Author Topic: Early 1950s ARPA space programs - Suzano, Somnium, Discoverer, Midas, et al  (Read 4748 times)

Offline leovinus

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More hints. When I was reminded about the MOL compendium in the MOL thread, I was surprised to find SUZANO mentioned in "Chapter II: A National Space Station", page 21. Fascinating, also to reread Chapters 1 and 2 for early Air Force spaceflight history.

In addition, I have a lead on more primary ARPA reports about projects like SUZANO, DEFENDER, NOTUS, PRINCIPIA et al. It was confirmed they exist and it is clear there are many more documents waiting in the archives.

I'm delighted that as well as Kepler's SOMNIUM we have Newton's PRINCIPIA. I wonder if there were any other similarly named projects ?

Principia seems to have been  an energetic propellant synthesis progarmme, and to have been ended in in 1965. It's mentioned in the history of what is now the Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force (JANNAF)  Interagency Propulsion Committee, which seems to very much still exist
... an ad hoc group, chaired by Dr. Abe Silverstein of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Lewis Laboratory, was established by the Research and Engineering Advisory Panel on Aeronautics to review the DoD liquid propellant rocket programs. This committee noted the success and effectiveness of the SPIA operation and recommended that a similar information agency be initiated to handle the rapidly increasing quantity of technical matter in this field. As a result, the Liquid Propellant Information Agency (LPIA) was started at the JHU/APL, also under contract with the Navy Bureau of Ordnance. A Tri-Service Steering Committee (Army-Navy-NACA) was formed to foster exchange of information in the liquid rocket field and to monitor the LPIA operations. In 1959, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) appointed representatives from its extensive research program on propellant chemistry to the Tri-Service Working Groups. 
Finally, in 1961, individuals directly involved in information exchange activities in the solid and liquid and related propulsion fields agreed that there was a necessity and desirability for official recognition. They believed that reorganization of the information groups would improve the effectiveness of information exchange activities. The charter was drafted, then authenticated by the five agencies – Army, Navy, Air Force, ARPA, NASA – and approved by DoD and NASA. With this action, the Interagency Chemical Rocket Propulsion Group (ICRPG), predecessor of the current JANNAF Interagency Propulsion Committee, was formally activated on November 28, 1962. One of the first actions of the ICRPG was to consolidate the propellant information centers (SPIA and LPIA) into the Chemical Propulsion Information Agency (CPIA).
As stipulated in its charter, the ICRPG consisted of a Steering Group, a Solid Propulsion Subgroup, a Liquid Propulsion Subgroup, and such Working Groups as required to achieve the purpose of the ICRPG. The Steering Group was the governing body of the ICRPG composed of one member from each participating agency. Working Groups, for which each Subgroup was responsible, consisted of not more than two members from each agency. Working groups were directly responsible to promote the exchange of technical information in specialized areas of solid, liquid, and related rocket propulsion where technical problems existed or standardized procedures were lacking.
In 1964, CPIA became a DoD Information Analysis Center, still operated by the JHU/APL, but now under contract with the Naval Sea Systems Command.
In 1965, with cancellation of the energetic propellant synthesis program, Project Principia, ARPA withdrew its support. The name of the ICRPG was changed to the Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force (JANNAF) Interagency Propulsion Committee (IPC) in November 1969

This set of thermochemical tables is one fruit of Project PRINCIPIA:
Fascinating table. I had not seen much beyond
PRINCIPIA - ARPA's code name for long-range investigations of improved propellants— liquid, solid and hybrid. Numerous private contractors are engaged in research in thermodynamics and thermochemistry,synthetic chemistry, and propellant formulation and evaluation.
in Western_Aviation_Missiles_and_Space.pdf or
PRINCIPIA (ARPA) Study project on solid propellants. Purpose: development of propellant with lsp higher by 10 to 20%than those of propellants now under development. Areas investigated include thermo- chemistry and thermodynamics, synthetic chemistry, and formulation and evaluation of propellants.
from  MISSILE AND SPACE PROJECTS GUIDE 1962 Jacobs et al. Yet another source indicates that PRINCIPIA was mostly about solid propellants. Anyway, on a humorous note, I smiled at @Littlebird's quote where the agencies CPIA and SPIA are mentioned. Obviously a segway and half homophone of PRIN-CPIA. They had a sense of humor.


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