Sunday, October 30, 2011

Titan III Research and Development 1967 USAF

"Describes characteristics and capabilities of Titan III launch vehicle and its components. documents assembly of Titan III at Cape Kennedy and preparation for launch. also explains Titan's versatility in carrying a variety of space vehicles."

The Titan III was essentially a Titan II (a 2-stage ICBM utilizing hypergolic liquid fuel and oxidizer) with two strap on solid rocket boosters attached. The oxidizer for the Titan core vehicle is nitrogen tetroxide, and the fuel is Aerozine 50 (half hydrazine, N2H4, and half unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine, N2H2(CH3)2, UDMH) Aerozine 50 is more stable than hydrazine, with a higher density and boiling point than UDMH.

Only the SRBs are ignited at the launch pad, the two engines of the Titan core first stage are ignited in flight after the SRBs burn out and are jettisoned. Numerous versions of the Titan III included Titan IIIA, Titan IIIB, Titan IIIC, Titan IIID, Titan IIIE, and Titan 34D. Centaur upper stages were utilized on some Titan III launches. Famous Titan III payloads included Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Intelsat 603, and Mars Observer.

The later Titan IV is the direct descendant of the Titan III and is very similar to the Titan 34D. A Titan IVB launched the Cassini probe to Saturn in 1997. Work performed by the Titan III and Titan IV was taken over by the Atlas V and Delta IV EELVs in 2005.

"Structural Description

First stage.- The major sections of the first stage are a forward skirt, a forward tank skirt, an oxidizer tank, a between tanks section, a fuel tank, and an aft tank skirt. Semimonocoque and monocoque construction is used in all sections. Aluminum alloy 2014 is used for skin areas (maximum gage of 0.48 in.) Low stress areas of the tank interiors are milled to reduce vehicle weight. Integrally milled T-shape stringers extend longitudinally in each tank. Ring frames, attached to the stringers, provide structural stability when the vehicle is unpressurized. The propellant tanks are formed by domes and cones welded to the ring frame and stringer structure. In Titan IIIC, the core engine compartment is enclosed by a boattail heat shield. It is an aluminum skin-stringer-frame structure.

Second stage.- The structure of this stage is of similar design to that of the first stage.

Transtage.- This stage consists of an outer cylindrical skinstringer-ring frame structure. Within this structure, are two side-by-side propellant tanks and trusses for mounting the major electronic equipment. The outer structure is similar to skirt sections of the first and second stages. The tanks are constructed of titanium cylinders with domes and cones welded to the tops and bottoms of the cylinders, respectively. Material thickness of the tanks varies from 0.030 to 0.091 in.

The equipment trusses are constructed of extruded, squarecross-section, aluminum tubing.

A standard structural interface is provided at the top of the transtage to provide mounting for the various payloads of the vehicle."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Are two N motors enough for space?

It is always shocking to see how much altitude the pros (NASA, NACA, others) have gotten with motors in the M to R range. Yet within our hobby we routinely see R motors fail to break 100,000 feet, and even performance O motors struggle to pass 50,000 feet. The Super Loki Dart, something like a fast O motor, can scrape the bottom of space! There are many factors here including maximized mass fractions, thin steel cases, and plenty of aerodynamic testing beforehand in the pro rockets. Today, the technology is on hand to allow even hobby rockets to achieve similar performance. We have the computer technology to design airframes and simulate complex flights, the composite technology to build extremely light airframes, and the onboard electronics to allow for complex flight profiles. Plus, we can now stick tiny HD cameras onboard and use GPS to recover after the flight.

There are many out there in the hobby who do incredible work with composites and high-altitude rockets. Adrian Adamson not only sells great altimeters, but also builds really nice high altitude rockets. Particularly some 38mm airframes that reach 17,000 feet on an I motor or 22,000 feet on a J motor. (And 13,000 feet on a J570 for my Cirrus Dart seemed like a lot!) Adrian has a great forum discussion going on about how 2 or 3 N motors could possibly, just maybe achieve space.

"Is it possible to get to space (100 km, 328,000 feet) using just commercial motors?

The CTI N5800 is a good motor choice for this because of its high Isp and high mass fraction. I used Rocksim to whip up a quick rocket model that I put into RASAero. With radios and recovery all inside a 6:1 Von Karman nosecone, and about 2 calibers stability, you get a 4" rocket that is 77" long, with 53" of body tube. I'm guessing about 10 lbs empty weight.

In RASAero, it sims to about 87,000 feet when launched from the floor of the Black Rock desert. The trouble is that its peaks at Mach 4, and it would take either extraordinary composite technology or an aluminum, heavier airframe to survive that when launching from the ground at Black Rock. But what if it's igniting from much higher? What ignition altitude would allow a 100 km flight?

RASAero says it would need to be launched from in the neighborhood of 50,000-60,000 feet to achieve the space threshold, if it were launched from there from a standstill. This exercise also shows that empty mass is critical for the final altitude. Going from 10 lbs empty weight to 8 lbs empty weight increases the sustainer delta altitude from 266,000 to 303,000 feet. That's on top of the 60,000 foot launch altitude.

So what would it take to get this 42 lb liftoff weight rocket to 50kft or 60 kft? For a quick and dirty check, I doubled the mass to 84 lbs and used another N5800 motor, launched from the ground. Sadly, the rocket only gets to 36,000 feet, so it would be short of the space threshold goal. So we would need to add a booster stage to augment the first N5800. If I use an N10,000, and use the 2 upper stage liftoff weight + 6 lbs as the empty weight for the 3-stage rocket, I get a total liftofff weight of 111 lbs, and the N10,000 kicks it off the pad with 23 Gs and a top speed of 670 feet/second, or Mach 0.6. This is actually a good ignition velocity for both stages, so now I'll do a RASAero multi-stage trick: Add an instant impulse to the front of the motor file so that when the motor lights, it's already going around 600 feet/second. Let's see if that's enough to get it over the hump. I'll give that a try and come back for the next post."

Read more at the Rocketry Planet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2,025 mph 38mm carbon fiber rocket!

"38mm carbon fibre mach madness rocket, flown to 18,000ft on an Aerotech J570. Max velocity was 2970ft/sec, or 2025mph. Recovered undamaged 2km from the launch site. Mach 1 was broken less than 100ft off the pad, max velocity reached 2.0 seconds after launch. 112G's were pulled at liftoff."

112 g's is pretty massive!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Future of Aerospace Rocket Flight Camera Footage

"Future" rocket flight camera footage from the July 30, 2011 United Launch Alliance Intern Rocket Launch. ULA Interns Rock-It!

United Launch Alliance (ULA) Future of Aerospace rocket: United Launch Alliance, Ball Aerospace Interns and High School Students Launched Colorado's Largest Rocket, Payloads, Saturday, July 30, 2011 from a launch site near Pueblo, Colorado.

Interns from both companies--representing the future of the aerospace industry--built the high-power rockets and a variety of multi-faceted payloads this summer as part of their experience at their respective companies. A major new addition to this year's effort has been the work of 14 teams from 11 Colorado high schools, laboring for months to develop payloads to launch on the rockets.

Additional Details:

The Future of Aerospace and Stars 'N' Stripes rockets were built by ULA summer interns-dubbed SPIRIT (Sky Piercing Intern Rock-It Team)-in Denver, Colorado, Decatur, Ala., Harlingen TX, Vandenberg AFB, CA, and Cape Canaveral, Fla. This is the fourth year ULA interns have built and launched high-power rockets as a summer project and the second year with participation from intern at other ULA work locations.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) Future of Aerospace rocket
Launch Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011
Launch Site: Hudson Ranch, 9.5 miles west from the Walmart (at Pueblo Blvd.& Hwy 78) on Beulah Hwy. It is located on the right side coming from Pueblo, Colorado.
Length: 25 ft
Weight: 300 lbs
O-Class Rocket*
Altitude: 10,000 ft AGL
(1) large, (1) medium, (12) small payloads
Payload Provider: Ball Intern Team 3
Payload Provider: Ball Intern Team 4
Payload Provider: Arapahoe Ridge H.S.
Payload Provider: STEM Academy
Payload Provider: Englewood H.S.Pueblo
Payload Provider: Bollman Tech Ed Ctr
Payload Provider: Alamosa H.S.
Payload Provider: Wasson H.S.
Payload Provider: Wasson H.S
Payload Provider: Fredrick H.S.
Payload Provider: Eaglecrest H.S.
Payload Provider: Mapleton E.C. H.S.
Payload Provider: Harlingen H.S.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cassini does it again!

Titan, Dione, Pandora, and Pan.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More Schwerer Gustav and Dora images - Railway guns

High Explosive
Weight of projectile: 4.8 t (4,800 kg)
Muzzle velocity: 820 m/s
Maximum range: 48 km
Explosive mass: 700 kg
Crater size: 30 ft (10 m) wide 30 ft (10 m) deep.

AP Shell
The main body was made of chrome-nickel steel, fitted with an aluminium alloy ballistic nose cone.

Length of shell: 3.6 m
Weight of projectile: 7.1 t (7,100 kg)
Muzzle velocity: 720 m/s
Maximum range: 38 km
Explosive mass: 250 kg
Penetration: In testing it was demonstrated to penetrate 7 metres of concrete at maximum elevation.

JREF’s TAM 9 meeting in Las Vegas - panel discussion

TAM Panel - Our Future in Space from JREF on Vimeo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

P 10,000 to N 4,000 two stage rocket

A new thread is up about a typically insane two stage flight from Robert DeHate.

Check out previous posts here.

"Launched 9/30/2011 at noon, Black Rock Desert, NV
2-stage P10000 to N4000, all composite airframe and fins.
12.5ft tall, 185 pounds on the pad.
Altitude ~80K (no GPS data recovered yet, just accelerometer-based).
Max velocity: Mach 3.2.
20 fps booster descent rate, 80 fps sustainer descent rate.
Full recovery. Booster at 2 miles, sustainer at 6.5 miles.
Only other team besides Qu8k to get full recovery. And the only two-stager to get it all back.
Two GPS units, APRS transmitter, datalogger, three Pico acc units in the sustainer, two in the booster.

Lost altitude when it staged early due to a short spike in the booster motor at 2 seconds. This caused the electronics to think it was burnout and staged at 2 seconds after burnout instead of 8 seconds.

No onboard video. Same camera as Qu8k but it didn't didn't power up on the pad, so we launched without it. Can't go back now!"

More at The Rocketry Planet.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A close look at supercritical carbon dioxide CO2

"I built a pressure vessel from aluminum and acrylic, and filled it by placing pieces of dry ice inside. The dry ice melts under high pressure, and forms a liquid and gas phase. When the vessel is heated, the CO2 becomes supercritical -- meaning the liquid and gas phases merge together into a new phase that has properties of a gas, but the density of a liquid.

Supercritical CO2 is a good solvent, and is used for decaffeinating coffee, dry cleaning clothes, and other situations where avoiding a hydrocarbon solvent is desirable for environmental or health reasons.

If you have a suggestion for what I should do with the supercritical CO2, please leave a comment."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pi calculated to 10 trillion places on a desktop pc

This is most impressive because it was run on a home PC that, though beefed up in some areas (nearly 100 gigs of ram, 44 tb of HD space) is still recognizable as a pc. I recall running pi on my computer to thousands or millions of places (one ten-millionth as far as this.) Pi is mathematically fascinating, and there are some things yet to be figured out about it, but the most exciting part for me is the hardware involved. That two guys (dedication and talent not withstanding) can make the world record pi calculation is rather shocking. I had assumed that surely some supercomputer at a government facility would have all the records at this point. Perhaps the calculations do not work well with distributed computing?

Number World

"The machine we used is mostly the same as the previous computation. The only main difference is that there are more hard drives.

2 x Intel Xeon X5680 @ 3.33 GHz - (12 physical cores, 24 hyperthreaded)
96 GB DDR3 @ 1066 MHz - (12 x 8 GB - 6 channels)
Asus Z8PE-D12
Hard Drives
1 TB SATA II (Boot drive)
5 x 2 TB SATA II (Store Pi Output)
24 x 2 TB SATA II (Computation) - various models
Raid Controller
3 x LSI MegaRaid SAS 9260-8i
Operating System
Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64"

I wonder if they ran Quake 3 on this beast?

If you want to test your rig, or throw your hat into the ring for the first to hit 20 trillion places, download the Y-cruncher here. 10 years from now, it should be expected that a standard desktop PC will calculate 10 trillion places of pi in a matter of hours. If these trends continue that is...

Here it took my current computer about 90 seconds to do 16 million places, on a P4 2.8 with 1 gig of ram. So even 1 billion would not take all that long. But 1 trillion would be a major commitment of time (not to mention the fact that my ram and hdd space would run out.) Can't wait to run this on my next system with at least 8 gigs of ram if not 16, and many more cores.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Five stage solid motor rocket reentry test video

This is a very cool video posted over at TORD.

It appears to show the assembly and flight of a five stage rocket, possibly reentry tests to prepare for the Atlas ICBM warheads. It reminds me of the X-17 series of rockets, but those rockets did not have so many fins on each stage, and were also larger. The upper stages (with conical stabilization skirts) generally were designed to burn after the rocket was already facing downward towards the Earth. They would then burn and accelerate the nosecone and instrumentation to mach 10 or 15. This would test reentry conditions, with decelerations approaching 100gs and temperatures soaring to above 10,000 degrees. This may be a Ram A rocket? If there are any experts please update.

*Update: Aerolab Jason Argo E-5

Monday, October 17, 2011

Phobos grunt - things are getting grunty around here!

Effect of long-term high pressure CO2 on acrylic

"I left my supercritical CO2 chamber charged up with 750 psi liquid CO2 (not supercritical) for about a week. I then depressurized the chamber, and opened it. At first, the acrylic seemed fine with just minor surface crazing. After a few hours, I was surprised to find the acrylic had deformed in a major way and was full of CO2 bubbles. Weird!"

One fun thing about using triple point chambers is that the o-rings swell and start to crackle after being removed to STP. This looks like a similar, perhaps slower process.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cosmic rocket - toy rocket

Found this little guy at the dump over the weekend. It has a rubber nose, and comes as part of a kit designed to run on baking soda and vinegar:

Amazon listing.

Any ideas on how to modify it for 13mm bp motors? The rubber nose would allow for a two way ejection system, or perhaps a rear ejection? Or featherweight with the motor getting ejected at apogee?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two stage N to M rocket - 49,000 feet at Balls 20

"The launch of my two stage rocket MinFluous at Balls20.

49K ft., Mach 2.7, CTI N3180 to Kosdon M1450, 84 lbs.

All parts except one camera recovered. No structural damage."

Supersonic skidmark rocket

There is no sound in the world greater than a big skidmark motor.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Qu8k Rocket - Launch to near space with full recovery!

(Short video)

(Long video)

This rocket was a Q 18,000, 8 inches in diameter, and 167 inches long. Burnout was 3,200 fps on this 320 lbs rocket, and it took about a minute and a half to reach apogee. Recovery was only 3 miles downrange. This project shows how important good onboard video is to documenting a high altitude flight.

Many more high-res images and details here:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More videos from the Balls 20 rocket launch

"Boosted Dart Project at BALLS 2011 Rocket Launch. Motor casing burn through, dart airframe seperates from tail cone, Recovery harness seperates, Booster comes in ballistic, Interstage lands under parachute. All parts landed down range." And below, the onboard footage:

"Onboard HD video of BALLS 2011 Rocket. Launch, motor case burns through, seperation, recovery harness fails, booster section comes in ballistic, payload section recovers under parachute. All parts landed down range."

"A large rocket with a keg of beer as a payload crashes at the BALLS 2011 Rocket Launch, Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Nobody was hurt and the keg of beer survived."

"Kevin's Moonburner" Looks like a 20+ second burn!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

R-10,000 hybrid flies again!

After many years of struggling, this team has once again launched a giant R hybrid. It may not seem like much, but this is a HUGE rocket and it is 'bound to break at least 10 miles altitude.

"Jakob’s Hybrid R10000 Rocket Launch

An amazing launch for Jeff Jakob and team. This nitrous and rubber burning hybrid rocket is a 28 ft. tall, 450 lb behemoth full of complex plumbing and electronics.

I scouted a good vantage point up on top of Jeff’s truck so I could capture both him and his rocket launching. More photos below and video to come.

He is sitting in the foreground at the solar-powered launch control deck, where he can fill the rocket’s tanks with nitrous and initiate launch.

She’s an amazing work of craftsmanship, held together by 420 bolts. It takes 200 lbs of nitrous oxide + 28 lbs of HTPB. Just loading the nitrous takes 40 minutes.

For a sense of the emotion in the air, it's important to know how much persistence it took to get here. And that's not just the drive out from Santa Barbara and a team prepping for days. It's the decade of effort and prior attempts. Here's a recap:

It blew up into tiny bits at BALLS13, so the hydraulic lift and liquid-fuel-pumping pad had to be rebuilt, as well as a shiny new 23 foot tall rocket.

At BALLS16, it screamed up to Mach 3 and exploded (Jeff’s photos).

He made his fourth attempt at BALLS 17. Soon after liftoff, the motor flamed out to the side.

Last year, at BALLS 18, everything was set up in the cold, but the weather worsened, and the team had to pack it all up for that year. The heartbreak of Blue BALLS.

So they were back for the sixth attempt at BALLS 19... It took off just wonderfully, but they lost the airframe over the hills and far away.

Back at BALLS 20, the seventh try was blessed with lady luck. I am asking about the recovery, but the launch itself was picture perfect."

Here is the video:

From the Jurvetson Flickr via TORD.