Author Topic: The Stick - 1966  (Read 6571 times)

Offline Rusty_Barton

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The Stick - 1966
« on: 07/20/2007 10:12 AM »
The Stick - 1966

On the Nasa Technical Reports Server is a Bellcomm study for NASA that
contains an illustration that looks very similar to the Stick.

"A Concept for Handling and Launching Large Solid Rockets - September 30, 1966"
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790073072_1979073072.pdf

Check out the illustrations on page 2 (pdf page 6). It looks like the Stick in 1966.
A solid fuel first stage, liquid fuel second stage. The payload, an Apollo CSM.

Offline Rusty_Barton

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #1 on: 07/23/2007 04:08 PM »
Here is an illustration from the NASA document. It's a Saturn IB with a 21.6 ft diameter solid fuel first stage, S-IVB liquid fueled second stage and Apollo spacecraft payload. A design similar to the Stick proposed in 1966.


Offline SpaceCat

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #2 on: 07/24/2007 01:43 AM »
Ah-ha!  That's the 260 SL-1/SL-2 solid engine that Aerojet was testing out in the Florida Everglades back then.  The ruins of the test site are still there.

Offline dwmzmm

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #3 on: 07/24/2007 02:19 AM »
Interesting concept & documents; looks like a good candidate for a Future Scale/Science Fiction model build!
Dave, NAR # 21853 SR.

Offline CFE

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #4 on: 07/24/2007 03:06 AM »
Any idea of what von Braun thought about the "Stick 1966"?  I've read that von Braun vehemently opposed solid rockets on manned launchers, so he probably would have put the kibosh on "Stick 1966" before it got too far along.  

Von Braun's logic was seemingly validated by the Challenger disaster, yet NASA keeps turning back to solids as it ponders its future in manned spaceflight.  Whether the final choice is "Stick" or "Direct," we will end up flying solids regardless.
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #5 on: 07/26/2007 10:09 PM »
Quote
Von Braun's logic was seemingly validated by the Challenger disaster, yet NASA keeps turning back to solids as it ponders its future in manned spaceflight.

When I worked for the Columbia Accident Investigation Board we considered including a section of the report on rocket reliability and to this end I did some initial research.  One of the things I did was call up the USAF office in charge of launch vehicle reliability and ask them about reliability statistics for liquids versus solids.  They told me that there was essentially no difference.  Failure modes, however, are something else.  Admittedly, I did not take this research very far, and it never ended up in the report, but don't take Challenger as a single data point that establishes a rule.  In fact, for a long time NASA considered the SSMEs to be a much greater risk than the solids.  Lots of moving parts means lots of things that can go wrong.

Offline SpaceCat

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #6 on: 07/26/2007 10:56 PM »
In the wake of this thread, I've been reading up on the Aerojet 260 both on the net and in my own library.  "To Reach The High Frontier" by Launius & Jenkins seems to have the best account.  As an offshoot of solids in the Minuteman ICBM program, the AFRPL granted parallel contracts to Thiokol and Aerojet in 1963 to study larger monolithic (not segmented) solid engines.  Aerojet pretty much built their Everglades test facility 'on spec,' and then used AFRPL funding to develop the engine.  When the funding dried up, everything stopped, but can not find any reference to a pivotal rejection by Von Braun, et. al. for use of 'solids as mains.'
His F-1 was in development, and certainly he felt more comfortable with liquid engines since that's where his background was.

Turning the page a few decades....
'Blackstar' is quite correct.  Challenger's trouble began with a breach of a segmented solid- which can't be compared to monolithic casings containing no o-rings.  Undoubtedly, in the first seconds of that tragedy more than one NASA mind was thinking, 'those damned turbopumps....'

Offline Blackstar

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #7 on: 07/26/2007 11:56 PM »
Quote
SpaceCat - 26/7/2007  5:56 PM
Challenger's trouble began with a breach of a segmented solid- which can't be compared to monolithic casings containing no o-rings.  Undoubtedly, in the first seconds of that tragedy more than one NASA mind was thinking, 'those damned turbopumps....'

I didn't say that it was not right to compare segmented solids to monolithic solids.  I simply wrote that according to the USAF guy I talked to four years ago, there was no statistical difference between large solids and liquid boosters as far as reliability was concerned.  However, since you brought it up, I also asked about segmented vs. monolithic and was told that there was no statistical difference between them as far as the USAF was concerned.  Each has its drawbacks as far as reliability is concerned.  Monolithic solids are harder to examine for flaws, whereas segmented solids are easier to damage but also easier to examine.  There have been some failures of the monolithic solids used to augment the Delta, for example.

Offline SpaceCat

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #8 on: 07/27/2007 12:39 AM »
Thank you for the clarification- interesting history.
What I most meant to emphasize was your

Quote
don't take Challenger as a single data point that establishes a rule.  In fact, for a long time NASA considered the SSMEs to be a much greater risk than the solids.  Lots of moving parts means lots of things that can go wrong.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #9 on: 07/27/2007 04:26 AM »
Quote
CFE - 23/7/2007  10:06 PM

Any idea of what von Braun thought about the "Stick 1966"?  I've read that von Braun vehemently opposed solid rockets on manned launchers, so he probably would have put the kibosh on "Stick 1966" before it got too far along.  

Von Braun's logic was seemingly validated by the Challenger disaster, yet NASA keeps turning back to solids as it ponders its future in manned spaceflight.  Whether the final choice is "Stick" or "Direct," we will end up flying solids regardless.

According to the Stuhlinger/Ordway book  "Wernher von Braun, Crusader for Space", von Braun  wrote, during the 1970-71 period, that "I ... am crusading for a simpler shuttle.  The first stage, presently a gigantic spaceplane with fly-back capability, should be reduced to an arrangement of droppable booster rockets, possibly even with solid propellants."

BTW, according to the book, von Braun favored a small spaceplane shuttle for crew, augmented by continued use of Saturn V for heavy lift unmanned cargo.  Sound familiar?

 - Ed Kyle

Offline simonbp

Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #10 on: 07/27/2007 05:08 AM »
Quote
edkyle99 - 26/7/2007  9:26 PM

BTW, according to the book, von Braun favored a small spaceplane shuttle for crew, augmented by continued use of Saturn V for heavy lift unmanned cargo.  Sound familiar?

Good ideas die hard; whether they get built or not is another question entirely (see the ongoing Mars sample return saga)...

With respect to solids/liquids safety, I seem to get the impression that aeronautical engineers who grew up on jet engines trust the similar liquid rocket engines more than unfamiliar solids. Likewise for "winged" entry bodies, as opposed to more logical circular ones. But maybe I'm wrong...

Simon ;)

Offline Generic Username

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #11 on: 07/28/2007 07:13 PM »
Quote
Rusty_Barton - 23/7/2007  10:08 AM

Here is an illustration from the NASA document. It's a Saturn IB with a 21.6 ft diameter solid fuel first stage, S-IVB liquid fueled second stage and Apollo spacecraft payload. A design similar to the Stick proposed in 1966.


Watch out, now... don't let any furriners see that. Could be ITAR controlled.
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Offline Graham2001

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #12 on: 07/29/2007 01:37 AM »
Quote
Rusty_Barton - 22/7/2007  12:08 AM

Here is an illustration from the NASA document. It's a Saturn IB with a 21.6 ft diameter solid fuel first stage, S-IVB liquid fueled second stage and Apollo spacecraft payload. A design similar to the Stick proposed in 1966.


The launch methods that they considered for that particular design are interesting too, for example, McDonnell-Douglas proposed rebuilding LC37 with silos deep enough to hold the SRB so that they could use trapped exhaust gas to provide extra thrust on take-off. See the illustration.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790072587_1979072587.pdf

Offline simonbp

RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #13 on: 07/29/2007 03:56 AM »
Quote
Graham2001 - 28/7/2007  6:37 PM

The launch methods that they considered for that particular design are interesting too, for example, McDonnell-Douglas proposed rebuilding LC37 with silos deep enough to hold the SRB so that they could use trapped exhaust gas to provide extra thrust on take-off. See the illustration.

Wow, it's like an Apollo ICBM! :) I love the off-handed way they say "The primary problem for this concept is in devising a means of decelerating and stopping the heavy Sabot (50 tons at over 100 fps)".

It does raise a good point, though, do recessed launch pads make more sense? Obviously the technology is there from ICBM silos, but is it logistically easier to dig a big hole or build a big tower?

Simon ;)

Offline Generic Username

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #14 on: 07/29/2007 06:33 AM »
Quote
simonbp - 28/7/2007  9:56 PM

Wow, it's like an Apollo ICBM!

*DEFINITELY* an issue for ITAR.
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Offline Jim

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #15 on: 07/29/2007 11:33 AM »
Quote
simonbp - 28/7/2007  11:56 PM


It does raise a good point, though, do recessed launch pads make more sense? Obviously the technology is there from ICBM silos, but is it logistically easier to dig a big hole or build a big tower?

Simon ;)

Depends where.  Holes in florida fill with water

Offline Graham2001

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #16 on: 07/29/2007 01:23 PM »
Quote
Jim - 28/7/2007  7:33 PM

Quote
simonbp - 28/7/2007  11:56 PM


It does raise a good point, though, do recessed launch pads make more sense? Obviously the technology is there from ICBM silos, but is it logistically easier to dig a big hole or build a big tower?

Simon ;)

Depends where.  Holes in florida fill with water

Well the other launch idea they had was to build a dry-dock into which the barge carrying the fully assembled SRB from the Aerojet factory would be taken.

The SRB would then be raised onto a platform over the dry-dock and after assembly the blast deflector would be floated into the dry-dock prior to launch.

The details are in a document entitled "Implementing Dock Launch of MLV Saturn 1B-5A", dating from December of 1966

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790072544_1979072544.pdf


Offline kevin-rf

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RE: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #17 on: 07/31/2007 03:39 PM »
Quote
Jim - 29/7/2007  7:33 AM

Quote
simonbp - 28/7/2007  11:56 PM


It does raise a good point, though, do recessed launch pads make more sense? Obviously the technology is there from ICBM silos, but is it logistically easier to dig a big hole or build a big tower?

Simon ;)

Depends where.  Holes in florida fill with water

Good question, the typical method to dig big holes below the water table is to freeze the ground arround the hole. But I think you might have problems with that trick so close to the salty atlantic.

Of course you could pull the Boston big dig trick and build a slury wall that you fill with concrete first. Just make sure it is a double wall and it should not leak. I wonder which would cost less, the big dig or a new NASA pad ;)
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Offline pippin

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #18 on: 07/31/2007 03:55 PM »
Digging holes in areas with high ground water levels is a solved problem. My whole city has that condition (3.5 mil inhabitants), so do others like Amsterdam or New Orleans. You can easily build concrete structures underwater since concrete does not have to "dry" to become hard. Standard method AFAIK is the slurry wall. Worked for WTC, might as well work for a pad.
However, provided you have enough space it might still be easier and cheaper to build a pad above ground under these conditions.

Offline Rusty_Barton

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #19 on: 08/16/2007 03:26 PM »
The NASA NTRS server recently posted an AIAA article about the 260-inch  diameter Solid Rocket that was static test-fired several times from 1965 to 1967. Here's a link to that document:

The 260 - The Largest Solid Rocket
AIAA 99-2951 - 20-24 June 1999 - Conference & Exhibit
20-pages

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000033816_2000043549.pdf

Offline gladiator1332

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #20 on: 08/16/2007 06:14 PM »
If anyone has the book on the Space Shuttle that covers the designs entire history, there is also a Stick like concept there too. This design has come up in the past and is nothing new.

Offline CFE

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Re: The Stick - 1966
« Reply #21 on: 08/20/2007 11:11 PM »
I found another document (on the subject of big dumb boosters) that talks about a Saturn-derived "Stick."

http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ota/Ota_2/DATA/1989/8904.PDF

On Page 17, it talks about a McDonnell-Douglas study from Aug 1967 that would put 50 short tons into low earth orbit.  With that level of performance, it must have used the full-length 260" Solid instead of the half-length one that was envisioned for crew launch.

Were the Saturn-derived Stick studies conducted primarily by NASA, or by Douglas / McDonnell-Douglas?
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

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