Author Topic: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters  (Read 38140 times)

Offline Jim

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #40 on: 01/17/2016 06:51 PM »
Many years ago, I read somewhere that the Titan II second stage was lengthened for the Gemini missions. Perhaps I misunderstood, and that there was a proposal to do so that was not implemented. Or maybe it was for a different program.

Would there have a been any benefit for Gemini to add more prop to the second stage?


It was lengthened for T-IIIB, T-34D and T-IV

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #41 on: 01/18/2016 12:06 AM »
Many years ago, I read somewhere that the Titan II second stage was lengthened for the Gemini missions. Perhaps I misunderstood, and that there was a proposal to do so that was not implemented. Or maybe it was for a different program.

Would there have a been any benefit for Gemini to add more prop to the second stage?
The 120 inch diameter of the second stage looked lengthened - a bit - by the addition of a 22-ish inch tall adapter (or "forward skirt"), but the tanks were, as I understand it, the same.  The ICBM actually stood slightly taller by a few inches to the top of its RV adapter, but the adapter was tapered, making Gemini-Titan look taller.  Of course with the Gemini spacecraft mounted, the overall vehicle stood more than 4.5 feet taller than the ICBM with Mk 6 RV.  I'll show the details in an upcoming "card".

The Gemini spacecraft weighed slightly less than the Mk 6 RV with its W53 warhead.  I think that stage burn times were slightly different for Gemini-Titan than for Titan ICBM.  I'll spend time looking at those details soon.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/18/2016 12:28 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #42 on: 01/18/2016 03:19 AM »
If the Air Force had gotten its way in late 1963, I think it was, NASA would have been stuck with the new Titan III core for the GLV, which had a  stronger (and heavier) body, to accommodate (among other things) the eventual IIIC configuration with the strap-on solids.  Without the extended stage 2 tanks, I'm not sure that this heavier vehicle would have had the performance needed to lift Gemini.  At the very least, Gemini would have had to have gone on a sever weight diet.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and decided that the Titan III vehicle would not be as mature a missile by the time Gemini would need it as the Titan II -- which, after all, had not even completed its own Air Force strategic missile test program at the time the Titan III core was being pushed onto NASA.  With NASA (MSC in particular) biting their collective nails over whether the Titan II could possibly be ready in time, the thought of moving to a new missile that had not even been built yet, much less tested, was a real non-starter.  It took a lot of fairly high-level pushback to keep it from happening, though.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #43 on: 01/18/2016 01:24 PM »
The Damascus incident of 1980 is discussed very extensively and used as a discussion framing device for Eric Schlosser's recent COMMAND & CONTROL, which is also more generally about the challenges of ensuring that nuclear weapons be safe and inert when handled or transported, yet also explode when commanded to do so. Historically, reconciling these requirements has been very hard to do in practice. The number of "almost Very Bad Days" is sobering.
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Online Blackstar

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #44 on: 01/18/2016 05:02 PM »
Knock yourself out:

Online russianhalo117

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #45 on: 01/19/2016 12:09 AM »
The Damascus incident of 1980 is discussed very extensively and used as a discussion framing device for Eric Schlosser's recent COMMAND & CONTROL, which is also more generally about the challenges of ensuring that nuclear weapons be safe and inert when handled or transported, yet also explode when commanded to do so. Historically, reconciling these requirements has been very hard to do in practice. The number of "almost Very Bad Days" is sobering.
My grandfather who worked in the medical group on LRAFB at the time was one of the first people on base to see and work on the injured from the explosion.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #46 on: 01/19/2016 03:17 AM »
Titan 2 served as the Gemini Launch Vehicle, boosting 10 two-man crews into orbit during NASA's adventurous, fascinating, whirlwind Gemini program.  Martin Company assembled 12 GLV's in its Baltimore plant, although the tanks were manufactured in Denver.  NASA contemplated a "Titan 2.5" that would have used stretched tanks, but ended up using near-ICBM copies.  Changes included a Malfunction Detection System, radio guidance replacing the heavier inertial guidance system, elimination of retro and vernier solid motors, addition of redundant flight control, electrical, and hydraulic systems, a new avionics truss inside the second stage, and a new Forward Skirt Assembly atop Stage 2.  The first stage carried nearly 13,000 lbs more propellant on GLV than it did on 5,500 nmi ICBM flights, but tank size was unchanged.

NASA and the Air Force also made changes to fix a Stage 1 "Pogo" problem and a Stage 2 "hard start" issue that appeared during the first two years of ICBM testing.  The effort paid off with 12 successful GLV launches during 1964-1966.  The first unmanned flight went to orbit with a spacecraft that was not designed to separate from the second stage.  The second unmanned flight was a suborbital heat shield test.  The subsequent manned flights pioneered in-space maneuvering, long flights, EVA (for the U.S.), rendezvous, and docking - with Agena targets launched the same day on the same range.  They also tested 16 astronauts (4 flew twice) who were all subsequently assigned to Apollo.  Six of them walked on the Moon.

To me, the enduring images of Gemini are White on his space walk, and the landmark Gemini 6/7 rendezvous.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/09/2016 09:38 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Antilope7724

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #47 on: 01/20/2016 05:10 AM »
Knock yourself out:

A Titan with 4 strap on boosters? What were they planning to launch, spent uranium?  ;D

Offline RanulfC

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #48 on: 01/21/2016 06:02 PM »
Knock yourself out:

A Titan with 4 strap on boosters? What were they planning to launch, spent uranium?  ;D

Let me get this straight, that's 4 "titan" boosters with aerospikes surrounding a fifth aerospike core?
(And why do I get the impression everyone on the ground is trying to get the crawler to stop because they still need to actually mount that 4th booster before it goes out the pad? :) )

Randy
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British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #49 on: 01/23/2016 03:54 AM »
NASA and the Air Force also made changes to fix a Stage 1 "Pogo" problem and a Stage 2 "hard start" issue that appeared during the first two years of ICBM testing.  The effort paid off with 12 successful GLV launches during 1964-1966.

Remember, too, the other Titan issue that had to be worked through in order to achieve a reliable GLV -- the second stage, on a number of the Titan II missile tests, would fire fine for a minute or more, and then the thrust would begin to tail off, sometimes down to 20 to 30 percent of rated thrust for the stage.

At least in this case (unlike in the POGO case), the Air Force felt this was a problem they needed to fix in order to declare the Titan II a deployable weapon system.  IIRC, the fix for this issue was to improve engine manufacturing techniques.  The hard start issue, also IIRC, was common to several hypergolic engines of the time (including the Agena engine), and was resolved by wetting the combustion chamber with a little oxidizer before flowing both oxidizer and propellant into the chamber at full flow rates.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #50 on: 01/25/2016 09:32 PM »
Titan 3 originated in part from a series of USAF "Phoenix" launch vehicle studies in 1960-61.  An idea to add large solid motors to modified Titan 2 missiles quickly gained favor and was approved as "Titan 3" on October 13, 1961.

Titan 3 would be "standardized" and "flexible" and "low cost", using all of the McNamara era buzz words.  The modified Titan 2 core (Titan 3A) could be topped by an Agena third stage (Titan 3B) and, on heavy-lift missions, would be launched by twin 120 inch diameter segmented solid motors (Titan 3C without Agena, Titan 3D with Agena). 

After detailed study, Agena was dropped from the plan in March 1962 in favor of a new Transtage powered by two Aerojet AJ10-138 pressure-fed engines.  Nomenclature changed as Titan 3A became a three-stage test vehicle topped by Transtage and Titan 3C became a Titan 3A with a twin solid motor first stage. Launch Complex 20 was modified to support core-only Titan 3A tests, which were to precede Titan 3C flights.

The Titan 3A core stages were nearly the same dimensions as the Titan 2 stages, but used thicker, heavier tank walls and skirts. Interstage fire-in-the-hole exhaust ports were expanded.  The second stage fuel tank stretched to carry more propellant.  It expanded a few inches into the between-tanks space that had formerly housed the avionics truss, eliminating a need to actually "stretch" the stage.  Avionics moved to the top of Transtage.  The Titan engines were similar to those on Titan 2, but the first stage was set up to support air-starting on Titan 3C. 

Transtage was a skin and stringer aluminum shell supporting two titanium propellant tanks, the two engines, an attitude control system module, and a control module with the guidance system.  It was designed to restart at least three times.  The stage was tested on the Denver stands and in Arnold Research Center's vacuum chamber.

Four Titan 3A launches took place during 1964-65 from LC 20, even as early Gemini Titan 2 missions were flying from LC 19.  Transtage failed during the first flight when a "bang-bang" solenoid controlled helium pressurization system valve failed 15 seconds before the planned 391 second long direct ascent burn was to end, preventing orbit.  The remaining missions were successful.  The third launch by 3A-3 performed the first 3-burn upper stage mission in history to reach a 1,500 nmi orbit with LES-1.  Transtage is still up there, though apparently now in pieces.

After the successes, a fifth planned Titan 3A test was canceled and the core reassigned to the Titan 3C program.  Titan 3A never flew again, but its first two stages, and its LC 20 launcher equipment, were reassigned to a new "Titan 3B" program at Vandenberg AFB.  Titan 3B reverted back to the Agena upper stage idea that was more efficient and lower cost for its payload class.  (So much for "standardization"!).

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/01/2016 04:11 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline mike robel

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #51 on: 01/25/2016 10:49 PM »
I don't believe the core for the Titan III or IV was air started.  They were all ground lit, were they not?

Offline Danderman

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #52 on: 01/26/2016 12:02 AM »
A question for the experts:

What additional prop could have been added to the Titan II GLV 2nd stage to maximize payload to a 185 nm 28 degree orbit (assuming that the stage could have been lengthened to accommodate the additional prop)?

Conversely, assuming a standard GLV, could Gemini itself carried more prop (using its standard RCS) to increase payload? Or would larger RCS be required? In other words, could Gemini have been inserted by Titan into a less-than-orbital trajectory, and Gemini fire itself into orbit?
 

Offline pippin

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #53 on: 01/26/2016 01:24 AM »

I don't believe the core for the Titan III or IV was air started.  They were all ground lit, were they not?
Quite to the contrary. All Titans with SRBs were air started (the core)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #54 on: 01/26/2016 02:08 AM »

I don't believe the core for the Titan III or IV was air started.  They were all ground lit, were they not?
Quite to the contrary. All Titans with SRBs were air started (the core)
Right.  The core "Stage 1" would ignite about 10 or so seconds before the "Stage 0" solid motors completed their thrust tail off and were jettisoned.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/26/2016 02:09 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #55 on: 01/26/2016 04:13 AM »
A question for the experts:

What additional prop could have been added to the Titan II GLV 2nd stage to maximize payload to a 185 nm 28 degree orbit (assuming that the stage could have been lengthened to accommodate the additional prop)?

Conversely, assuming a standard GLV, could Gemini itself carried more prop (using its standard RCS) to increase payload? Or would larger RCS be required? In other words, could Gemini have been inserted by Titan into a less-than-orbital trajectory, and Gemini fire itself into orbit?
 
Titan 2 was already near-optimal, so adding second stage propellant would not have improved delta-v to LEO much.  A first stage stretch would have been better, believe it or not.  Even better would have been the addition of a small third stage kick motor.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Helodriver

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #56 on: 01/26/2016 05:17 AM »
For those familiar with the Titan 34D, I am looking for help in identifying this hardware part recovered after the loss of the Titan 34D lost at Vandenberg nearly 30 years ago in April of 1986.

The piece is 59 inches long and 15 inches wide, and is mostly solid aluminum, bolted to one end is a stainless steel fitting with a distinctive hemispherical depression machined in. The piece weighs close to 100 pounds. Multiple sheared steel bolts remain in holes, showing it was once attached to a larger assemblage. The metal edges are all torn giving clear evidence of its violent end. Due to the thickness of the metal and the parts overall robustness, I'm certain it was a load bearing structure of some kind, but exactly where it was on the vehicle stack is unknown, hence the need for help.

My best guess is its part of the booster attachment fittings, but have no direct evidence of this. There are no visible part numbers or markings.
« Last Edit: 01/26/2016 05:20 AM by Helodriver »

Offline Danderman

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #57 on: 01/26/2016 06:08 AM »
A question for the experts:

What additional prop could have been added to the Titan II GLV 2nd stage to maximize payload to a 185 nm 28 degree orbit (assuming that the stage could have been lengthened to accommodate the additional prop)?

Conversely, assuming a standard GLV, could Gemini itself carried more prop (using its standard RCS) to increase payload? Or would larger RCS be required? In other words, could Gemini have been inserted by Titan into a less-than-orbital trajectory, and Gemini fire itself into orbit?
 
Titan 2 was already near-optimal, so adding second stage propellant would not have improved delta-v to LEO much.  A first stage stretch would have been better, believe it or not.  Even better would have been the addition of a small third stage kick motor.

 - Ed Kyle

Which begs the question of whether adding prop to the Gemini itself would have enhanced total mass in orbit. Note that Soyuz is injected into a really low orbit, and effectively boosts itself into the working orbit. In a  similar manner, a Gemini loaded with so much prop that it was too heavy for Titan to put into orbit might have been able to inject itself from a near-orbital trajectory into orbit, with mass to spare. As launched, Gemini had very small prop tanks and might have benefited from additional mass (in the form of prop) injected into orbit.


Offline kevin-rf

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #58 on: 01/26/2016 12:46 PM »
Which begs the question of whether adding prop to the Gemini itself would have enhanced total mass in orbit. Note that Soyuz is injected into a really low orbit, and effectively boosts itself into the working orbit. In a  similar manner, a Gemini loaded with so much prop that it was too heavy for Titan to put into orbit might have been able to inject itself from a near-orbital trajectory into orbit, with mass to spare. As launched, Gemini had very small prop tanks and might have benefited from additional mass (in the form of prop) injected into orbit.
Would it have had enough thrust to make up the delta V in sufficient time? Also, which thrusters would have been used?
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline Jim

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Re: The Different Variants of Titan Boosters
« Reply #59 on: 01/26/2016 02:10 PM »
Titan 3B reverted back to the Agena upper stage idea that was more efficient and lower cost for its payload class.  (So much for "standardization"!).


It did not "revert" back.  The Agena was part of the spacecraft, which provided some of the propulsion into orbit, making the Transtage unnecessary.  "Standardization" still existed, but it was on the spacecraft side.

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