Author Topic: Solid Propellant Industrial Base  (Read 21271 times)

Offline su27k

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #100 on: 06/28/2018 03:44 AM »
Good article on solid rocket industry. The Minuteman 2 replacement program is probably main reason behind NG buying OA. Whether NG or Boeing wins contract,
ATK will still end up making one or more of Minuteman stages. Most likely more stages if NG wins.

http://spacenews.com/in-the-wake-of-northrop-orbital-merger-aerojets-solid-rocket-engine-business-teetering-on-the-brink/

Using space launch to subsidize solid did not come up in the article at all. It says the winner of GBSD will have decades of solid work ahead, sounds to me there no need for artificially propping up the solid industry using space launch any more.

Online Kabloona

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #101 on: 06/28/2018 02:27 PM »
Good article on solid rocket industry. The Minuteman 2 replacement program is probably main reason behind NG buying OA. Whether NG or Boeing wins contract,
ATK will still end up making one or more of Minuteman stages. Most likely more stages if NG wins.

http://spacenews.com/in-the-wake-of-northrop-orbital-merger-aerojets-solid-rocket-engine-business-teetering-on-the-brink/

Using space launch to subsidize solid did not come up in the article at all. It says the winner of GBSD will have decades of solid work ahead, sounds to me there no need for artificially propping up the solid industry using space launch any more.

The ongoing concern in the Pentagon, as has been discussed upthread, is the continuing loss of capacity in the solids industry, which was explicitly mentioned in the article with the reference to the collapse of demand around 1990 and further loss of demand when Shuttle retired.

Back in the late 1980's when I started out in the Air Force doing solid propellant R&D work at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Lab at Edwards AFB, there were four major solids companies: Aerojet, UT/CSD, Hercules, and Thiokol. Now there are only two: NGIS and Aerojet.

So the Air Force is worried that if Aerojet doesn't get enough large SRM business, they'll get out of that line of work altogether and be reduced to tactical missiles only, which would leave the Pentagon at the mercy of one large SRM supplier (NGIS) who would effectively have a monopoly in the same way ULA had a monopoly before SpaceX elbowed in.

I expect they'll treat GBSD procurement the same way they're doing launch vehicles now, ie support at least two major suppliers.

So, yes, there will be two large SRM suppliers making ICBM stages for another decade, and that will keep the Pentagon happy for a while.

Then when GBSD production ramps down, it'll be back to the same question: how to preserve large SRM production infrastructure and knowledge base during a long down-time before the next large ICBM procurement.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #102 on: 06/28/2018 08:35 PM »
The Minuteman 2 replacement program is probably main reason behind NG buying OA.

OA has business divisions and DoD contracts that are of far more value than the ICBM motor replacement.

Offline testguy

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Re: Solid Propellant Industrial Base
« Reply #103 on: 07/09/2018 03:04 AM »
Good article on solid rocket industry. The Minuteman 2 replacement program is probably main reason behind NG buying OA. Whether NG or Boeing wins contract,
ATK will still end up making one or more of Minuteman stages. Most likely more stages if NG wins.

http://spacenews.com/in-the-wake-of-northrop-orbital-merger-aerojets-solid-rocket-engine-business-teetering-on-the-brink/

Using space launch to subsidize solid did not come up in the article at all. It says the winner of GBSD will have decades of solid work ahead, sounds to me there no need for artificially propping up the solid industry using space launch any more.

The ongoing concern in the Pentagon, as has been discussed upthread, is the continuing loss of capacity in the solids industry, which was explicitly mentioned in the article with the reference to the collapse of demand around 1990 and further loss of demand when Shuttle retired.

Back in the late 1980's when I started out in the Air Force doing solid propellant R&D work at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Lab at Edwards AFB, there were four major solids companies: Aerojet, UT/CSD, Hercules, and Thiokol. Now there are only two: NGIS and Aerojet.

So the Air Force is worried that if Aerojet doesn't get enough large SRM business, they'll get out of that line of work altogether and be reduced to tactical missiles only, which would leave the Pentagon at the mercy of one large SRM supplier (NGIS) who would effectively have a monopoly in the same way ULA had a monopoly before SpaceX elbowed in.

I expect they'll treat GBSD procurement the same way they're doing launch vehicles now, ie support at least two major suppliers.

So, yes, there will be two large SRM suppliers making ICBM stages for another decade, and that will keep the Pentagon happy for a while.

Then when GBSD production ramps down, it'll be back to the same question: how to preserve large SRM production infrastructure and knowledge base during a long down-time before the next large ICBM procurement.

A few comments:
1.  For some reason no one is addressing SLBMs.. It is a critical member of the nuclear tri-ad.
2. I didnít take time to research the funding but it would not surprise me if it exceeded land based ICBMs.
3. Solid propellant will degrade with time.  Therefore, every stage has to be washed out, reinsulated and reloaded with propellant after a period of years.
4. Since not all stages are manufactured at the same time but over a period of years.  Reloading stages will help keep the manufacturing lines open.
5.  So long as there is a need for strategic missiles, solid propellant will be required because it offers instant response in a time of crisis.
6.  The degree of personnel discipline is greater in the manufacture of strategic assets.  Therefore, the government will fund to keep the lines hot.  Personnel can be doing productive work such as IR&D to improve the product or plan for future products.
7. It may sound like a small point but there is considerable work in qualifying new materials to replace those that are no longer available from suppliers.  This is very real.
8.  I believe it has already been stated that there considerable revenue from solid propellant used in tactical applications.  So long as there is conventional warfare going on in the world this will continue.



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