Author Topic: Taurus II and availability of the NK33  (Read 77528 times)

Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #120 on: 08/31/2009 08:49 PM »
I have read (no longer remember where) that NK-33 was designed and manufactured by jet-engine manufacturer Kuznetzov, due to a dispute between Korolev and Glushko over what the N-1 engines should be. No idea if that's true, but interesting, if so.

Glushko, after designing the LOX-kerosene RD-107 and 108 used on the Semyorka, "converted" to the religion of storable hypergols as the only way to acheive the launch responsiveness required for an ICBM (at the time, solid ICBM's were pie in the sky).  Sergey Pavlovich, on the other hand, thought large quantities of hypergol were for the birds.  When Valentyn Petrovych REFUSED to design LOX-kerosene engines for the N-1, S.P. told himself: "hmmm... the hardest part of an engine is the turbopump... let me see, who knows how to design high performance aerospace turbomachinery?  AH! Nicolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov's OKB-276, who is building the world's biggest turboprop engine (the 15,000 horsepower NK-12 that powered the Tu-95 "Bear").

The legend is that S.P. went to Kuznetsov with the request, and when Nicolai Dmitriyevich  replied "but I don't know anything about rockets, especially combustion chambers!" S.P. said "you worry about the turbomachinery, I'll worry about the combustion chamber".
« Last Edit: 08/31/2009 08:50 PM by antonioe »
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Offline yinzer

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #121 on: 08/31/2009 09:44 PM »
When Valentyn Petrovych REFUSED to design LOX-kerosene engines for the N-1, S.P. told himself: "hmmm... the hardest part of an engine is the turbopump... let me see, who knows how to design high performance aerospace turbomachinery?  AH! Nicolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov's OKB-276, who is building the world's biggest turboprop engine (the 15,000 horsepower NK-12 that powered the Tu-95 "Bear").

The legend is that S.P. went to Kuznetsov with the request, and when Nicolai Dmitriyevich  replied "but I don't know anything about rockets, especially combustion chambers!" S.P. said "you worry about the turbomachinery, I'll worry about the combustion chamber".

It wasn't only the USSR where people turned to aircraft engine manufacturers to make rocket engines.  The RL10 was made by Pratt and Whitney as a derivative of their work on a LH2-powered turbojet for a secret spyplane.

To hear the Pratt guys tell it, rocket engines designed by airplane engine guys tend to weigh more but be much more reliable.  I wonder if the same holds true for the Soviets.
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Offline HMXHMX

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #122 on: 08/31/2009 10:40 PM »
When Valentyn Petrovych REFUSED to design LOX-kerosene engines for the N-1, S.P. told himself: "hmmm... the hardest part of an engine is the turbopump... let me see, who knows how to design high performance aerospace turbomachinery?  AH! Nicolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov's OKB-276, who is building the world's biggest turboprop engine (the 15,000 horsepower NK-12 that powered the Tu-95 "Bear").

The legend is that S.P. went to Kuznetsov with the request, and when Nicolai Dmitriyevich  replied "but I don't know anything about rockets, especially combustion chambers!" S.P. said "you worry about the turbomachinery, I'll worry about the combustion chamber".

It wasn't only the USSR where people turned to aircraft engine manufacturers to make rocket engines.  The RL10 was made by Pratt and Whitney as a derivative of their work on a LH2-powered turbojet for a secret spyplane.

To hear the Pratt guys tell it, rocket engines designed by airplane engine guys tend to weigh more but be much more reliable.  I wonder if the same holds true for the Soviets.

I have always liked rocket engines built by aircraft powerplant guys.  If you study both the RL10 and the NK33, you can see the unmistakable hand of an aircraft engine designer.

They are not necessarily heavier, either.  The NK33 has a spectacular T/W, far better than the much higher pressure (but only slight higher performance) RD180.

I have long said that if NASA had been serious about a reusable Shuttle forty years ago, they would have given the engine contract to P&W, the airframe contract to a cargo airframer like Lockheed or Boeing, and they would have managed the effort from an old NACA center, like Ames, Langley or Lewis.

Offline sdsds

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #123 on: 09/01/2009 06:00 AM »
I know this might seem like a dumb question and this thread might not be exactly the right place for it, but....  In engine designations like "NK-33" are the letters "NK" used because they are the initials of Nikolai Kuznetsov?  Or is that just a coincidence?  If it isn't a coincidence, why isn't the RD-180 designated the VG-180?
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Offline antonioe

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #124 on: 09/01/2009 03:17 PM »
I know this might seem like a dumb question and this thread might not be exactly the right place for it, but....  In engine designations like "NK-33" are the letters "NK" used because they are the initials of Nikolai Kuznetsov?  Or is that just a coincidence?  If it isn't a coincidence, why isn't the RD-180 designated the VG-180?

"RD" is the traditional Soviet/Russian designation for rocket engine; I believe it comes from "Rocket Engine" ("Ракетный Двигатель"), so all the traditional engines were "RD-something", including Valentyn Petrovych's masterpiece, the RD-253.

Kuznetzov engines, be they aero or rocket, have traditionally been denominated "NK-something" such as the NK-144 which powered the, what else, Tu-144 supersonic airliner.  His rocket engines followed this naming pattern.

Curiously, other Russian aero engines had much more erratic naming history: for example, aero engines coming out of the Klimov OKV (Vladimir Yakovlevich Klimov was Kuznetzov's mentor - Nicolai Dmitriyevich started as a simple mechanic) were designated "VK-something", "M-something" and, can you believe this? "RD-something"!!! (The Klimov RD-33 is the MiG-29's powerplant).

Actually, the story about Nicolai Dmitriyevich's reluctance to design the N-1 engines is most likely apocryphal; NK was dabbling with staged combustion rocket engines for S.P. since 1959.
« Last Edit: 09/01/2009 03:19 PM by antonioe »
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #125 on: 09/27/2009 08:34 PM »
This link still works for the article previously discussed:
http://www.spacenews.com/launch/aerojet-looking-restart-production-nk-33-engine.html
Quote
This fall, Aerojet is planning a long-duration, high-power test firing of the NK-33 in Samara, Russia. Scheduled for late September or early October, the test could raise confidence in the engine. “A successful demonstration will increase the confidence level and allow us to reduce some of the performance margins we’ll be carrying,” Antonio Elias, vice president and general manager of Orbital’s advanced programs group, said Aug. 28. “By performing this ground test, we’ll be able to fly with smaller reserves.”

Will it be "late September or early October" soon?  Is the engine on the stand?

I can add some insight.

The Stennis tests are short duration single-engine PRE-FLIGHT ACCEPTANCE TESTS for the Sacramento-stored engines.  The test facility is designed for short duration tests using subcooled LOX and chilled RP.

The Samara test will be a 2X duration using the Taurus II thrust profile (perhaps a few percent over) and inlet conditions, using a Samara-stored engine from the same production batch as the Sacramento engines.  Quite a test!!!

While the Russians will be providing the facility and the engine, and will conduct the test, their customer is Aerojet.

Different tests, different purpose, different facilities.

This "2X duration" bit is just beginning to sink in.  Isn't it rather an understatement to say it will, "Allow us to reduce some of the performance margins" for Taurus II?  Naively, if the engine could be qualified for run durations twice as long, couldn't it power a stage carrying twice as much propellant mass?  Wouldn't that be awesome, particularly for a variant with strap-on solids?
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Offline Lars_J

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #126 on: 09/28/2009 04:05 AM »
No... Just because an engine can run twice as long does not mean that you can scale up the thrust the same way. (For your suggestion about a larger propellant mass)

Offline Danderman

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #127 on: 09/29/2009 05:14 AM »
This "2X duration" bit is just beginning to sink in.  Isn't it rather an understatement to say it will, "Allow us to reduce some of the performance margins" for Taurus II?  Naively, if the engine could be qualified for run durations twice as long, couldn't it power a stage carrying twice as much propellant mass?  Wouldn't that be awesome, particularly for a variant with strap-on solids?

Yes. Assuming there was sufficient thrust from the strap-ons to handle the increased prop mass and extended tankage, there is no reason to believe that a Long Tank Taurus would not work out.

Offline cheesybagel

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #128 on: 10/02/2009 11:27 AM »
Glushko, after designing the LOX-kerosene RD-107 and 108 used on the Semyorka, "converted" to the religion of storable hypergols as the only way to acheive the launch responsiveness required for an ICBM (at the time, solid ICBM's were pie in the sky).  Sergey Pavlovich, on the other hand, thought large quantities of hypergol were for the birds.  When Valentyn Petrovych REFUSED to design LOX-kerosene engines for the N-1, S.P. told himself: "hmmm... the hardest part of an engine is the turbopump... let me see, who knows how to design high performance aerospace turbomachinery?  AH! Nicolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov's OKB-276, who is building the world's biggest turboprop engine (the 15,000 horsepower NK-12 that powered the Tu-95 "Bear").

IIRC Glushko himself said that this was not what happened. He said that he told Korolev that he would only build a LOX/Kerosene engine if he could use a multiple-combustion chamber design like he did for R-7 because of combustion instability problems. Korolev supposedly said he needed it with just one chamber, then Glushko fumed and refused to build him engines for the N-1. N-1 never made a successful launch with Minsky at the helm, then it was canceled and the new launcher, designed by Glushko (Energia) used multiple combustion chamber LOX/Kerosene engines (RD-170).
« Last Edit: 10/02/2009 11:56 AM by cheesybagel »

Offline meiza

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Re: Taurus II and availability of the NK33
« Reply #129 on: 10/02/2009 11:41 AM »
RD-170 wasn't ready until much much later and had a relatively troubled development history. The specs were very ambitious though.

I'm surprised about how the NK-33 just worked and nobody talks much about... I don't know its history much. The N-1 had some predecessor engines btw.
Though Proton's engine is a piece of work too....

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