Friday, August 31, 2012

Nuclear test series: Dominic

"This Dominic I video provides a visual overview of 36 atmospheric nuclear devices detonated in the Pacific Proving Ground from April to November 1962. It was the last atmospheric nuclear test series conducted by the United States. Also, Dominic I was the largest and most elaborate U.S. testing operation ever conducted. In geographic terms, the diagnostic stations receiving data from the tests covering more than 15 million square miles.

According to the video, Operation Dominic I was prompted by the "Soviet resumption of testing in 1961 after a three-year moratorium." The three main purposes of the series were the "proof testing" of new weapon designs, mainly thermonuclear; obtaining weapons effects data as it related to the electromagnetic pulse phenomenon and attenuation of radar; and obtaining data related to the offensive and defensive aspects of an incoming ballistic missile in a detonation environment.
Dominic I tests were conducted in three general locations: Johnston Island, airdrop and high-altitude detonations; Christmas Island, staging area for 24 airdrop tests; and the open ocean, launch of a Polaris missile from a submarine and subsequent detonation of a device in a reentry vehicle, and the detonation of a device carried by an antisubmarine rocket (ASROC).

Approximately 28,000 military and civilian personnel participated in the test series. More than 200,000 tons of supplies, construction materials, and diagnostic equipment were shipped or airlifted to the test areas.

Most of the devices were detonated in the air after being dropped from a B-52 bomber. Five high-altitude bursts, designated as Operation Fishbowl tests, were lofted by rockets. Their purpose was to study the effects of nuclear detonations as defensive weapons against incoming ballistic missiles.
This film was made as a Joint Task Force 8 command report to the secret oversight committees of United States Congress and as a visual archive of the Department of Defense.

These nuclear testing operations culminated with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and reached the fiercest point the day of the Bluegill Triple Prime test of near 1 megaton was detonated. During the night of that same day (local Washington, DC time) of October 26, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy met secretly with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to make emergency negotiations at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC. This dramatic meeting broke the crisis in a call from RFK to President John F. Kennedy, in JFK ordering the removal of obsolete, liquid fueled missiles from Turkey in return for a Soviet missile and troop withdrawal from Cuba. This compromise allowed Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev to save face in such a withdrawal, despite a cablegram sent from belligerent Cuban leader Fidel Castro to Mr. Krushchev, urging a Soviet nuclear attack against the United States.

Another extremely dangerous scenario of these tests was a concurrent Soviet series of tests at both Kapustin Yar and Novaya Zemlya, unleashing the greatest displays of combined megatons ever known. November 1 witnessed the carrying out of nuclear weapons tests by both sides on THE SAME DAY.

Periods of silence during this film were strictly intended. This film was carefully sanitized by nuclear weapons experts and Department of Defense officials to remove secret information."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

N5800 fins now installed

The N5800 project now has all three fins attached to the airframe.  The nosecone and fins use high temperature epoxy, the airframe is essentially a standard carbon fiber airframe.  Now the challenge is to assemble the payload and recovery, electronics, and most importantly, to reinforce the fins substantially.  The impression that I get is that the builder is planning to make extremely large fillets.  This will surely test the strength of such a method to an extreme degree.

BSTC two stage project "Black Streak"

"Black Streak is a project managed under the auspices of the Bolton Science and Technology Centre (BSTC). With this project we have created a reusable rocket for launching high school science projects. The first phase, which was funded by a one off grant from the NWDA, was to create the vehicle, establish the legal and administrative framework required for the launch site, and then carry out the first launch. Black Streak was launched successfully on the 1st of September 2011 and we are now seeking further funding to establish a national competition for payload design across all UK high schools."

This project was built and flown in the UK, and was launched on the coast over water, splashing down for recovery.  It is a two stage minimum diameter project, flying on an N2000 to an N2000 to a projected apogee of 16 - 18 km.  This is an extremely powerful rocket considering the size, and performance (particularly with a longer interstate delay) could be very good indeed.  On slightly better motors, such as two N1100s, 100,000 feet is doable.

Information about the rocket
Large PDF project summary

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kiwi - Nerva nuclear thermal rocket program

"The main objective of project Rover/NERVA was to develop a flight rated engine with 75,000 pounds of thrust. The Rover portion of the program began in 1955 when the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and the Air Force initially wanted the engine for missile applications. However, in 1958, the newly created NASA inherited the Air Force responsibilities, with an engine slated for use in advanced, long-term space missions. The NERVA portion did not originate until 1960 and the industrial team of Aerojet General Corporation and Westinghouse Electric had the responsibility to develop it. In 1960, NASA and the AEC created the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office to manage project Rover/NERVA. In the following decade, it oversaw a series of reactor tests: KIWI-A, KIWI-B, Phoebus, Pewee, and the Nuclear Furnace, all conducted by Los Alamos to prove concepts and test advanced ideas. Aerojet and Westinghouse tested their own series: NRX-A2 (NERVA Reactor Experiment), A3, EST (Engine System Test), A5, A6, and XE-Prime (Experimental Engine). All were tested at the Nuclear Rocket Development Station at the AEC's Nevada Test Site, in Jackass Flats, Nevada, about 100 miles west of Las Vegas. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, the Nixon Administration cut NASA and NERVA funding dramatically. The cutbacks were made in response to a lack of public interest in human spaceflight, the end of the space race after the Apollo Moon landing, and the growing use of low-cost unmanned, robotic space probes. Eventually NERVA lost its funding, and the project ended in 1973. Publication information: Information on Project Rover/NERVA provided by James Dewar."

A major problem here is creating a nozzle that can survive extremely high exhaust temperatures, ideally higher than with chemical propulsion.

Sheild of Freedom

Friday, August 24, 2012

Apollo Reentry Simulation

Cosmos space exhibit in Moscow, 1969

"There used to be an interesting exhibition hall in Moscow, it was called “Cosmos” and was devoted to the Soviet achievements in space development. Boys of those days were often taken there by parents. Leaving they were sure they wanted to become cosmonauts one day. These very photos were taken in the “Cosmos” exhibition hall in approximately 1969."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MSL Curiosity Descent Footage HD

Carbon fiber fins for an N5800 project

This last image shows the fin sanded down significantly.  These are extremely thick fins, nearly half and inch at the base.  I have little doubt that they are strong enough, but how about adhesion to the rocket?  The OP suggests he may just do a surface mount with epoxy!  That worries me, no matter how thick that root edge.  However, he makes a valid point - tip to tip lamination will only interfere with the precision built into these fins, and has not always worked in the past on mach 3+ rockets.

"As I mentioned in a few other threads, I am currently building a 98mm MD rocket for BALLS, so I decided I'd make a build thread. I'm not going to post my full design yet, since it's still somewhat fluid as I'm building - especially with regards to the recovery system. However, I will post some pictures as I go. This design is expected to weigh in at less than 10 pounds with everything but motor (I'm actually shooting for 7, but I'm not convinced that will happen), has an overall length of 76.6 inches from the tip of the nose to the back of the nozzle. Unlike several of the N5800 designs proposed and under construction, I'm going for a metal-free build, in the hopes that I can make this work with all composite structures (just for a bit of added challenge). Depending on the sim you believe, as well as a few parameters that aren't quite nailed down yet, it's expected to go anywhere from 90,000 to upwards of 130,000 feet if it boosts straight and holds together, with a top speed of mach 4.2, so it should soundly take the N record if it actually holds together, as well as having a shot at the Carmack prize if it is still unclaimed as of BALLS this year.

First off, the fins. These are relatively simple shapes, not swept terribly far back (sweeping back beyond the mach angle is impractical at this speed, so I'm instead going for a mild sweep with a razor sharp leading edge). I started with 0.44 inch thick high grade CF stock, which was custom made for me (and cut to the basic fin outline) by ACP composites. It was made in an autoclave using prepreg, and it was cured at 350F, with an anticipated Tg of around 400F, so it should be substantially more heat resistant than ordinary CF plate would be. It is also incredibly strong, incredibly heavy, and incredibly high drag, due to the 0.44 inch thickness."

At a conservative 10 lbs for the airframe without motor, or 7 with some luck, this rocket will be a great test of the proposed N5800 to N5800 space shot, where the upper stage needs to be around 7 or 8 lbs to have a good shot at making 100 km.  Granted this time, it will take on far more heat and stress than any upper stage would see.  While the upper stage would hit mach 5+ in a two stage configuration, it would do so at 30, 40, or 50,000 feet where things are nice and chilly and the air is thin.

Combat fighting with handguns

Correct grips; three basic firing positions; firing quickly and instinctively.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rocket explosion

I gather this is a "cato" or explosive failure of a Titan 34D rocket.

Mr. McClure, what does CATO stand for?

The Atom Strikes - Trinity, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki

This rather sterile treatment of the bombings shows a great deal of physical damage to infrastructure, while totally ignoring the harm to humans there. Still, it manages to be quite disturbing after a while as much because the matter is never addressed. The city is just empty looking. The now famous human shadow is shown, but the tone almost implies that person is still alive somewhere, instead of vaporized.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Opensat: South Korean Artist Song Hojun Creates DIY Satellite from Recycled Parts

"South Korean artist Song Hojun has created his own DIY satellite from scratch – and he’s planning to launch it into space this coming December. Song created the satellite from assorted junk he found in back-alley electronics stores in his home town of Seoul, and over the course of six years he has finally managed to complete his space-bound project. Due of the recycled nature of the products he used Song’s satellite cost just over $400 to make, however the cost of launching it to space is going to be a lot, lot more – over $100,000!"

In Habitat

JMAX and KMAX destroy altitude records!

 JMax flew on a J510W (AT) to 23,735 feet AGL, accelerating at 80 gs to mach 2.7.  This altitude is comparable to the performance of a conventional minimum diameter M motor.  The JMax is about the size of a LOC Aura, and I would guess not much heavier either (without motor.)

The equally tiny KMax flew on a K300 (CTI) to an astounding 31,643 feet.  This altitude is comparable to the performance of a conventional minimum diameter N motor.  Look how tiny those fins are!

Read more at Rocketry Online.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Earth + Mars bffs

Latest uploads on Youtube Channel

I have been trying to get more serious about maintaining the youtube channel these days. The videos now have well over 1,000,000 hits, and I will be uploading lots of government archive videos. Some videos will be posted here on HPR, but the best bet is to visit my channel directly:


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oryx 2.0: A Planetary Exploration Mobility Platform

Missile Man

"THE BIG PICTURE" covers training of the Army's missile man -- In this era of both missiles and missile men, THE BIG PICTURE covers training activities at three of the major centers in which the Army's missile men receive their highly specialized training. The United States Army, as almost everyone knows, is placing an ever-increasing emphasis on guided missiles, projectiles which can deliver deadly conventional or atomic warheads to enemy targets hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Perhaps the most remarkable fact about these amazing weapons is that they have all been developed in little more than a decade. The combination of nuclear weapons and guided missiles have, in a very real sense, revolutionized our concepts of warfare. Although the nation has entered a new era, it is not an era of "push button" warfare. For to function, one of these new weapons requires more soldiers, better-trained and more highly-skilled, than any other weapon in the history of war. "Missile Man" dramatically tells the story behind the training of these young men who are taking their places in tomorrow's Army. It is a picture dedicated to this new kind of soldier -- the Army Missile Man.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

N 5800 minimum diameter attempt at blackrock!

The specs: 

Aluminum fin can: 3/16 inch heat treated 6061 fins
Fins were beveled on the leading and trailing edges
Fins were welded onto a 1/8 inch fin can that fit directly over the motor case
High heat epoxy was used to smooth fillets for aerodynamic purposes
Nose cone: Performance Rocketry spiral wound fiberglass/graphite Titanium tip with shoulder, made by Eric Foster at BadAzz Rocketry, and seated tightly and correctly in the nosecone
Body: Performance Rocketry carbon
Recovery: Same end dual deploy. The area above the motor case reserved for recovery material was about 6 inches, plus the inside of the nosecone.
Nosecone shoulder was carbon, 6 inches long, tightly fit.

Electronics: Jackson created a very innovative av bay. Because space was at a premium in the rocket, he used the unused space above the motor case and below the internal motor retainer. Jackson fit a block of wood over the smoke grain holder, and mounted the 2 ravens on that. The wood insulated the ravens from the heat of the motor. We tested the set up to make sure that the motor did not overheat the electronics. It is too bad that we never got the chance to verify that this innovative av bay works. The design should have also protected the batteries from the cold air at 60,000 feet had we gotten there.

The parts:

The rocket: 

The flight:

The aftermath:


10 years ago if you had told me that an N motor could break 60,000 feet, it would have blown my mind.  It is a bit shocking that even this rocket could not take the motor.  The exact start of the failure is unknown, although the author suggests it was the fins breaking off.  I really have to wonder how a welded fincan could be broken.  Perhaps an extremely heavy welding method is needed next time?  Could the fins have been warped resulting in severe stress?  How about this particular shape of fin in the mach 2 - 3 regime?

I am excited to see this team fly an N 5800 at near minimum mass, by attaching fins directly to a fin can, and then the motor case.  Clearly, however, the welding needs to be more substantial!  If someone could possibly afford it, cutting an entire fin can out of a single block of aluminum would offer superior strength.  But how much more expensive would that be in a 4 inch fin can?  (With fins extending out 5 inches in both directions!)

Read more at TRF

Nuclear Weapon Accident

For a while now, I have been sitting on a few gigs of government archive footage, almost exclusively rocketry and nuclear weapons. I am slowly uploading them to youtube, and will post some here. This video is long, and only suitable for the totally obsessed like myself.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bizarre shotgun loads

Lots of strange shotgun loads including washers, screws, bbs, wax, and home-made flechettes.

Misc. MSL images

 MARDI image of falling heat shield

 Surface of rover showing pebbles kicked up by landing

 Self-portrait taken with mast camera

All images from NASA/JPL

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Accelerator rocket (v1 and 1.1)

"What do you think of this? Pictured is a CTI 5 grain case that with the spacer will hold a K2045 VMAX. The 24 inch body tube stops at the fin can and will be trimmed back to approximately 15 inches. A hardpoint anchor in the motor spacer will connect a Kevlar shockcord (housed in the spacer) from the motor to the body tube via an e-bay bulkhead just outside the nosecone coupler. In dual deploy mode the motor is ejected out of the back of the body tube at apogee and the nosecone which fits around the e-bay for the main. The small gap between the motor tube and nosecone shoulder is where the bulkhead will be inside the bodytube. The custom e-bay holds a 250g Raven and the Walston transmitter head. The top of the e-bay is connected via a Kevlar shockcord to the nosecone. The 36 inch parachute is housed in the nosecone. Empty it weighs about 1 kilogram and loaded about 2.3 kilograms. The sims are outrageous."

Obviously I love this.  This rocket is mostly motor, has a bolt-on fin can, and is focused not on all-out altitude, but rather high thrust and acceleration.  It also has the appeal of a modular rocket that can be adapted for larger or shorter motor cases quickly.

Scale this thing up for an M3700 or an N10,000 even!

Here is the simulated performance:

"1580 mph (mach 2.1) reached after 0.7 seconds at 100 feet of altitude."

The first build thread
The v 1.1 modifications

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fourth Generation Nuclear Weapons: Military effectiveness and collateral effects

"The paper begins with a general introduction and update to Fourth Generation Nuclear Weapons (FGNW), and then addresses some particularly important military aspects on which there has been only limited public discussion so far. These aspects concern the unique military characteristics of FGNWs which make them radically different from both nuclear weapons based on previous-generation nuclear-explosives and from conventional weapons based on chemical-explosives: yields in the 1 to 100 tons range, greatly enhanced coupling to targets, possibility to drive powerful shaped-charge jets and forged fragments, enhanced prompt radiation effects, reduced collateral damage and residual radioactivity, etc."

PDF file

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lightning strike makes power line explode in sparks

Kosdon P 10,000 on Ebay

I took a short break from rocketry and wound up missing tons of crazy stuff!  Combine this kit with an all-motor N 5800, with a 20 second staging delay, and I think you could have a decent space shot on your hands.

"This high performance, aluminum and composite project was designed by Frank Kosdon and includes his famous P10000 motor. The rocket was flown once at BALLS 17. Since Mike Hobbs and myself purchased two motors and no longer have the privilege of working with Frank we are selling this project. All components (except nosecone) are threaded and there are no snap rings! Does not include propellant."

Ebay listing, now closed.