Author Topic: Farside rockoon  (Read 5302 times)

Offline plutogno

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Farside rockoon
« on: 01/18/2014 09:07 AM »
a nice video of one of the 1957 Farside rockoon launches.


info on the Farside project are rare and scattered on the internet. anyone can suggest a good source on the history of this project?

Online edkyle99

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Re: Farside rockoon
« Reply #1 on: 01/18/2014 03:39 PM »
NASM has one of the rockets, probably a full scale development model, in its collection.  It seems to lack a fourth stage.
http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?id=A19680013000

The project wasn't a big science success, apparently.  Though the rockets flew through the radiation belts, they failed to discover them!  The following description is from http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4401/ch4.htm

"Project Farside was an attempt to reach extreme altitudes with the rockoon concept. Using a four-stage solid-propellant rocket hung below a 106 188-m3 (3 750 000-ft3) balloon, altitudes approaching 6437 km (4000 mi) were reached during the fall of 1957. Farside was an Air Force Office of Scientific Research project, using various instruments provided by the University of Maryland. Six rockets were built by Aeronutronic Systems, Inc. Bad telemetry precluded the discovery of the Van Allen belts during the Farside shots near Eniwetok".

Fred Singer gave a brief summary of the project at http://iaaweb.org/iaa/Studies/history.pdf in which he reveals that Farside had much bigger goals - going beyond the Moon for example - than it achieved.  He also explains the lack of science.

"265 PROJECT FARSIDE

Singer, Fred S. 1991 - IAA 91-675 - vol 12 - AAS vol.20 - pp. 145 - 149

Project Farside, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research during the period 1955 to 1958, was designed to furnish a low-cost method for penetrating the earth's magnetosphere and even reach beyond the Moon. It was based on a four stage, solid -propellant balloon -launched rocket vehicle, using available rocket motors. The initial phase was to have reached an alitude of 4000 miles (6400 km ), or one earth radius. Under contract to the AFOSR office in Pasadena, I carried out the basic design in 1955, and built an instrument package containing a single Geiger counter at the University of Maryland. My proposal was to measure the increase with altitude of the primary cosmic radiation and to look for the existence of particles trapped in the earth's magnetic field, in.e., radiation belts. Aeronutronics Corporation, later adivision of Ford Motor Comapny, carried out the engineering and construction, and supervised the launch activities.  These were speeded up greatly after the launch of Sputnik - 1 in 1957, and took place ingreat secrecy in late 1957, from the island of Eniwetok. Unfortunately, most of the launch attempts failed, according to what few reports became available. The two succesful launches did not carry the Geiger counter instrument, and no scientific results were transmitted to the University of Maryland."

I wonder if the project might have had classified reasons for existing related to nuclear testing.

One problem may have been that Dr. Van Allen doesn't seem to have been involved in the project.  He was the acknowledged master by then of both rockoon techniques and of cosmic ray telemetry from rockoons.  His U. of Iowa group used much more frugal methods than Project Farside, and produced more science in the process.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/18/2014 04:07 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline plutogno

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Re: Farside rockoon
« Reply #2 on: 01/19/2014 07:26 PM »
an interesting detail from http://www.aip.org/history/ohilist/28613.html

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This was a balloon-launched multistage rocket which I designed for them and which eventually would have gone they thought, I didn't think so, but eventually would have gone around the moon and come back and that's why it was called Farside.

Online edkyle99

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Re: Farside rockoon
« Reply #3 on: 01/20/2014 03:06 AM »
NASM has one of the rockets, probably a full scale development model, in its collection.  It seems to lack a fourth stage.
http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?id=A19680013000
 - Ed Kyle
On closer examination, and a review of references, I now believe that the Arrow II fourth stage was positioned in the center of the upper cluster, with the outer four Arrow II motors serving as the third stage.  The small instrument section was housed in the upper cone-shaped fairing.

Some details appeared in a Popular Science article, reproduced at the following link.  According to this, the rockoon was meant to go from 0 to 17,000 mph in 26 seconds!
http://highpowerrocketry.blogspot.com/2009/01/project-farside-in-popular-science-1957.html

A link within the link mentions that "A secondary goal of Farside was to test concepts for a larger five-stage follow-on vehicle, which was to reach the vicinity of the moon. However, this project never materialized."  The link also shows that the total firing duration for all four stages combined was only 6.68 seconds.  So that's really 0 to 17,000 mph in 6.68 seconds!

Interesting that Far Side was aiming for super-high suborbital apogees in a manner that reminds me of what China did last year with its mysterious four stage rocket.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/20/2014 03:26 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline mlorrey

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Re: Farside rockoon
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2017 03:13 PM »
Hi Ed, thanks for this thread. I'm building a 3d model of the Farside rocket and balloon for the International Spaceflight Museum's virtual exhibits and am curious about the more detailed structure of the rocket, what was holding the four Recruit engines together, interconnects between stages, and of course the instrument cluster. I'm trying to find some more exact dimensions for the rocket than what is commonly available on the web.
VP of International Spaceflight Museum - http://ismuseum.org
Founder, Lorrey Aerospace, B&T Holdings, ACE Exchange, and Hypersonic Systems. Currently I am a venture recruiter for Family Office Venture Capital.

Offline plutogno

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Re: Farside rockoon
« Reply #5 on: 03/06/2017 05:32 PM »
there is a nice article on Farside in the October 1957 issue of Missiles and Rockets (p. 120)
you can find the scanned magazine on Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/misslesandrockets

Offline Proponent

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Re: Farside rockoon
« Reply #6 on: 03/07/2017 03:56 PM »
The link to the Missiles & Rockets archive is very interesting.  I'm not sure whether I should thank you for posting it, however, considering the large amount of time I've already wasted reading it! :)

An amusing unrelated tidbit I found was that after Saturn project was transferred to NASA, thought was given to transferring Dyna-Soar (which at the time was to have flown on Saturn) as well.  Some wags proposed a new name:  Von Brauntosoar.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2017 04:05 PM by Proponent »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Farside rockoon
« Reply #7 on: 03/07/2017 06:48 PM »
The link to the Missiles & Rockets archive is very interesting.  I'm not sure whether I should thank you for posting it, however, considering the large amount of time I've already wasted reading it! :)

An amusing unrelated tidbit I found was that after Saturn project was transferred to NASA, thought was given to transferring Dyna-Soar (which at the time was to have flown on Saturn) as well.  Some wags proposed a new name:  Von Brauntosoar.

Dear God, as if the Flight Global archive wasn't enough ! Thanks for the link !

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Von Brauntosoar

...you have been found guilty by the elders of the forum of a (imaginary) vendetta against Saint Elon - BLAAASPHEMER !

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