot long main shell
with a cross-section of two intersecting circles, 64 inches in diameter, and an 8-foot total width, enclosed by bulkheads. The tank structural material is Alloy 718, a nickel-base heat-resistant superalloy. The insulation is a quartz fiber employed in a helium environment installed on the tank in the form of removable blankets. The insulation blankets varying thickness from 1.3 inches at the top to 4.00 inches at the bottom. The tankage system underwent extensive testing including four 90-minute flight simulation tests with steady-state external temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit while the tank was under-going programmed defueling of liquid hydrogen.

Tank.jpg
 

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