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UpSTAGE ABM

circle-5

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McDonnell Douglas UpSTAGE Anti-Ballistic Missile (funded by DARPA). Successful external combustion propulsion is quite visible in the last (in-flight) photo. I don't believe the Linear Aerospike engine ever achieved this.
 

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RyanCrierie

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Someone finally found photographs of it!

Link to OCR of a DARPA document on it

IDA PAPER P-2429
DARPA TECHNICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
VOLUME II
A HISTORICAL REVIEW OF SELECTED DARPA PROJECTS
APRIL 1991


Part III Excerpts:

In 2 more years, UPSTAGE, a maneuvering HIBEX second stage, demonstrated over 300 g lateral acceleration and a side-force specific impulse Isp > 1000 sec using external burning, jet flow control techniques and a laser gyro for guidance. The HIBEX technology furnished the basis for the Army's LoADS short range interceptor program. UPSTAGE jet maneuvering control technology has been incorporated into the SDI's HEDI missile.

...

Toward the end of HIBEX, some external burning propellant experiments were conducted with encouraging results. A study was then made of a maneuvering second stage interceptor, UPSTAGE, which would incorporate external burning for sidewise thrust.15 PRESTAGE, the immediate follow-on project to HIBEX, was carried out in the 1965-68 time frame, to investigate external burning in a controlled hypersonic flow environment and the corresponding problems of thrust control, axial and lateral.16 "Disposable" vanes were studied along with lateral jets for thrust vector control. PRESTAGE was carried out by McDonnell-Douglas,17 and included laboratory and flight test experiments, using available rocket motors.

After PRESTAGE, project UPSTAGE began in 1968, dedicated to investigation of a second stage for intercepting maneuvering RVs. A HIBEX vehicle was used for UPSTAGE's first stage. The UPSTAGE effort covered second stage separation phenomena, control system, thrust vector control generation techniques and mechanisms, guidance, aerodynamics, structure and communications. The UPSTAGE vehicle was designed with "lifting" aerodynamic characteristics. An important new guidance feature incorporated was a laser optical gyro, which required no "spin-up," and which had been developed partly with ARPA funding.18

External guidance for UPSTAGE was provided by a command guidance link and tracking by the ZEUS target-tracking radar at WSMR. "Finlet" injections were used to provide transverse thrust. UPSTAGE reached several hundred lateral g's with response times of milliseconds. The UPSTAGE maneuvers were controlled in a simulated MARV chase but no actual interceptions were attempted.19 The tests were generally successful and indicated the feasibility of the technology along with a need to better understand external burning.

....

UPSTAGE also had a very ambitious objective of demonstrating a capability for chasing MaRV's, a mission not emphasized in the SPRINT system design, and possibly coming close enough for non-nuclear kill. UPSTAGE was successful in demonstrating much of what might be achieved with external burning, but some questions were left for further R&D.23

...

SDI's HEDI missile for high endoatmospheric intercept however, does incorporate UPSTAGE jet maneuvering technology.

...

From project records ARPA outlay for HIBEX appears to have been about $25 million and for UPSTAGE (including PRESTAGE) about $26 million.
 

Trident

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NIIIICE! And most impressive - I never realised that UPSTAGE was actually a non-axisymmetric lifting body!
Thanks for sharing!
 

sferrin

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"Linear Aerospike engine ever achieved this"
A linear aerospike is not the same thing as external burning.

"UPSTAGE jet maneuvering control technology has been incorporated into the SDI's HEDI missile."

There's actually an artist's concept of this out there. It's a Sprint/KITE (not HEDI KITE) mounted on a Spartan 1st stage. It shows the external burning on the KKV. Can't find the damn thing though. I'm certain I have it around here somewhere. It's from the late 80's early 90's.
 

circle-5

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sferrin said:
"Linear Aerospike engine ever achieved this"
A linear aerospike is not the same thing as external burning.
You are correct.
 

flateric

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fantastic stuff - thought barely would see it ever! thanks!
 

sferrin

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The sad part is if this appeared today on a Chinese blog the Western defense establishment would have a stroke. Yet we did this decades ago (and likely have forgotten every aspect of repeating the feat. :'( )
 

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sferrin

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(On second thought it does look more like HEDI than Sprint) Here it is:
 

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hark40

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Thanks for those pictures Circle-5. Can't remember seeing any pictures of UpSTAGE previously.
 

Orionblamblam

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Antonio

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The letter
 

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Trident

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These should be the photos from that ebay auction not already attached earlier in the thread.
The valve status panels for both the JI and EB variants are interesting and seem to provide yet more confirmation that UPSTAGE used a bank-to-turn control approach (valves used for various combinations of positive/negative pitch/roll are shown). Certainly ties in well with the sensational lateral accelerations it achieved.
 

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ENM42

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Thought this might be interesting. The attached photo was taken at McDonnell Douglas in Santa Monica, CA. Two of us were assigned to create the machining programs. The piece in the picture is the inner half of the final configuration. Machining of both halves terminated at the centerline of a distribution passage for the gas?? (we were never told what was in the bottles). The inner and outer sections were then electron beam welded along the centerline. The (4) "bumps" on the inside are where the lines from the bottles attached. As can be seen in the photo, this configuration had maybe 25 ports (and actuators) for guidance. A later version had about half that number.
I ran across this site while looking for a particular picture of the Upstage in flight. It showed a vapor trail making a 90 degree right turn followed by a 90 degree left turn. Some of the engineers had this picture in their offices. If this picture can be found it depicts what a remarkable accomplishment it was. We were told Upstage accelerated to over 5000' the first second with a total burn of just over two seconds.
 

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GeorgeA

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UPSTAGE launch photo.

https://twitter.com/armysmdc/status/976821255272878085?s=21
 
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