Author Topic: CASTOR 30XL prepares for static fire ahead of providing Antares boost  (Read 10365 times)

Offline Kabloona

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The motor diameters, lengths, etc were probably optimized for Pegasus, but Hercules already had the low-cost GEM case technology and propellant forumulation from the strap-ons they had already developed for Delta II, so they applied what they could from GEM to the Orion 50 series.


Pegasus flew before the first GEM.

Yes, by a few months, but I believe Hercules had already begun developing the GEM when they teamed with Orbital to develop the Orion 50 series, so they were able to leverage off what they had already begun doing with GEM.

Again, I could be wrong, but that's my recollection.

Edit: As for the when the GEM program actually started I don't know, but McDonnell Douglas won an R&D contract in mid-1986 to study Delta upgrades for MLV, and that could well have been when they began thinking of a follow-on to the Castor4A boosters. When they won MLV in early '87 that would certainly have provided the business case for going ahead with what became the GEM. So the GEM booster may well have been conceived as early as '86 and funded as early as the beginning of '87.

(Jim, sorry, I added previous paragraph on MLV while you were writing your post below on MLV...)

« Last Edit: 03/24/2013 02:48 AM by Kabloona »

Offline Jim

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Let's see
MLV contract was awarded 1987
I saw a inert Pegasus perform B-52 fitchecks in 8/89 at EAFB
I was at LAAFS until 8/88 when I moved to CCAFS, but before the move, I remember Dr Elias provide a briefing on the Pegasus concept

Not enough info to confirm or deny

Offline Kabloona

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I saw a inert Pegasus perform B-52 fitchecks in 8/89 at EAFB

Hah, I was then working at the Rocket Lab just up the hill...didn't get down to the flight line much, tho.

Offline Kabloona

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MLV contract was awarded 1987


Yes, MLV was awarded Jan 1987, and Orbital/Hercules partnership on Pegasus was announced June 1988.

So approx 17 month headstart for GEM, assuming GEM was awarded shortly after MLV.
« Last Edit: 03/24/2013 03:10 AM by Kabloona »

Offline Kabloona

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Well, I finally found the answer from Antonio himself. At 26:40 in this video he says the Pegasus motors were based on SICBM, not GEM as I had (mis)remembered.

GEM may also have derived from SICBM, since GEM and Pegasus began somewhat concurrently, had similar diameters, and used the same QDL-1 propellant.



I stand corrected once again and apologize for my faulty memory on the subject!

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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Hmm....where can I apply for the job of United Launch Alliance internet cheerleader?

Online Chris Bergin

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Article that includes the reference to the CASTOR 30XL static fire and a screenshot from the dual view engineering video of the firing (L2):

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/04/orbitals-antares-eye-on-present-future/

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