Author Topic: Solid Propellant Industrial Base  (Read 7905 times)

Offline edkyle99

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Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« on: 06/22/2017 02:35 PM »
..
« Last Edit: 07/31/2017 02:38 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline IRobot

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #1 on: 06/22/2017 03:09 PM »
Interesting... but buying rockets from the Russians is OK...
« Last Edit: 06/22/2017 03:15 PM by IRobot »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #2 on: 06/22/2017 08:54 PM »
Interesting... but buying rockets from the Russians is OK...
They are theoretically different situations.

What the article is describing is supporting a defense industry that currently has no domestic alternatives. Liquid engines on the other hand still have multiple domestic producers.

Online Lar

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #3 on: 06/23/2017 12:37 AM »
My problem is the term "key rocket motor ingredient" ... we need to do away with solids. Full stop.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline gongora

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #4 on: 06/23/2017 12:53 AM »
My problem is the term "key rocket motor ingredient" ... we need to do away with solids. Full stop.

Solids are very good for many military systems.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #5 on: 06/23/2017 09:02 PM »
My problem is the term "key rocket motor ingredient" ... we need to do away with solids. Full stop.

Who is "we", kemosabe? ;-)

As long as the Pentagon wants/needs solids for ICBM's, SLBM's, THAAD, Patriot, AMRAAM, ad nauseum, there will be a need to support the solid propellant industry in this country. You can argue that they shouldn't be used for man-rated launch vehicles, but "doing away" with them totally is wishful thinking.

And since ICBM's aren't launched very often, one way to keep the solids industrial base going is to keep them busy making commercial boosters. You may not like the logic, but that's the underlying driver.

« Last Edit: 06/23/2017 09:22 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #6 on: 06/23/2017 11:16 PM »
Solids are very good for many military systems.

But do solids always require AP?!  ;)
Missile most of the time use more exotic oxidizers.

Doesn't this show that they chose a wrong factory design. The same situation as with the F-35.

OATK NGL could be a good solution. As is going fully for HAN, ADN, RMX, HMX, CN-20/HNIW. But TRL...

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #7 on: 06/23/2017 11:21 PM »
My problem is the term "key rocket motor ingredient" ... we need to do away with solids. Full stop.
As long as the Pentagon wants/needs solids for ICBM's, SLBM's, THAAD, Patriot, AMRAAM, ad nauseum, there will be a need to support the solid propellant industry in this country. You can argue that they shouldn't be used for man-rated launch vehicles, but "doing away" with them totally is wishful thinking.

And since ICBM's aren't launched very often, one way to keep the solids industrial base going is to keep them busy making commercial boosters. You may not like the logic, but that's the underlying driver.

But that logic doesn't even hold up if you compare budgets. The military budget is far larger than any income from commercial or NASA use. If they can't make a sustainable business from military contracts, they don't know what they are doing, and should quit. And arguing from other - smaller - income to help offset costs (what costs? massive income!) is just a sellers marketing push.
« Last Edit: 06/23/2017 11:22 PM by Lars-J »

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #8 on: 06/23/2017 11:37 PM »
My problem is the term "key rocket motor ingredient" ... we need to do away with solids. Full stop.
As long as the Pentagon wants/needs solids for ICBM's, SLBM's, THAAD, Patriot, AMRAAM, ad nauseum, there will be a need to support the solid propellant industry in this country. You can argue that they shouldn't be used for man-rated launch vehicles, but "doing away" with them totally is wishful thinking.

And since ICBM's aren't launched very often, one way to keep the solids industrial base going is to keep them busy making commercial boosters. You may not like the logic, but that's the underlying driver.

But that logic doesn't even hold up if you compare budgets. The military budget is far larger than any income from commercial or NASA use. If they can't make a sustainable business from military contracts, they don't know what they are doing, and should quit. And arguing from other - smaller - income to help offset costs (what costs? massive income!) is just a sellers marketing push.

I won't try to defend the Pentagon.  ;)

The biggest problem with the solids industry is that the Pentagon needs it for huge ICBM contracts every few decades, and in between there's less demand. They can't let the solids industry just wither in between ICBM procurements, because knowledge and expertise get lost, not just facilities. Facilities can be replaced; experts in solids formulation, manufacture, handling, etc aren't so easily replaced. If they don't have jobs, they disappear, and ChemE PhD's with 20+ years experience in propellant chemistry don't grow on trees.*

So there's a big cyclical component to solids procurements, and in between the Pentagon doesn't like to see its capacity wither (witness the hand the Gov't had in the Pepcon/Kerr-McGee merger mentioned in the article.)

(*One major difference between the solids and liquid propellant industries is that solid propellant formulation and production is still as much an art as a science, and subtle chemistry changes between ingredient batches can cause baffling problems that sometimes only gray-hairs with 20+ years of experience can solve. So maintaining expertise in the industry is a big concern.)
« Last Edit: 06/23/2017 11:46 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #9 on: 06/23/2017 11:50 PM »
And since ICBM's aren't launched very often, one way to keep the solids industrial base going is to keep them busy making commercial boosters. You may not like the logic, but that's the underlying driver.

Or scale down the facilities, so they match the current/new demand/ update for the new oxidizers.
Go for stage replacement after ~15 25 years.
The old stages could be used on small launchers; Minotour/Athena (with liquid upper-stages).

I've written this before.
Stimulate small launcher development by using their upper-stage engines on surplus solids.
Why are those four (at VAB more) launch sites for surplus ICBM/SLBM standing dormant. I think each site must have at least three annual launches. This makes these sites also cheaper to use for the micro launch vehicles.

Why can't US companies launch their small/cube satelites on US launchers?
Why can't US companies offer attractive services for Planetlabs, Spire Global, enz.?
This year three PSLV's and two Soyuz launches bring a lot of US cubesat's to orbit.
Not even SpX can offer a decent service to these companies.

 ::) Possibly the pentagon could spread out the ICBM/SLBM procurement?
I think it's fast procurment capability in war times (aka WO3 scenario) that couses this problem.

The AP production facilities require NGL! Or far higher use of Pegasus, Minotaur and Angara or some new solid rockets. Since the Spaceshuttle program stopped, only two five segment ground tests have been executed. and <10 pegasus/GBI.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 09:20 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #10 on: 06/23/2017 11:54 PM »
Solids are very good for many military systems.

But do solids always require AP?!  ;)
Missile most of the time use more exotic oxidizers.

Doesn't this show that they chose a wrong factory design. The same situation as with the F-35.

OATK NGL could be a good solution. As is going fully for HAN, ADN, RMX, HMX, CN-20/HNIW. But TRL...

AP is so well-understood, so (relatively) safe when properly handled (resulting in Class 1.3 low-detonable propellant) and so relatively cheap, it's going to remain the oxidizer of choice in large solid boosters for a long time. HAN and the high-energy oxidizers you list are more expensive and/or more detonable, so are more suitable for smaller tactical missiles, not large launch vehicle booster.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #11 on: 06/23/2017 11:56 PM »
HAN is also 1.3 is i'm not mistaken. Stability and ISP is less unfortunately, at this moment.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #12 on: 06/23/2017 11:56 PM »
And since ICBM's aren't launched very often, one way to keep the solids industrial base going is to keep them busy making commercial boosters. You may not like the logic, but that's the underlying driver.

Or scale down the facilities, so they match the current/new demand/ update for the new oxidizers.
Go for stage replacement after ~15years.
The old stages could be used on small launchers; Minotour/Athena (with liquid upper-stages).

I've written this before.
Stimulate small launcher development by using their upper-stage engines on surplus solids.
Why are those four (at VAB more) launch sites for surplus ICBM/SLBM standing dormant. I think each site must have at least three annual launches. This makes these sites also cheaper to use for the micro launch vehicles.

Why can't US companies launch their small/cube satelites on US launchers?
Why can't US companies offer attractive services for Planetlabs, Spire Global, enz.?
This year three PSLV's and two Soyuz launches bring a lot of US cubesat's to orbit.
Not even SpX can offer a decent service to these companies.

 ::) Possibly the pentagon could spread out the ICBM/SLBM procurement?
I think it's fast procurment capability in war times (aka WO3 scenario) that couses this problem.

The AP production facilities require NGL! Or far higher use of Pegasus, Minotaur and Angara or some new solid rockets. Since the Spaceshuttle program stopped, only two five segment ground tests have been executed. and <10 pegasus/GBI.

Spreading out Pentagon procurements increases cost, so that's not going to happen. And even if you replace ICBM stages every 15 years, that's still 15 years between procurements.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #13 on: 06/23/2017 11:58 PM »
HAN is also 1.3 is i'm not mistaken. Stability and ISP is less unfortunately, at this moment.


Also more expensive IIRC, but even if not, HAN still has the other problems.

Point is, AP is here to stay as the major component in Class 1.3 solids for a long time. Air Force and others have been developing potential replacements for 20+ years and still haven't found a better alternative for low-cost Class 1.3 booster propellants.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 12:02 AM by Kabloona »

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #14 on: 06/24/2017 12:21 AM »
Using surplus ICBM SRBs for low cost small sat LV.

Nice business model for OA, sell Govt a new SRB for ICBM, then buy it back at discount price 15yrs later for commercial smallsat launches.

While seems to make sense would give OA an unfair advantage against likes VG who are building their LVs from scratch.
SpaceX would probably not exist if OA had be able to do this as they would of captured F1 payload market.


Offline gongora

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #15 on: 06/24/2017 12:38 AM »
Isn't there a law against using most of the surplus solids for orbital launch, so they won't compete with our thriving small launcher industry?

Online russianhalo117

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #16 on: 06/24/2017 12:44 AM »
Isn't there a law against using most of the surplus solids for orbital launch, so they won't compete with our thriving small launcher industry?
No the law (rules) predates thriving small launcher industry and prevents their use for all commercial flights which is why Castor-120 based Taurus and Pegasus came about.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #17 on: 06/24/2017 12:58 AM »
Isn't there a law against using most of the surplus solids for orbital launch, so they won't compete with our thriving small launcher industry?
No the law (rules) predates thriving small launcher industry and prevents their use for all commercial flights which is why Castor-120 based Taurus and Pegasus came about.

I think you mean Minotaur. Pegasus doesn't use Gov't surplus motors, though it did benefit from Hercules' Small ICBM program technology that Hercules put into developing the Pegasus motors.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 01:02 AM by Kabloona »

Online russianhalo117

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #18 on: 06/24/2017 01:14 AM »
Isn't there a law against using most of the surplus solids for orbital launch, so they won't compete with our thriving small launcher industry?
No the law (rules) predates thriving small launcher industry and prevents their use for all commercial flights which is why Castor-120 based Taurus and Pegasus came about.

I think you mean Minotaur. Pegasus doesn't use Gov't surplus motors, though it did benefit from Hercules' Small ICBM program technology that Hercules put into developing the Pegasus motors.
read the bold properly

Online Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #19 on: 06/24/2017 01:18 AM »
Keep in mind the economics (total cost) of launch may not allow a business case to close for small payload solids vehicles, regardless of source of the motors.

If the concept of microlaunch is successful,  this too might erode launch service prices considerably - many of the approaches underway are LRE, have simple (sometimes mobile) launch facilities/GSE, and meant to be recoverable.

Ironically, the technologies they use largely come from use with munitions, as also the integration with range/other is as with tactical command and control.

None of these scale well with solid motors, and actually raise more safety issues. Outside of air launch systems, where the risks as a munition can be managed by existing protocols and flight from managed bases, there's not a lot of opportunities for a manifest.

So with the top of the launch services pyramid eroding for solids, and the bottom under attack shortly, there's a circumscribed future back to munitions delivery systems.

Past NGL, don't see much on the horizon.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #20 on: 06/24/2017 01:38 AM »
Isn't there a law against using most of the surplus solids for orbital launch, so they won't compete with our thriving small launcher industry?
No the law (rules) predates thriving small launcher industry and prevents their use for all commercial flights which is why Castor-120 based Taurus and Pegasus came about.

I think you mean Minotaur. Pegasus doesn't use Gov't surplus motors, though it did benefit from Hercules' Small ICBM program technology that Hercules put into developing the Pegasus motors.
read the bold properly

sorry, got your meaning now.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #21 on: 06/24/2017 01:42 AM »

None of these scale well with solid motors, and actually raise more safety issues. Outside of air launch systems, where the risks as a munition can be managed by existing protocols and flight from managed bases, there's not a lot of opportunities for a manifest.

So with the top of the launch services pyramid eroding for solids, and the bottom under attack shortly, there's a circumscribed future back to munitions delivery systems.

Past NGL, don't see much on the horizon.

Which is another reason for the Pentagon to be concerned about the solids industrial base, and all the more reason to force OA et alia to buy local.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 01:50 AM by Kabloona »

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #22 on: 06/24/2017 02:32 AM »
If Pentagon is really concerned about the solids industrial base, the obvious answer is staring them in the face. Spread out procurement to smaller contracts awarded more often. Downsizing for contractors is OK...

Online russianhalo117

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #23 on: 06/24/2017 02:37 AM »

None of these scale well with solid motors, and actually raise more safety issues. Outside of air launch systems, where the risks as a munition can be managed by existing protocols and flight from managed bases, there's not a lot of opportunities for a manifest.

So with the top of the launch services pyramid eroding for solids, and the bottom under attack shortly, there's a circumscribed future back to munitions delivery systems.

Past NGL, don't see much on the horizon.

Which is another reason for the Pentagon to be concerned about the solids industrial base, and all the more reason to force OA et alia to buy local.
ATK tried to buy the Pepcon in the early 90s but was denied on anti-trust regs

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #24 on: 06/24/2017 03:04 AM »
If Pentagon is really concerned about the solids industrial base, the obvious answer is staring them in the face. Spread out procurement to smaller contracts awarded more often. Downsizing for contractors is OK...

Well, then it costs them (and us taxpayers) more, and it's difficult to spread out the really big procurements like ICBMS across decades instead of years.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #25 on: 06/24/2017 03:33 AM »
If Pentagon is really concerned about the solids industrial base, the obvious answer is staring them in the face. Spread out procurement to smaller contracts awarded more often. Downsizing for contractors is OK...

Well, then it costs them (and us taxpayers) more, and it's difficult to spread out the really big procurements like ICBMS across decades instead of years.

No. Only in politics does that make sense. Why should it cost more to buy less?

Why do we need an enormous solids industrial base? Are we suddenly going to use up all weapons and need a massive super sized buy? No trust me - if we suddenly have a massive need of new missiles because we fired most of them, there won't be a civilization left to worry about.

Offline gospacex

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #26 on: 06/24/2017 09:19 AM »
I'm surprised to hear that ICBMs are such a huge fraction of all solid production. I thought the smaller stuff, from hand-held AT4s to AMRAAMs to SM3 to MLRS to ATACMS is continually in production and collectively their numbers are substantial?
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 09:20 AM by gospacex »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #27 on: 06/24/2017 10:59 AM »
I'm surprised to hear that ICBMs are such a huge fraction of all solid production. I thought the smaller stuff, from hand-held AT4s to AMRAAMs to SM3 to MLRS to ATACMS is continually in production and collectively their numbers are substantial?

I think the real problem is the elimination of RSRMs. The Space shuttle launch roughly 3x annually. Each launch required 2x 4-segment RSRMs that contain 1.1mln lb. So 6x 1.1mln lb = 6.6mln lb of production was droped with the termination of the Space shuttle program.

The Atlas and Delta rockets use considerable numbers of solids that are roughly the same size as SLBM/ICBM first stages. Delta 4 roughly 4x and Atlas V roughly 12x solids of ~65k lb of solid fuel ~1mln lb.
The active fleet of SLBMs ICBMs and GBI are in the range of 600-750 missiles. Each missile contains between 50k and 130k lb of solid fuel. Lets assume an average of 85k lb and a stowage live of 25years. Annual production would be 24-30 missiles or 2 - 2.5mln lb of solid propallent.
Most smaller missiles only contain <300lb of propallent. with a annual production of 5000 = 1.5mln lb.
Larger missiles (SM; PAC; Thaad) Contain ~1500lb; lets assume their production is at 500 annually = 0.75mln lb.

So RSRBs were the largest users. And their requirement is gone. The facilities are to large for the requirement without new large solid boosters. Safraan has the Ariane program that is by far the larges costumer.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #28 on: 06/24/2017 01:08 PM »
I'm surprised to hear that ICBMs are such a huge fraction of all solid production. I thought the smaller stuff, from hand-held AT4s to AMRAAMs to SM3 to MLRS to ATACMS is continually in production and collectively their numbers are substantial?

I think the real problem is the elimination of RSRMs. The Space shuttle launch roughly 3x annually. Each launch required 2x 4-segment RSRMs that contain 1.1mln lb. So 6x 1.1mln lb = 6.6mln lb of production was droped with the termination of the Space shuttle program.

The Atlas and Delta rockets use considerable numbers of solids that are roughly the same size as SLBM/ICBM first stages. Delta 4 roughly 4x and Atlas V roughly 12x solids of ~65k lb of solid fuel ~1mln lb.
The active fleet of SLBMs ICBMs and GBI are in the range of 600-750 missiles. Each missile contains between 50k and 130k lb of solid fuel. Lets assume an average of 85k lb and a stowage live of 25years. Annual production would be 24-30 missiles or 2 - 2.5mln lb of solid propallent.

Yes, and the problem with ICBM/SLBM is that not many of them are used in peacetime, so you end up with huge spikes in capacity need every few decades when new designs (eg Peacekeeper) get built.

And as I've said above, it's not just the need for facilities, it's the need for chemists, ChemE's, etc, with experience in solid propellant chemistry, which is notoriously tricky. You can't just get those people out of grad school. A lot of the old gray-hairs from Shuttle SRB, Peacekeeper, etc, are disappearing, and some of their knowledge is being lost. Some things can't be learned from books. So it's a concern that the industry is losing this expertise.

Offline Jim

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #29 on: 06/24/2017 01:11 PM »

1.  But do solids always require AP?!  ;)
2.  Missile most of the time use more exotic oxidizers.

1. yes
2. no


Offline Jim

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #30 on: 06/24/2017 01:16 PM »
If Pentagon is really concerned about the solids industrial base, the obvious answer is staring them in the face. Spread out procurement to smaller contracts awarded more often. Downsizing for contractors is OK...

That doesn't work.  There is no way to spread out a new ICBM development into smaller more often contracts.

Offline Jim

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #31 on: 06/24/2017 01:17 PM »
If Pentagon is really concerned about the solids industrial base, the obvious answer is staring them in the face. Spread out procurement to smaller contracts awarded more often. Downsizing for contractors is OK...

Well, then it costs them (and us taxpayers) more, and it's difficult to spread out the really big procurements like ICBMS across decades instead of years.

No. Only in politics does that make sense. Why should it cost more to buy less?


No, that is reality.  it costs more per unit because of fixed costs.

Offline gospacex

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #32 on: 06/24/2017 01:18 PM »
And as I've said above, it's not just the need for facilities, it's the need for chemists, ChemE's, etc, with experience in solid propellant chemistry, which is notoriously tricky. You can't just get those people out of grad school. A lot of the old gray-hairs from Shuttle SRB, Peacekeeper, etc, are disappearing, and some of their knowledge is being lost. Some things can't be learned from books. So it's a concern that the industry is losing this expertise.

I would think the number of chemists required is not scaling linearly with the mass of SRMs built? If you are building, say, relatively "small" motors of SM3 missiles (compared to Shuttle SRBs), you still need about the same number of chemists controlling fuel parameters, no?

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #33 on: 06/24/2017 01:31 PM »
And as I've said above, it's not just the need for facilities, it's the need for chemists, ChemE's, etc, with experience in solid propellant chemistry, which is notoriously tricky. You can't just get those people out of grad school. A lot of the old gray-hairs from Shuttle SRB, Peacekeeper, etc, are disappearing, and some of their knowledge is being lost. Some things can't be learned from books. So it's a concern that the industry is losing this expertise.

I would think the number of chemists required is not scaling linearly with the mass of SRMs built? If you are building, say, relatively "small" motors of SM3 missiles (compared to Shuttle SRBs), you still need about the same number of chemists controlling fuel parameters, no?

Yes, it's not a perfectly linear relationship, but the smaller the demand in the "down" years, the fewer experienced people you have available the when DoD gets around to replacing Minuteman. (Those plans are in work, but it will be many years before motors start being cast.)

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/09/25/us-air-force-set-replace-intercontinental-nuke-arsenal.html
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 01:44 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Lars-J

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Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #34 on: 06/24/2017 04:33 PM »
If Pentagon is really concerned about the solids industrial base, the obvious answer is staring them in the face. Spread out procurement to smaller contracts awarded more often. Downsizing for contractors is OK...

That doesn't work.  There is no way to spread out a new ICBM development into smaller more often contracts.

Then they are going to have to figure out another way and do more with less.

Because there is a decent chance that in the near-ish future (10-20yrs) there will *No* solids used in any domestic launch vehicle. Vulcan may be the last of its breed.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 04:33 PM by Lars-J »

Offline Jim

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #35 on: 06/24/2017 05:02 PM »

Because there is a decent chance that in the near-ish future (10-20yrs) there will *No* solids used in any domestic launch vehicle. Vulcan may be the last of its breed.

No, there will still be quick reaction vehicles.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #36 on: 06/24/2017 06:02 PM »

None of these scale well with solid motors, and actually raise more safety issues. Outside of air launch systems, where the risks as a munition can be managed by existing protocols and flight from managed bases, there's not a lot of opportunities for a manifest.

So with the top of the launch services pyramid eroding for solids, and the bottom under attack shortly, there's a circumscribed future back to munitions delivery systems.

Past NGL, don't see much on the horizon.

Which is another reason for the Pentagon to be concerned about the solids industrial base, and all the more reason to force OA et alia to buy local.

As they did before solids were used for LV's. Suggest it was an unsuccessful diversion for a few decades, and that's drawing to a close. IMHO, it was a precarious presumption from the start, and held back LV development.

Now, back to coping with Eisenhower's "Military Industrial Base", which he sternly warned about ... it's the same issue it has always been, and likely always will be. Omitting the above evasion, like any weapons system, you phase in/out .

Thoughts: 

A) What if there never really was a means to reduce the costs, and this was just a giant "red herring" that gets to be continually resurrected?

B) What if we keep instantiating the same technology instead of finding/evolving the next follow-on to current solids, suggesting that we need to budget tech research (weapons development) as the increment in funding, where that might find alternate uses to broaden the base of usage?

(The key reason solids are uninteresting as LV propulsion is not that they are solids but because while they are "good enough" performance wise for current weapons systems delivery, its that they are ludicrously not competitive. If we couldn't afford the weapons systems because they are not funded by government fiat, they wouldn't be made this way.)

C) Perhaps its due to the global lack of rivals for such weapons systems that there is no pressure on such propulsion systems? If so, then the lifetime of such systems must be extended, and we should "end of life" solids and drive all into exotic weapons systems research for means that don't require such propulsions? (ie. eventually solids will become too routine by all rivals that the cost of the installed base IS the barrier to use)

I wonder if we are receiving the right message here, or simply trying to avoid the obvious conclusion: that we are supporting/preserving a "dead end". Time to "think different" in some manner.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #37 on: 06/24/2017 06:04 PM »

Because there is a decent chance that in the near-ish future (10-20yrs) there will *No* solids used in any domestic launch vehicle. Vulcan may be the last of its breed.

No, there will still be quick reaction vehicles.
You can make them w/o solids. Perhaps you are being too narrow minded as to solutions?

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #38 on: 06/24/2017 06:21 PM »
You can make them w/o solids. Perhaps you are being too narrow minded as to solutions?

No, the point that was too narrow minded is thinking that there would be no solid launch vehicles at all.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 06:22 PM by Jim »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #39 on: 06/24/2017 06:24 PM »
You can make them w/o solids. Perhaps you are being too narrow minded as to solutions?

No, the point that was too narrow minded is thinking that there would be no solid launch vehicles at all.

If it can't economically justify its existence (and becomes too easy for others), it's military significance is lost.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #40 on: 06/24/2017 06:27 PM »

(The key reason solids are uninteresting as LV propulsion is not that they are solids but because while they are "good enough" performance wise for current weapons systems delivery, its that they are ludicrously not competitive. If we couldn't afford the weapons systems because they are not funded by government fiat, they wouldn't be made this way.)


Not true at all.  Solid motors vehicles have lower O&M costs than a liquid system.  They are the cheaper solution, that is why they exist in the first place.  They are more responsive and quicker reaction time.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #41 on: 06/24/2017 06:29 PM »
If it can't economically justify its existence (and becomes too easy for others), it's military significance is lost.

wrong.  they are no different than aircraft carrier and SLBM shipyards. They do not economically justify their existence but they are militarily necessary .
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 06:31 PM by Jim »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #42 on: 06/24/2017 06:47 PM »

(The key reason solids are uninteresting as LV propulsion is not that they are solids but because while they are "good enough" performance wise for current weapons systems delivery, its that they are ludicrously not competitive. If we couldn't afford the weapons systems because they are not funded by government fiat, they wouldn't be made this way.)


Not true at all.  Solid motors vehicles have lower O&M costs than a liquid system.  They are the cheaper solution, that is why they exist in the first place.
Retrospectively only.

If we consider the impact of electric powered LRE's, they have the potential to displace solids and exceed performance.

Quote
They are more responsive and quicker reaction time.
Tactical response rate yes, although you could have a pulsed energy propulsion system that's faster/quicker (sub millisecond).

More than one way to achieve the effect. What if someone else invests first and it's key to a tactical advantage?

And as to strategic response, storables are adequate, and electric powered fill/drain isn't a significant impact for the limited scale weapons we're looking at.

If it can't economically justify its existence (and becomes too easy for others), it's military significance is lost.

wrong.  they are no different than aircraft carrier and SLBM shipyards. They do not economically justify their existence but they are militarily necessary .


You don't need the bulk of the existing military industrial complex we're supporting to generate comparable threat level.

Thus you invite threat that outspends you, because it encourages an arms race where a large economic pulse in a narrow footprint that eclipses yours before you can ramp to meet the threat.

So your justification kills you. Brilliant.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #43 on: 06/24/2017 06:55 PM »
And as to strategic response, storables are adequate, and electric powered fill/drain isn't a significant impact for the limited scale weapons we're looking at.


What storables?  There are still more O&M costs with liquids, even benign ones. Electric powered fill/drain has no bearing on the matter.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #44 on: 06/24/2017 06:57 PM »

You don't need the bulk of the existing military industrial complex we're supporting to generate comparable threat level.


that is not true and not a subject for debate here

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #45 on: 06/24/2017 07:14 PM »
And as to strategic response, storables are adequate, and electric powered fill/drain isn't a significant impact for the limited scale weapons we're looking at.


What storables?  There are still more O&M costs with liquids, even benign ones. Electric powered fill/drain has no bearing on the matter.
Russia/others still use storables.

O&M costs with LOX/HC in smaller volumes have dropped due to economic/technology shifts. Given that vehicle/payload size for weapons is similarly constrained, its worth a new look/formulation.

Fill/drain matter as time to launch.


You don't need the bulk of the existing military industrial complex we're supporting to generate comparable threat level.


that is not true and not a subject for debate here
Examine my earlier posts that detailed the rationale.

Why is it not subject for debate? Wouldn't it explain the economic history here well?

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #46 on: 06/24/2017 07:37 PM »
Maintaining LOX at a missile site for decades is going to cost.  A solid has to be mixed and poured only once

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #47 on: 06/24/2017 07:49 PM »
Maintaining LOX at a missile site for decades is going to cost.  A solid has to be mixed and poured only once
We manage various cryogen's routinely at manufacturing and medical facilities. Everyday occurrence is passing a cryogen truck on the freeway. You're mired in the past.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #48 on: 06/24/2017 08:02 PM »
The Navy will never load up a submarine with cryogenic or hypergolic fuels. Never.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #49 on: 06/24/2017 08:08 PM »
Maintaining LOX at a missile site for decades is going to cost.  A solid has to be mixed and poured only once
We manage various cryogen's routinely at manufacturing and medical facilities. Everyday occurrence is passing a cryogen truck on the freeway. You're mired in the past.

 No, you are ignoring reality.  I am talking about weekly/monthly trips to refill 400-500 tanks thoughout the Dakotas and Wyoming.  And more often when they have a readiness test and load the missile.   And there is that submarine thing.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #50 on: 06/24/2017 08:16 PM »
The Navy will never load up a submarine with cryogenic or hypergolic fuels. Never.
For some of the MHD propulsion concepts they've investigated, yes, they've had large volumes of cryogen's well under water in a submarine. They make cryogenic oxygen a walk in the park in comparison.

Plus, there are some nanotech cryogenic cooling technologies that can avoid the need for plumbing and venting (except for emergency venting, which is handled as a part of safeing procedures.

Do not wish to derail this thread. But do wish to point out that technology isn't frozen.

So instead of identifying issues, please consider the theme behind what I was saying up thread.

Edit/lar: a bit of softening

Maintaining LOX at a missile site for decades is going to cost.  A solid has to be mixed and poured only once
We manage various cryogen's routinely at manufacturing and medical facilities. Everyday occurrence is passing a cryogen truck on the freeway. You're mired in the past.

 No, you are ignoring reality.  I am talking about weekly/monthly trips to refill 400-500 tanks thoughout the Dakotas and Wyoming.  And more often when they have a readiness test and load the missile.   And there is that submarine thing.

You're just evading my comments up thread, hoping for a miracle. You don't need as much cryogens if a)you're missiles are smaller and b) you regen in place economically. It's just top off.

You're stuck in the past with the ancient Atlas ICBMs. Am talking about cutting edge things starting to happen in other markets, that will go back into aerospace.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2017 09:23 PM by Lar »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #51 on: 06/24/2017 08:39 PM »

Or is it too much to face that challenge head on?
So you either advance it, or get on with something else that is advancing. Got that?

No, I'm afraid I don't.

Why does ceasing production of ammonium perchlorate "advance" but continuing production of it "stops?" Seeing as that's the topic at hand.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 08:40 PM by rayleighscatter »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #52 on: 06/24/2017 09:32 PM »

Or is it too much to face that challenge head on?
So you either advance it, or get on with something else that is advancing. Got that?

No, I'm afraid I don't.

Why does ceasing production of ammonium perchlorate "advance" but continuing production of it "stops?" Seeing as that's the topic at hand.

The topic of this thread is "Solid Propellant Industrial Base". AP is only a fraction of that.

My earlier post inline here:

None of these scale well with solid motors, and actually raise more safety issues. Outside of air launch systems, where the risks as a munition can be managed by existing protocols and flight from managed bases, there's not a lot of opportunities for a manifest.

So with the top of the launch services pyramid eroding for solids, and the bottom under attack shortly, there's a circumscribed future back to munitions delivery systems.

Past NGL, don't see much on the horizon.

Which is another reason for the Pentagon to be concerned about the solids industrial base, and all the more reason to force OA et alia to buy local.

As they did before solids were used for LV's. Suggest it was an unsuccessful diversion for a few decades, and that's drawing to a close. IMHO, it was a precarious presumption from the start, and held back LV development.

Now, back to coping with Eisenhower's "Military Industrial Base", which he sternly warned about ... it's the same issue it has always been, and likely always will be. Omitting the above evasion, like any weapons system, you phase in/out .

Thoughts: 

A) What if there never really was a means to reduce the costs, and this was just a giant "red herring" that gets to be continually resurrected?

B) What if we keep instantiating the same technology instead of finding/evolving the next follow-on to current solids, suggesting that we need to budget tech research (weapons development) as the increment in funding, where that might find alternate uses to broaden the base of usage?

(The key reason solids are uninteresting as LV propulsion is not that they are solids but because while they are "good enough" performance wise for current weapons systems delivery, its that they are ludicrously not competitive. If we couldn't afford the weapons systems because they are not funded by government fiat, they wouldn't be made this way.)

C) Perhaps its due to the global lack of rivals for such weapons systems that there is no pressure on such propulsion systems? If so, then the lifetime of such systems must be extended, and we should "end of life" solids and drive all into exotic weapons systems research for means that don't require such propulsions? (ie. eventually solids will become too routine by all rivals that the cost of the installed base IS the barrier to use)

I wonder if we are receiving the right message here, or simply trying to avoid the obvious conclusion: that we are supporting/preserving a "dead end". Time to "think different" in some manner.

Eisenhower warned of "the tail wagging the dog". Is the need for a weapons system component "tail" wagging the launch provider's dog? AP is a means to that end. Perhaps a) there is an alternative here and we are not listening, or b) we are so stuck in a rut that we don't notice that if its a single use (e.g. "weapons system component") unchanging technology otherwise not competitive, perhaps it is a strategic vulnerability that we might get bogged down in?

Additional collateral so Jim can nitpick me more:

Have been due dilligencing microlaunch's more than a dozen companies/concepts, most of which have significant flaws for becoming providers (perhaps they will "cure" them and survive). Some of what they've done illustrates alternative weapons delivery concepts that might be credible. Not a single one of them involves AP or solids in general.

If any succeed, the growth path for them puts them above ICBM levels, with a much improved economic base, that leverages other indigenous industry strengths. They could become rival technologies that might shift certain balances.

Also, in other tech sectors there's been developments in propellants and cryogen handling, for non aerospace application. One is to reduce the cost of maintaining cryogens on location by reducing deliveries from once a week to once a year. And that's not even changing old insulation or plumbing/dispensing.

So ... are we solving the right problem. Which Jim thinks is OT.

Something else not being heard is that perhaps the problem isn't solids per se, but that expensive military solids price themselves out of markets entirely, and perhaps if you want dual use, you fix that problem first and phase it back in to military use.

Did this try work any better than the last? Thank you for asking.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #53 on: 06/24/2017 09:38 PM »
Very interesting argument, but Once a year is just plain wrong.  That doesn't happen without energy input.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 09:47 PM by Chris Bergin »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #54 on: 06/24/2017 10:07 PM »
Very interesting argument, but Once a year is just plain wrong.  That doesn't happen without energy input.
Thank you for the fine complement.

You're right, it doesn't happen w/o energy input. In the example I cited, it has tons of energy added in. Electrical energy.

In fact the key weakness in the technology mentioned is that they need to improve the power consumption used by its "recondensing in tank" nanotechnology. It's fascinating how it works, but its not yet ready for prime time.

That it can work is what impressed me. And ... it was done on a trivial grant. Am trying to get them more attention from certain interests. There's another also with a more traditional chiller too.

(Some particle accelerators and detector's I've worked with have given me experience with superconductors and cryogens, FWIW. But that's OT.)

add:

FWIW

Another way of putting my upthread comments is "perhaps its time to disrupt solid proplusion technology or weapons delivery systems". Disrupt as in disruptive technology

Which isn't a "dirty word" here as some might consider it, but actually an exciting prospect.

Hope this helps you understand the perspective I'm attempting to share to complement this discussion.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2017 10:13 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline butters

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #55 on: 06/24/2017 10:16 PM »
This seems like a failure of vertical integration. I'm not sure if AMPAC is producing or buying sodium chlorate, but it looks like they are at least producing sodium perchlorate in-house. This is an electrolytic process which benefits massively from economies of scale and is similar to the process used to produce chlorine and lye.

Producing, handling, and storing ammonium perchlorate is much more hazardous, but it's a relatively simple process which if anything benefits from the smallest practical scale. Vertically integrating these two processes just doesn't seem like a wise idea.

Offline Rebel44

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #56 on: 06/24/2017 11:21 PM »
IMO: If armed forces want someone to support Solid propellant industry, they should buy more rocket artillery and large stockpiles of ammo for it - instead of asking for others (who have budget that is fraction of DoD budget) to subsidize that industry.

Forcing industry to become more efficient would also help...

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #57 on: 06/25/2017 01:38 AM »
Russia/others still use storables.
Russia, China, India, Pakistan, even Iran and North Korea, are upgrading or creating new solid motor missile systems as fast as they can.  Russia specifically is phasing out storable missiles while developing new solid missiles. 

The last U.S. storable ICBM was Titan 2, which infamously suffered a series of disasters and near-disasters during its service.  The big missiles were retired to be replaced by MX - a solid motor missile (subsequently retired as a result of arms talks).  More recently, the U.S. has been replacing/upgrading solid motors on its existing Minuteman missiles.  It continues to test its solid motor SLBMs with regular cadence.  It is developing a new generation of ABMs that are all, of course, solid motor based.  It is working on a new generation of advanced solid motors that could lead to a new ICBM to eventually replace Minuteman.

As for next generation launch vehicles, Ariane 6, Vulcan, GLSV-Mk 3, H-3, the advanced Vega, etc., all plan to use solid motors.  China has introduced a series of new solid-motor based orbital launchers.  Those that don't use them (Falcon 9, New Glenn, CZ-7, etc.) are probably in the minority.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 01:46 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #58 on: 06/25/2017 02:02 AM »
As for next generation launch vehicles, Ariane 6, Vulcan, GLSV-Mk 3, H-3, the advanced Vega, etc., all plan to use solid motors.  China has introduced a series of new solid-motor based orbital launchers.  Those that don't use them (Falcon 9, New Glenn, CZ-7, etc.) are probably in the minority.

My point was about US launchers. And all those launchers you listed are already operational or deep in development. (Vulcan being the newest) From this point on, I doubt you will see few - if any - launchers with solids announced.

As for the domestic situation, SLS and Vulcan is very likely the last gasp of solids in domestic space launch. (The only exception being the OATK's own NGLV, if they spend their own money)

But if you still think that solids are the future for space launch, I'll gladly make a bet with you.

-----------

EDIT: Just to be clear, as far as ICBMs go, solids are (currently) the way to go, I don't see that going away anytime soon. My point is merely about *space launch* and how that technology will diverge from missiles.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 02:03 AM by Lars-J »

Offline Chasm

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #59 on: 06/25/2017 05:36 AM »
Time for a solid fuel tax.  8)
As in: If your launch vehicles does not use (significant) amounts of solid fuel you pay the tax.

No idea what will get actually done with that money, but some district will certainly need it.


Europe will face a similar problem post Ariane 6.
The companies and nations with solid propellant production certainly want to stay in business even if reuse needs different solutions.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #60 on: 06/25/2017 04:53 PM »
But if you still think that solids are the future for space launch, I'll gladly make a bet with you.
I would not say the future.  I would say that solids are going to be a part of the future for space launch. 

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #61 on: 06/25/2017 07:52 PM »
Have been due dilligencing microlaunch's more than a dozen companies/concepts, most of which have significant flaws for becoming providers (perhaps they will "cure" them and survive). Some of what they've done illustrates alternative weapons delivery concepts that might be credible. Not a single one of them involves AP or solids in general.

Then you haven't done your evaluation well. You forgot:
Super Strypi; CubeCab; Up Aerospace Spyder, bSpace Volant; JAXA's SS-540-4; VLM-1; Celestia Aerospace.

Quote
Also, in other tech sectors there's been developments in propellants and cryogen handling, for non aerospace application. One is to reduce the cost of maintaining cryogens on location by reducing deliveries from once a week to once a year. And that's not even changing old insulation or plumbing/dispensing.
Just a link; hypergolic Masten style

Quote
So ... are we solving the right problem. Which Jim thinks is OT.

Something else not being heard is that perhaps the problem isn't solids per se, but that expensive military solids price themselves out of markets entirely, and perhaps if you want dual use, you fix that problem first and phase it back in to military use.
Are we discussing the right problem?

Could the drop in AP-usage, because the spaceshuttle demand fall away, be the problem!?
Are the AP-production facilities oversized for launcher, and missile demand?

I think cryogenics for strategic missiles is a very bad idea.
Again, HTP >85% + Hydrocarbon / Hypergolic Masten style (also for BMD EKV?)

Could OATK NGL generate enough demand to maintain the AP facilities?
Is my impression correct?
Is a two or three segment RSRM (expendable solid) equivalent in booster performance as a Falcon 9 first stage?
If a expendable segment could be build for 15mln, A two stage to orbit (LOx-RP-1/LNG 2th stage) could cost 50-75mln. For the same performance as falcon 9 (reusable).
« Last Edit: 06/26/2017 10:55 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #62 on: 06/25/2017 08:12 PM »
Russia/others still use storables.
Russia, China, India, Pakistan, even Iran and North Korea, are upgrading or creating new solid motor missile systems as fast as they can.  Russia specifically is phasing out storable missiles while developing new solid missiles. 

The last U.S. storable ICBM was Titan 2, which infamously suffered a series of disasters and near-disasters during its service.

There's an excellent documentary film "Command and Control" about one of those accidents, in Arkansas in 1980. Anyone who thinks the Air Force is ever going back to liquid ICBM's should watch that documentary. A dropped socket punctured a Titan II tank, which led to an eventual explosion, throwing the warhead some distance. The Air Force claimed the warhead was never in danger of triggering, but some experts believe the probability of accidential triggering was significantly greater than zero.

If that had been a solid motor, the socket would have dinged the motor case, and probably nothing worse.

No way DoD wants to relive those nightmares.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/
http://www.salon.com/2016/09/14/the-night-we-almost-lost-arkansas-a-1980-nuclear-armageddon-that-almost-was/
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 08:23 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #63 on: 06/25/2017 08:32 PM »
1.  But do solids always require AP?!  ;)
2.  Missile most of the time use more exotic oxidizers.

1. yes
2. no
... Low smoke !!!

If Pentagon is really concerned about the solids industrial base, the obvious answer is staring them in the face. Spread out procurement to smaller contracts awarded more often. Downsizing for contractors is OK...

That doesn't work.  There is no way to spread out a new ICBM development into smaller more often contracts.

Jim can you elaborate on this?

I don't know the details about producing AP. My intuition tells me you could use batch production or a continuous production proces. The cost/lb off AP is lowest with a continuous proces, when that facility is fully utilized. But if the total demand is to low, batch production is beter. Chemical plants can most of the times be scaled. If a plant is oversized, the cost per unit spirals out of control.

Offline Jim

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #64 on: 06/25/2017 08:36 PM »
 ICBM procurement only happens decades apart

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #65 on: 06/25/2017 09:13 PM »
ICBM; SLBM & GBI.
But the production runs couldn't take a decade, or more?
With 600-750 large missiles with three stages and a 25year live expectancy the annual requirement is 72 to 90 stages. The same facility could be used to produce the strap-on boosters.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 09:18 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline Rebel44

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #66 on: 06/25/2017 09:17 PM »
ICBM procurement only happens decades apart

Just because thats considered "normal" doesnt mean it couldnt or shouldnt be changed.

Or USAF/USN can try to figure out another way to keep industrial base reasonably stable - everyone else is constantly being told to do "more with less"

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #67 on: 06/25/2017 09:37 PM »
But if you still think that solids are the future for space launch, I'll gladly make a bet with you.
I would not say the future.  I would say that solids are going to be a part of the future for space launch. 

 - Ed Kyle
What part specifically of space launch?

* Booster? (in competition with LRE reuse ones from 3-6 different providers in nano to SHLV)
* US? (in competition with one reusable, 8 with higher ISP/thrust, ...)
* Strap ons? (competing with lower cost excess booster capacity)
* LAS/ullage/PAM/other? (competing with reusable sats/capsules/...)

Volume?
« Last Edit: 06/25/2017 09:47 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #68 on: 06/25/2017 11:59 PM »
p
ICBM procurement only happens decades apart

Just because thats considered "normal" doesnt mean it couldnt or shouldnt be changed.

It's practically impossible to change the "decades apart" ICBM procurement model, because fielding a new ICBM design is hugely expensive, so DoD naturally tries to get the longest lifetime possible out of the existing model. Look at how old Minuteman is, it even outlasted the Peacekeeper that was designed to replace it and then scrapped to keep Minuteman alive.

So the longer you extend the life of your current generation ICBM, the longer you put off the next generation procurement, and during that extended time you have to keep your industrial base capable, making all the other solids the military and commercial worlds need.

Quote
Or USAF/USN can try to figure out another way to keep industrial base reasonably stable - everyone else is constantly being told to do "more with less"

That's what they're trying to do with the proposed requirement to buy domestic AP for DoD & NASA missions.
« Last Edit: 06/26/2017 12:05 AM by Kabloona »

Offline Jim

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #69 on: 06/26/2017 12:52 AM »
ICBM; SLBM & GBI.
But the production runs couldn't take a decade, or more?

No, the production cycle is only a few years, the sustainment period is the rest of the time.


Offline josespeck

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #70 on: 06/26/2017 09:59 AM »
ICBM; SLBM & GBI.
But the production runs couldn't take a decade, or more?

No, the production cycle is only a few years, the sustainment period is the rest of the time.

How many missiles are made in the world per year?.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #71 on: 06/26/2017 01:16 PM »
But if you still think that solids are the future for space launch, I'll gladly make a bet with you.
I would not say the future.  I would say that solids are going to be a part of the future for space launch. 

 - Ed Kyle
What part specifically of space launch?

* Booster? (in competition with LRE reuse ones from 3-6 different providers in nano to SHLV)
* US? (in competition with one reusable, 8 with higher ISP/thrust, ...)
* Strap ons? (competing with lower cost excess booster capacity)
* LAS/ullage/PAM/other? (competing with reusable sats/capsules/...)

Volume?
Strap-on motors for sure.  Possibly core vehicle stages as well.  Bigger air launch rockets may be one application.  I do think that the days of the spinner GTO/GEO type solid motors are mostly behind us.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/26/2017 01:17 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #72 on: 06/26/2017 05:01 PM »
...
Strap-on motors for sure.  Possibly core vehicle stages as well.  Bigger air launch rockets may be one application.  I do think that the days of the spinner GTO/GEO type solid motors are mostly behind us.

 - Ed Kyle

Solids strap ons aren't ideal for reuse of a core stage, so I only see them lasting only as long as expendable-only cores are flying. Which certainly could be a while yet.

I think use for abort and kick stages could easily last longer.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #73 on: 06/26/2017 05:46 PM »
But if you still think that solids are the future for space launch, I'll gladly make a bet with you.
I would say that solids are going to be a part of the future for space launch. 
Volume?
Back to my post's unanswered question - volume?

...
Strap-on motors for sure.  Possibly core vehicle stages as well.  Bigger air launch rockets may be one application.  I do think that the days of the spinner GTO/GEO type solid motors are mostly behind us.

 - Ed Kyle

Solids strap ons aren't ideal for reuse of a core stage, so I only see them lasting only as long as expendable-only cores are flying. Which certainly could be a while yet.

I think use for abort and kick stages could easily last longer.

The original point of Shuttle was weekly launches of 2x RSRB as a volume of AP/segment casts.

The original point of EELV was no solids (given Titan II/IV/CELV solids experience in cost structures and launch delays).

The point of Vulcan's growth in part was to cover a greater range of payloads before resorting to solids, at a time when payload expectations are fewer/lighter, and a future ACES US to handle large scale payload.

What's the volume of AP for space launch (trend)? Does it matter at all for ICBM production?

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #74 on: 06/26/2017 07:33 PM »
Hard to find AP production figures on the web, but the following paper gives a snapshot of US production, probably circa 2004. Don't know when the paper was written, but evidently after 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

Summary from the paper:

AMPAC annual sales of ammonium perchlorate (AP):

12.6 - 20.3 million lbs annually (1998-2003)
11.3 million lbs annually (for some unspecified year after 2003 Columbia accident, presumably 2004)

ATK purchased half of AMPAC's AP sales for Shuttle, Minuteman, Titan, Delta, Pegasus, etc.
Other half of sales went to other programs including Patriot, Atlas, Standard Missile, MLRS.

https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/upload/HWMP_WS_dPerch-Sec5.pdf

Then, from AMPAC's 2012 annual report, they forecast a range of 2.5 million - 5 million lbs per year in sales for the next 5 years.

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9MTY5MzMyfENoaWxkSUQ9LTF8VHlwZT0z&t=1

So, if these figures are correct, AP production in the US has gone from an average of 16 million lbs/year in 1998-2003 down to 2.5-5 millions lbs/yr in 2012-2017. Huge decline. Shuttle demand alone was probably around 5 million lbs/yr.

And it's interesting that the annual report says specifically that AMPAC prices their AP inversely to demand in order to maintain a stable revenue to cover their fixed costs. Less demand means prices go up. Hence importance to Gov't/DoD that NASA LV suppliers buy domestic.

The report also says their Utah facility can make up to 30 million lbs of perchlorates annually, so they evidently have much excess capacity.
« Last Edit: 06/26/2017 08:11 PM by Kabloona »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #75 on: 06/26/2017 09:21 PM »
Thank you for this.
Hard to find AP production figures on the web, but the following paper gives a snapshot of US production, probably circa 2004. Don't know when the paper was written, but evidently after 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

Summary from the paper:

AMPAC annual sales of ammonium perchlorate (AP):

12.6 - 20.3 million lbs annually (1998-2003)
11.3 million lbs annually (for some unspecified year after 2003 Columbia accident, presumably 2004)

ATK purchased half of AMPAC's AP sales for Shuttle, Minuteman, Titan, Delta, Pegasus, etc.
Other half of sales went to other programs including Patriot, Atlas, Standard Missile, MLRS.

https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/upload/HWMP_WS_dPerch-Sec5.pdf

Then, from AMPAC's 2012 annual report, they forecast a range of 2.5 million - 5 million lbs per year in sales for the next 5 years.

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9MTY5MzMyfENoaWxkSUQ9LTF8VHlwZT0z&t=1

So, if these figures are correct, AP production in the US has gone from an average of 16 million lbs/year in 1998-2003 down to 2.5-5 millions lbs/yr in 2012-2017. Huge decline. Shuttle demand alone was probably around 5 million lbs/yr.

And it's interesting that the annual report says specifically that AMPAC prices their AP inversely to demand in order to maintain a stable revenue to cover their fixed costs. Less demand means prices go up. Hence importance to Gov't/DoD that NASA LV suppliers buy domestic.

The report also says their Utah facility can make up to 30 million lbs of perchlorates annually, so they evidently have much excess capacity.

So if we're to go "ball$ to the wall" on production, shooting off the equivalent of 60 or so RSRB's a year, would saturate this production?

If we were to use this as a SHLV vehicle, and assume expendable "Black Knights" as a means to transform this into thrust, we'd get the rough capability of a few hundred to a thousand tons to C3>1 velocities?

And the annualized fixed costs to do this I'd guess would be in the $10's of billions?

Wouldn't a 10x a month, each at 3 pads of reusable kerolox, be cheaper or the same?

Isn't that what we are looking at as the top end here?

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #76 on: 06/26/2017 09:47 PM »
Thank you for this.
Hard to find AP production figures on the web, but the following paper gives a snapshot of US production, probably circa 2004. Don't know when the paper was written, but evidently after 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

Summary from the paper:

AMPAC annual sales of ammonium perchlorate (AP):

12.6 - 20.3 million lbs annually (1998-2003)
11.3 million lbs annually (for some unspecified year after 2003 Columbia accident, presumably 2004)

ATK purchased half of AMPAC's AP sales for Shuttle, Minuteman, Titan, Delta, Pegasus, etc.
Other half of sales went to other programs including Patriot, Atlas, Standard Missile, MLRS.

https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/upload/HWMP_WS_dPerch-Sec5.pdf

Then, from AMPAC's 2012 annual report, they forecast a range of 2.5 million - 5 million lbs per year in sales for the next 5 years.

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9MTY5MzMyfENoaWxkSUQ9LTF8VHlwZT0z&t=1

So, if these figures are correct, AP production in the US has gone from an average of 16 million lbs/year in 1998-2003 down to 2.5-5 millions lbs/yr in 2012-2017. Huge decline. Shuttle demand alone was probably around 5 million lbs/yr.

And it's interesting that the annual report says specifically that AMPAC prices their AP inversely to demand in order to maintain a stable revenue to cover their fixed costs. Less demand means prices go up. Hence importance to Gov't/DoD that NASA LV suppliers buy domestic.

The report also says their Utah facility can make up to 30 million lbs of perchlorates annually, so they evidently have much excess capacity.

So if we're to go "ball$ to the wall" on production, shooting off the equivalent of 60 or so RSRB's a year, would saturate this production?

If we were to use this as a SHLV vehicle, and assume expendable "Black Knights" as a means to transform this into thrust, we'd get the rough capability of a few hundred to a thousand tons to C3>1 velocities?

And the annualized fixed costs to do this I'd guess would be in the $10's of billions?

Wouldn't a 10x a month, each at 3 pads of reusable kerolox, be cheaper or the same?

Isn't that what we are looking at as the top end here?

In terms of RSRM equivalents, I figure around 775 klb AP per RSRM, so production capacity of 30 million lbs AP per annum gives you around 40 RSRM equivalents per annum. Obviously that's major excess capacity for current market, but eventually DoD wants 400+ next gen ICBM's, so that capacity may be needed in future.

I don't think anyone's arguing that solids are more economical than liquids for LV's. The real issue is the importance of maintaining the industrial base for solids production, because DoD needs it for tactical and strategic missiles.

Yes, F9, FH, Vulcan, New Glenn, etc are going to be mainstays of the LV business going forward. Reduced role of solids in that arena means DoD has to find other ways to keep solids mfg base intact, eg for next gen ICBM. Loss of Shuttle was evidently a huge hit in that respect.
« Last Edit: 06/26/2017 10:19 PM by Kabloona »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #77 on: 06/26/2017 10:41 PM »
In terms of RSRM equivalents, I figure around 775 klb AP per RSRM, so production capacity of 30 million lbs AP per annum gives you around 40 RSRM equivalents per annum.
Sounds close to my guess. And yes half production capacity would be what you'd wish to aim for.

Quote
But I don't think anyone's arguing that solids are more economical than liquids for LV's.
Wasn't my point.

Which was to "aim" the capacity at a potential national need that wasn't defense oriented, and attempt to use the excess capacity on a singular, concentrated effort. Of the kind that govt fiat could finance.

Bringing up kerolox was meant to be the obvious counter that would be fielded, along with the footprint it is already in, which would put an upper bound on consideration of the development budget/schedule scale endurable.

If we take it down a notch, we'd get into issues with practicality of use of specific architectures, the first of which for large solids is that more than two at a time isn't possible, nor is the SLS likely to meet cost/frequency of launch to make 10-20/yr feasible.

So the upshot is that it's very unlikely to use space launch to consume that production capability.

Quote
The real issue is the importance of maintaining the industrial base for solids production, because DoD needs it for tactical and strategic missiles.
Indeed. My interest has been to confront the falsehood in attempting such through space launch.

As also historically true. (Believe it or not a similar argument was waged over solids with a Saturn S1C replacement.)

Quote
So yes, F9, FH, Vulcan, New Glenn, etc are going to be mainstays of the LV business going forward. Reduced role of solids in that arena means DoD has to find other ways to keep solids mfg base intact, eg for next gen ICBM. Loss of Shuttle was evidently a huge hit in that respect.
As expected.

To wit, you go back to my points that no one liked above. (There are hard limits on what you can or cannot do here.) Did attempt to answer the question *broadly*.

(Now, if we are still stuck on this, I'll also return to the Aerojet experience in even larger diameter, "cast in place", solid boosters that were not successful in winning a bid. There's a ton of reasons why, all of which are mitigatable (one of them you and I sparred on, where they had used a dehumidified room to cast underground the solid in (in Florida no less)), where you can do SHLV with "cargo only" to LEO.) Ironically, it's your "best bet" for answering this need as defined.

Boy that one would really crater other political agendas though  ::)

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #78 on: 06/26/2017 10:58 PM »
Space Ghost, thanks for the clarification above. Understood.

Don't think we really need to use *all* excess capacity in order to keep the base intact. No one needs 30 million lbs AP annually, but the facilities are there, so let's at least keep the machinery oiled and the dehumidifiers running.

AP production is pretty cut-and-dried from a technical standpoint, so I don't worry much too about difficulty of ramp-up in production rate.

The more difficult art is the propellant formulation chemistry, and mixing and casting, not to mention case/insulation/nozzle design & mfg, as you and I have discussed, and that's the part of the solids base I worry more about losing. We can always make more AP, but  turning it into an actual motor is the hard part, especially if a lot of experienced people have already retired and not enough new blood has been infused because demand has been anemic for a long period.
« Last Edit: 06/26/2017 11:03 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #79 on: 06/26/2017 11:04 PM »
Yes, F9, FH, Vulcan, New Glenn, etc are going to be mainstays of the LV business going forward. Reduced role of solids in that arena means DoD has to find other ways to keep solids mfg base intact, eg for next gen ICBM. Loss of Shuttle was evidently a huge hit in that respect.

Yet somehow they managed before Shuttle, so there has to be a way.

OATK and AJR just have to start behaving like normal corporations. When the demand is down, you downsize. You don't build things at full production speed and take a few years break. No, you slow down production. That's how you keep skills alive. The DoD can order in as big of batches as they want, but if you know the demand is temporary you simply extend the delivery window.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #80 on: 06/26/2017 11:14 PM »
Yes, F9, FH, Vulcan, New Glenn, etc are going to be mainstays of the LV business going forward. Reduced role of solids in that arena means DoD has to find other ways to keep solids mfg base intact, eg for next gen ICBM. Loss of Shuttle was evidently a huge hit in that respect.

Yet somehow they managed before Shuttle, so there has to be a way.

OATK and AJR just have to start behaving like normal corporations. When the demand is down, you downsize. You don't build things at full production speed and take a few years break. No, you slow down production. That's how you keep skills alive. The DoD can order in as big of batches as they want, but if you know the demand is temporary you simply extend the delivery window.

Well, you're right, of course. Shuttle was just a big anomalous "camel's hump" of a production bulge in the solids industry, and now that it's gone, we're back to status quo ante bellum. And life goes on as it must, somehow.  ;)


Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #81 on: 06/26/2017 11:36 PM »
The DoD can order in as big of batches as they want, but if you know the demand is temporary you simply extend the delivery window.
DoD dictates the delivery window, not the vendor.

Offline Rebel44

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #82 on: 06/27/2017 12:00 AM »
The DoD can order in as big of batches as they want, but if you know the demand is temporary you simply extend the delivery window.
DoD dictates the delivery window, not the vendor.
In that case (inflexible demands on suppliers), DoD better be prepared to pay for upkeep of industrial base in times of low demand....
Or DoD can try to find more viable way to stabilize solid propellant industrial base - even if it means making compromises - like spreading orders over timeinstead of huge short term orders.

Last time I checked, not even US DoD has blank checks for most of its projects, so they better start acting like they live in same reality as rest of us.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #83 on: 06/27/2017 12:08 AM »
We can always make more AP, but  turning it into an actual motor is the hard part, especially if a lot of experienced people have already retired and not enough new blood has been infused because demand has been anemic for a long period.
Kabloona, we're in full agreement here.

And I've spoken with university students and those involved with new propulsion concepts. One even used a solid state laser boost ...

My suggestion is to broaden into "R", "r&d" and "D" oriented programs aimed at the under 30 crowd, including new formulations, new concepts, and enhancements of existing formulations.

(The trouble, like what happened to pre-ULA, was too much focus on "operational" and not enough on less restricted IR&D, which was viewed as "waste" by parents/management. They even sought out creative people for dismissal as they were too "disruptive". After all, they could hire such if they needed such, which they never did.)

Ask why there's so few in the the field, and its the same pre-SX as other areas of aerospace, and why many of the most successful engineers (by manner of hire) are dull, and why I encounter the more creative ones as having moved from that field to another quite different one.

The same has been true for those in solid fuel propulsion.

The obvious answer to this is to change the funding assumptions that presume we're simply trying to maintain an old, "figured out" field ... and present challenges that allow the field to become attractive to "risk takers", who are the "early adopters" of this future improvement. The "late adopters" are the ones that follow, who intermediate past/present/future and make variations on them. One breaks the wave, the next widens it.

This however runs counter to past aerospace practice. In the extreme, an inconsequential budget is shot at NIAC programs, a pittance that is used for occasional wild ideas. Unfortunately, this has been viewed more of as a "catch-all" that it shouldn't be. It is utterly irrelevant to what I'm referring to above.

The reason behind your concern is because no one wants to be in the field. It is necessary to reconstruct things such that it becomes very desirable.

In that context, those who are experts of the past become collaborators to build the near future and further future.

That's how you'd get the desired outcome.

Offline gongora

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #84 on: 06/27/2017 02:55 AM »
The DoD can order in as big of batches as they want, but if you know the demand is temporary you simply extend the delivery window.
DoD dictates the delivery window, not the vendor.
In that case (inflexible demands on suppliers), DoD better be prepared to pay for upkeep of industrial base in times of low demand....
Or DoD can try to find more viable way to stabilize solid propellant industrial base - even if it means making compromises - like spreading orders over timeinstead of huge short term orders.

Last time I checked, not even US DoD has blank checks for most of its projects, so they better start acting like they live in same reality as rest of us.

It would almost certainly be cheaper to directly subsidize the AP manufacturer than it would be to spread out procurement of a new generation ICBM.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #85 on: 06/27/2017 02:55 AM »
We can always make more AP, but  turning it into an actual motor is the hard part, especially if a lot of experienced people have already retired and not enough new blood has been infused because demand has been anemic for a long period.
Kabloona, we're in full agreement here.

And I've spoken with university students and those involved with new propulsion concepts. One even used a solid state laser boost ...

My suggestion is to broaden into "R", "r&d" and "D" oriented programs aimed at the under 30 crowd, including new formulations, new concepts, and enhancements of existing formulations.

(The trouble, like what happened to pre-ULA, was too much focus on "operational" and not enough on less restricted IR&D, which was viewed as "waste" by parents/management. They even sought out creative people for dismissal as they were too "disruptive". After all, they could hire such if they needed such, which they never did.)

Ask why there's so few in the the field, and its the same pre-SX as other areas of aerospace, and why many of the most successful engineers (by manner of hire) are dull, and why I encounter the more creative ones as having moved from that field to another quite different one.

The same has been true for those in solid fuel propulsion.

The obvious answer to this is to change the funding assumptions that presume we're simply trying to maintain an old, "figured out" field ... and present challenges that allow the field to become attractive to "risk takers", who are the "early adopters" of this future improvement. The "late adopters" are the ones that follow, who intermediate past/present/future and make variations on them. One breaks the wave, the next widens it.

This however runs counter to past aerospace practice. In the extreme, an inconsequential budget is shot at NIAC programs, a pittance that is used for occasional wild ideas. Unfortunately, this has been viewed more of as a "catch-all" that it shouldn't be. It is utterly irrelevant to what I'm referring to above.

The reason behind your concern is because no one wants to be in the field. It is necessary to reconstruct things such that it becomes very desirable.

In that context, those who are experts of the past become collaborators to build the near future and further future.

That's how you'd get the desired outcome.

The thing is, most of the solids R&D in the US is either directly or indirectly funded by DoD, so industry by itself can't do much. I got into the solids industry first in grad school doing solid propellant research funded by the Navy, and then in the Air Force doing solid propellant R&D at the old Rocket Lab at Edwards AFB. So my career path was totally Gov't funded. And the IR&D being done at the time by the big solids companies (then Thiokol, Hercules, Aerojet, and UT/CSD) were all funded by their profits from Gov't contracts, and not hugely effective. Much of the corporate IR&D at the time was focused on clean propellants, an Air Force-driven initiative for Advanced Launch System that went nowhere. So pretty much a wasted effort.

That was the state of things 30 years ago, and I doubt much has changed. DoD has the funding to do solids R&D within the various services, and I don't know how corporate IR&D compares in terms of funding, but I'd be surprised if it matches DoD's funding.

I got into rockets in high school because I liked making stuff burn, or explode, and/or go fast. Didn't know I'd end up as a solids propulsion engineer.

There must still be plenty of high school kids who like to make stuff burn, or explode, and/or go fast. The challenge is getting to them early and showing them that an interesting, rewarding career in solid propulsion is possible. Heck, even if you're not inventing new propellants, playing with the old ones can still be fun.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2017 03:12 AM by Kabloona »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #86 on: 06/27/2017 06:34 PM »
The thing is, most of the solids R&D in the US is either directly or indirectly funded by DoD, so industry by itself can't do much.
Which is why Bezos/Musk have such an opportunity to disrupt aerospace.

Existing companies "hide" behind national security and political defenders so they don't have to be effective.

Then they can blame their lot in life for the ills they create/ignore. A poor use of privilege.

Which means they corrode continually, because they have no true "one on one" competition. Which is what I've massively disliked about the whole ULA/SX nonsense. It obscures true virtues/flaws of both.

One of my "hot" buttons is when someone defends off of heritage, which I respect, but it's usually a victimization rant that obscures the situation by mixing heritage with malpractice, to hide the malpractice. It destroys the value of heritage.

"Good" firms change on their own, they don't wait for their industry.

Ask Tory Bruno about this. We had a nice discussion on this topic.

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I got into the solids industry first in grad school doing solid propellant research funded by the Navy, and then in the Air Force doing solid propellant R&D at the old Rocket Lab at Edwards AFB. So my career path was totally Gov't funded.
Were there grants/initiatives/scholarships in your grad first/second year? Something akin to the NESSF?

(These are part of what I'm suggesting.)

(BTW, I was a "kid" who understood RTI in mathematics/programs. My compact proof of concepts were ridiculed, then run, then adopted. When they weren't used, bad things often happened. Such was the state of chaotic process modeling in the era of "the best and brightest" - it offended their Confucian sensibilities. Combustion theories, vortex shedding, magnetic flux reconnection, even protein folding and contradictions in GNC. Solids I know from the placement within to alter the thrust profile. My gimmick was to understand "how things worked" from those that made things work, so sponged up a lot of trivia.)

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And the IR&D being done at the time by the big solids companies (then Thiokol, Hercules, Aerojet, and UT/CSD) were all funded by their profits from Gov't contracts, and not hugely effective.
They made IR&D into waste. Cutting their own throats. But that's ok, USG will bail you out if its needed ... So wrong.

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Much of the corporate IR&D at the time was focused on clean propellants, an Air Force-driven initiative for Advanced Launch System that went nowhere. So pretty much a wasted effort.
They never thought about it as part of the "mainline business", just fobbed off "irritations" like the stupid eco stuff. "Make it go away".

IR&D was never considered a virtue.

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That was the state of things 30 years ago, and I doubt much has changed. DoD has the funding to do solids R&D within the various services, and I don't know how corporate IR&D compares in terms of funding, but I'd be surprised if it matches DoD's funding.
Well, you've documented where the problem is. And its worse than the politics of solids in space launch. Or AP.

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I got into rockets in high school because I liked making stuff burn, or explode, and/or go fast. Didn't know I'd end up as a solids propulsion engineer.

Reminds of the "Rocket Boys" "October Sky". Which inspired two kids I know to become leaders in industry and space science.

(Myself, was a 9th grade student who got a intern position for a scientist working on deciphering Venus atmosphere's from IR spectra - he had me use a mechanical gadget to physically measure the area under a curve by tracing its outline, where the gadget would do the integration. Asked to use a computer with the raw data to do it better, then did successively the processing of the data into a mathematical model which fed in chaotic processes, then got "borrowed" by his NASA coauthors for related projects in aerospace engineering, avionics, and other fields. One of the scientists inspired me to moderate explosive nitrogen tri-iodine into a fuel with a chemical that repressed detonation, and I made my own high yield solid fuel rocket. Stuff was so touchy that crystals drying on the windowsill in the sun would be set off by flies touching it, with little purple mushroom clouds.)

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There must still be plenty of high school kids who like to make stuff burn, or explode, and/or go fast. The challenge is getting to them early and showing them that an interesting, rewarding career in solid propulsion is possible.
Agreed.

I've done outreach all my life, even when it was high pressure/zero time off. Have been a science fair judge, done events in elementary through grad school math/engineering/science/healthcare to "start up" young minds.

(In February one of those I judged was about a solid fueled rocket design (he want to become an accountant!). His dad was at ATK.)

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Heck, even if you're not inventing new propellants, playing with the old ones can still be fun.
Yes. We need to become a country of true innovation.

BTW, one of Vinod Khosla's investments is in Galvanize. The idea is to tun all of America into a innovation culture, top to bottom.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #87 on: 06/27/2017 07:04 PM »
Take me through why, in this day and age, we need solids for anything at all other than very small munitions, for which the procurement cycle could be smoothed enough that it's not an issue. It might be my politics showing through but I don't see the need for vast standing armadas of ICBMs.

Or, never mind. I said my bit and we'd be veering into Space Policy.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #88 on: 06/27/2017 07:30 PM »
Take me through why, in this day and age, we need solids for anything at all other than very small munitions, for which the procurement cycle could be smoothed enough that it's not an issue. It might be my politics showing through but I don't see the need for vast standing armadas of ICBMs.

Or, never mind. I said my bit and we'd be veering into Space Policy.

You are forgetting about SLBMs, cruise missile, stand off weapons and maybe eventually, conventionally armed ICBM's.  Or responsive space launch.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #89 on: 06/27/2017 08:15 PM »
My point is that I think, eventually, all of those will be liquid. Better for the environment and cheaper, in the long run. IMHO. All the rocket experts disagree with me. Which is fine.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #90 on: 06/27/2017 08:59 PM »
My point is that I think, eventually, all of those will be liquid. Better for the environment and cheaper, in the long run. IMHO. All the rocket experts disagree with me. Which is fine.

Submariners, seamen, airmen and soldiers would also disagree.  They all try to avoid liquids in their systems.  Too complex and too vulnerable.  They went from liquids to solids in the 50's to 60's.

« Last Edit: 06/27/2017 09:00 PM by Jim »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #91 on: 06/27/2017 09:36 PM »
My point is that I think, eventually, all of those will be liquid. Better for the environment and cheaper, in the long run. IMHO. All the rocket experts disagree with me. Which is fine.

Lar, the Air Force, Navy, and Army will never go back to liquids for ICBMs, SLBM's, MLRS, etc. It's not a matter of cost or environment. If you haven't already seen it, the documentary "Command and Control" illustrates why.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/
« Last Edit: 06/27/2017 09:52 PM by Kabloona »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #92 on: 06/27/2017 09:47 PM »

I got into the solids industry first in grad school doing solid propellant research funded by the Navy, and then in the Air Force doing solid propellant R&D at the old Rocket Lab at Edwards AFB. So my career path was totally Gov't funded.
Were there grants/initiatives/scholarships in your grad first/second year? Something akin to the NESSF?

(These are part of what I'm suggesting.)

I went through undergrad on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, then grad school on a research assistantship funded by the Navy. So I owe my entire education to DoD. I'm not familiar with NESSF, but certainly those kinds of incentives are good ideas to attract new blood.

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Reminds of the "Rocket Boys" "October Sky". Which inspired two kids I know to become leaders in industry and space science.

(Myself, was a 9th grade student who got a intern position for a scientist working on deciphering Venus atmosphere's from IR spectra - he had me use a mechanical gadget to physically measure the area under a curve by tracing its outline, where the gadget would do the integration. Asked to use a computer with the raw data to do it better, then did successively the processing of the data into a mathematical model which fed in chaotic processes, then got "borrowed" by his NASA coauthors for related projects in aerospace engineering, avionics, and other fields. One of the scientists inspired me to moderate explosive nitrogen tri-iodine into a fuel with a chemical that repressed detonation, and I made my own high yield solid fuel rocket. Stuff was so touchy that crystals drying on the windowsill in the sun would be set off by flies touching it, with little purple mushroom clouds.)

Great movie, and you yourself should have gone into the solids industry! But it sounds like you have too many interests to confine yourself there.  ;)

Anyway, kudos to you for your outreach efforts and promoting innovation in the industry. Every bit helps, especially when you can reach kids at a young age.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2017 10:56 PM by Kabloona »

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #93 on: 06/27/2017 10:56 PM »
Great movie, and you yourself should have gone into the solids industry!
Like many other critical situations, fixed their math. As well as in any axialized radiographic/ultrasound imagery - allows you to see tiny voids/fractures/tumors/...

I'm glad you were in the solids industry.

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #94 on: 06/27/2017 11:03 PM »
Great movie, and you yourself should have gone into the solids industry!
Like many other critical situations, fixed their math. As well as in any axialized radiographic/ultrasound imagery - allows you to see tiny voids/fractures/tumors/...

I'm glad you were in the solids industry.

Excellent. Yes, the dreaded voids...

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #95 on: 06/28/2017 12:26 AM »
My point is that I think, eventually, all of those will be liquid. Better for the environment and cheaper, in the long run. IMHO. All the rocket experts disagree with me. Which is fine.

Lar, the Air Force, Navy, and Army will never go back to liquids for ICBMs, SLBM's, MLRS, etc. It's not a matter of cost or environment. If you haven't already seen it, the documentary "Command and Control" illustrates why.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/

Slightly OT.

Did anyone consider hybrid solid motor for strategic missile propulsion?

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #96 on: 06/28/2017 03:18 AM »
My point is that I think, eventually, all of those will be liquid. Better for the environment and cheaper, in the long run. IMHO. All the rocket experts disagree with me. Which is fine.

Lar, the Air Force, Navy, and Army will never go back to liquids for ICBMs, SLBM's, MLRS, etc. It's not a matter of cost or environment. If you haven't already seen it, the documentary "Command and Control" illustrates why.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/

Slightly OT.

Did anyone consider hybrid solid motor for strategic missile propulsion?

Not here in the States, because that's like being halfway pregnant: you still have a hazardous liquid oxidizer to deal with, along with the other problems of hybrids (see Virgin Galactic). So you may as well get all the way pregnant and go back to a fully liquid system, which at least has better performance.

No, any type of liquid is out of the question for strategic missiles, at least in this country.

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