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    Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

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    Big_Gazza
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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Big_Gazza on Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:54 pm

    Mike E wrote:I know that metastable liquid Metallic Hydrogen is highly controversial, and will probably never exist...

    I wasn't sure if you intended this post as satire..  Very Happy   AFAIK, you require something like 25GPa of pressure to convert liquid molecular hydrogen into a metallic form.  Thats about 1/4 million atmospheres  Shocked  Imagine trying to build a flight-capable pressure vessel to hold that  Very Happy

    AFAIK metallic hydrogen has never been created on earth, but is thought to be present in enormous quantities deep within the core of Jupiter and Saturn.  Too difficult for mere mortals to access, but maybe the Holy Elon of Musk can harness the God-like powers of SpaceX and Amerikan Exceptionalism and succeed where we lesser races would fail....    Twisted Evil   /snark off

    BTW "metallic" doesn't mean solid like a metal, but where the electrons are stripped from the atoms and can move freely among the resultant anions, and therefore can be made to flow under the influence of electric potential (ie a conductive material)

    Finally, loving your space-related posts Mike!

    Edit: Did some research - apparently you require something like 500 Gpa to create metallic hydrogen.... Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Holy #@$& that's a lot of pressure... that's even more than Poroshenko is under as his neo-fascist state collapses around him... Twisted Evil /snark off (again)

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:15 pm

    Big_Gazza wrote:
    Mike E wrote:I know that metastable liquid Metallic Hydrogen is highly controversial, and will probably never exist...

    I wasn't sure if you intended this post as satire..  Very Happy   AFAIK, you require something like 25GPa of pressure to convert liquid molecular hydrogen into a metallic form.  Thats about 1/4 million atmospheres  Shocked  Imagine trying to build a flight-capable pressure vessel to hold that  Very Happy

    AFAIK metallic hydrogen has never been created on earth, but is thought to be present in enormous quantities deep within the core of Jupiter and Saturn.  Too difficult for mere mortals to access, but maybe the Holy Elon of Musk can harness the God-like powers of SpaceX and Amerikan Exceptionalism and succeed where we lesser races would fail....    Twisted Evil   /snark off

    BTW "metallic" doesn't mean solid like a metal, but where the electrons are stripped from the atoms and can move freely among the resultant anions, and therefore can be made to flow under the influence of electric potential (ie a conductive material)

    Finally, loving your space-related posts Mike!

    Edit:  Did some research - apparently you require something like 500 Gpa to create metallic hydrogen....   Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked   Holy #@$& that's a lot of pressure...  that's even more than Poroshenko is under as his neo-fascist state collapses around him... Twisted Evil  /snark off (again)
    Mangum was saying the same stuff.... The idea is that it will be "Metastable", so while it needs a ton of pressure to be produced, it won't need any after that. - As mentioned earlier, scientists have been inventing new methods to reach the required pressures.

    Bow down to the Muskateer! 

    Yeah, they could possibly be an advantage too....

    Thanks... Very Happy

    The estimates are all over the place.... I just hope that it can be produced!

     - If you noticed the sudden lack of news, it isn't myself but rather the sources themselves.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:42 am

    This doesn't have much to do with Russian space programs etc, but it is very interesting nonetheless.

    Boeing, Lockheed Martin join project to create new US rocket engine

    The new engine is to undergo full-scale testing in 2016 and is to be used for a rocket launch in 2019

    WASHINGTON, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. US major aerospace industry companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced on Wednesday they teamed up with Blue Origin, a company run by Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos, to develop a new rocket engine that is to replace Russia’s RD-180.

    United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, said it would invest heavily in a new rocket engine being developed by Blue Origin, Reuters reported. The new engine, called the BE-4, could be ready for use in four years, and would offer substantial cost savings over the Russian-built RD-180 engine now used to power ULA's heavy-lift Atlas 5 rockets, officials from both companies told reporters.
    The new engine is to undergo full-scale testing in 2016 and is to be used for a rocket launch in 2019. ULA and Blue Origin will use the BE-4 engine in their next-generation launch vehicles, according to ULA. Work on the liquid oxygen, liquefied natural-gas engine has been under way for three years in Kent and in West Texas, and four more years of development are expected before first flight.

    The discussions in the United States on the need to create own US rocket engine intensified this May after Moscow made statements that Russia might stop the supplies of its RD-180 engine to American companies, if the Pentagon continued its use for orbiting spy satellites. ULA has a many-year and multibillion contract with the US Department of Defence on launches of such spacecraft.
     
    - Here are some things I'd like to add....

    A) Why are they replacing a LOX/RP-1 engine used by a rocket designed for LOX/RP-1 with a LOX/Methane one. As some of you know, I've become a huge fan of Methane within the past week, but this doesn't make any sense. This will require a complete change in the design of the Atlas-V, which is very costly and time consuming...

    B) Why have such a strange thrust level of 550 thousand pounds? That is way too little in a single configuration, but too much for the Atlas-V as once again, it will burn more fuel, requiring larger tanks, meaning even more time redesigning. 

    C) The engine R&D ETA seems highly optimistic.

    This could give Russia a needed boost in the 20-30 ton to LEO market.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  GarryB on Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:47 am


    C) The engine R&D ETA seems highly optimistic.

    They wont reinvent the wheel... they will just change the fuel type and slap some made in USA stickers on it and claim victory as usual... Rolling Eyes


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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  kvs on Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:52 am

    GarryB wrote:

    C) The engine R&D ETA seems highly optimistic.

    They wont reinvent the wheel... they will just change the fuel type and slap some made in USA stickers on it and claim victory as usual...  Rolling Eyes

    Exactly. Rocket engines are not developed in a couple of years. If it was so easy, then the RD-180 would never have been imported into the USA.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:04 am

    GarryB wrote:

    C) The engine R&D ETA seems highly optimistic.

    They wont reinvent the wheel... they will just change the fuel type and slap some made in USA stickers on it and claim victory as usual...  Rolling Eyes

    GarryB, you can't just "change" the fuel type of a rocket engine, there are many parts including the turbo pump that would need to be completely redesigned etc. This engine is completely different from the RD-180, even if it doesn't seem like it...

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:05 am

    kvs wrote:
    GarryB wrote:

    C) The engine R&D ETA seems highly optimistic.

    They wont reinvent the wheel... they will just change the fuel type and slap some made in USA stickers on it and claim victory as usual...  Rolling Eyes

    Exactly.  Rocket engines are not developed in a couple of years.  If it was so easy, then the RD-180 would never have been imported into the USA.

    At that time, they *wanted* a new engine, now they *need* it.

    They can be developed in that time, but it will turn out to be way over-budget and half-baked etc.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:33 pm

    With a almost complete lack of space program news, I'll post some interesting information from "Rocket Propulsion Elements 7th edition"... First, let see some info on SRB's.

    TABLE 11-2. Classification of Solid Rocket Motors:
                        
    Basis of Classification                  Examples of Classification 
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Application                 See Table 11-1. 
    Diameter/Length 
    Propellant                   0.005-6.6 m or 0.2-260 in.; 0.025 to 45 m or 1 to 1800 in. 
                                       Composite: Heterogeneous (physical) mixture of powdered 
                                       metal (fuel), crystalline oxidizer and polymer binder 
                                       Double-base: Homogeneous mixture (colloidal) of two 
                                       explosives (usually nitroglycerin in nitrocellulose) 
                                       Composite-modified double-base: Combines composite and 
                                       double-base ingredients 
                                       Gas generator and others: See Chapter 12 

    Case design 
                                       Steel monolithic: One-piece steel case 
                                       Fiber monolithic: Filament wound (high-strength fibers) with 
                                       a plastic matrix 
                                       Segmented: Case (usually steel) and grain are in segments 
                                       which are transported separately and fastened together at 
                                       launch site 

    Grain configuration 
                                       Cylindrical: Cylindrically shaped, usually hollow 
                                       End-burning: Solid cylinder propellant grain 
                                       Other configurations: See Figs. 11-16 and 11-17 

    Grain installation 
                                       Case-bonded: Adhesion exists between grain and case or 
                                       between grain and insulation and case; propellant is 
                                       usually cast into the case 
                                       Cartridge-loaded: Grain is formed separately from the motor 
                                       case and then assembled into case 

    Explosive hazard 
                                       Class 1.3: Catastrophic failure shows evidence of burning 
                                       and explosion, not detonation 
                                       Class 1.1: Catastrophic failure shows evidence of detonation

    Thrust action 
                                       Neutral grain: Thrust remains essentially constant during the 
                                       burn period 
                                       Progressive grain: Thrust increases with time 
                                       Regressive grain: Thrust decreases with time 
                                       Pulse rocket: Two or more independent thrust pulses or 
                                       burning periods 
                                       Step-thrust rocket: Usually, two distinct levels of thrust

    Toxicity 
                                       Toxic and nontoxic exhaust gases 

     
    - Please tell me if you want to see more of these as there are lots of em'. It takes 15 minutes or more for me to post them here, and if no one wants them it is a waste of my time!

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:52 pm

    12.1. CLASSIFICATION 
    Processed modern propellants can be classified in several ways, as described 
    below. This classification is not rigorous or complete. Sometimes the same 
    propellant will fit into two or more of the classifications. 

    1. Propellants are often tailored to and classified by specific applications,
    such as space launch booster propellants or tactical missile propellants;
    each has somewhat specific chemical ingredients, different burning rates,
    different physical properties, and different performance. Table 11-1
    shows four kinds of rocket motor applications (each has somewhat different
    propellants) and several gas generator applications. Propellants for
    rocket motors have hot (over 2400 K) gases and are used to produce
    thrust, but gas generator propellants have lower-temperature combustion
    gases (800 to 1200 K) and they are used to produce power, not thrust.
    Historically, the early rocket motor propellants used to be grouped
    into two classes: double-base (DB*) propellants were used as the first
    production propellants, and then the development of polymers as binders
    made the composite propellants feasible.


    2. Double-base (DB) propellants form a homogeneous propellant grain,
    usually a nitrocellulose (NC*), a solid ingredient which absorbs liquid
    nitroglycerine (NG) plus minor percentages of additives. Both the major
    ingredients are explosives and function as a combined fuel and oxidizer.
    Both extruded double-base (EDB) and cast double-base (CDB) propellant
    have found extensive applications, mostly in small tactical missiles of
    older design. By adding crystalline nitramines (HMX or RDX)* the
    performance and density can be improved; this is sometimes called
    cast-modified double-base propellant. A further improvement is to add
    an elastomeric binder (rubber-like, such as crosslinked polybutadiene),
    which improves the physical properties and allows more nitramine and
    thus improves the performance slightly. The resulting propellant is called
    elastomeric-modified cast double-base (EMCDB). These four classes of
    double base have nearly smokeless exhausts. Adding some solid ammonium
    perchlorate (AP) and aluminum (A1) increases the density and the
    specific impulse slightly, but the exhaust gas is smoky. The propellant is
    called composite-modified double-base propellant or CMDB.


    3. Composite propellants form a heterogeneous propellant grain with the
    oxidizer crystals and a powdered fuel (usually aluminum) held together
    in a matrix of synthetic rubber (or plastic) binder, such as polybutadiene
    (HTPB)*. Composite propellants are cast from a mix of solid (AP crystals,
    A1 powder)* and liquid (HTPB, PPG)* ingredients. The propellant is
    hardened by crosslinking or curing the liquid binder polymer with a small
    amount of curing agent, and curing it in an oven, where it becomes hard
    and solid. In the past three decades the composite propellants have been
    the most commonly used class. They can be further subdivided:

    (1) Conventional composite propellants usually contain between 60 and
    72% ammonium perchlorate (AP) as crystalline oxidizer, up to 22%aluminum powder (A1) as a metal fuel, and 8 to 16% of elastomeric
    binder (organic polymer) including its plasticizer.

    (2) Modified composite propellant where an energetic nitramine (HMX
    or RDX) is added for obtaining a little more performance and also a
    somewhat higher density.

    (3) Modified composite propellant where an energetic plasticizer such as
    nitroglycerine (used in double-base propellant) is added to give a little
    more performance. Sometimes HMX is also added.

    (4) A high-energy composite solid propellant (with some aluminum),
    where the organic elastomeric binder and plasticizer are largely
    replaced by energetic materials (such as certain explosives) and
    where some of the AP is replaced by HMX. Some of these are called
    elastomer-modified cast double-base propellants (EMCDB). Most
    are experimental propellants. The theoretical specific impulse can
    be between 270 and 275 sec at standard conditions.

    (5) A lower-energy composite propellant, where ammonium nitrate (AN) is
    the crystalline oxidizer (no AP). It is used for gas generator propellant.
    If a large amount of HMX is added, it can become a minimum
    smoke propellant with fair performance.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:07 pm

    This will finish off the info on solid-fuels...

    12.2. PROPELLANT CHARACTERISTICS

    The propellant selection is critical to rocket motor design. The desirable propellant
    characteristics are listed below and are discussed again in other parts of
    this book. The requirements for any particular motor will influence the priorities
    of these characteristics:

    1. High performance or high specific impulse; really this means high gas
    temperature and/or low molecular mass.

    2. Predictable, reproducible, and initially adjustable burning rate to fit the
    need of the grain design and the thrust-time requirement.

    3. For minimum variation in thrust or chamber pressure, the pressure or
    burning rate exponent and the temperature coefficient should be small.

    4. Adequate physical properties (including bond strength) over the
    intended operating temperature range.

    5. High density (allows a small-volume motor).

    6. Predictable, reproducible ignition qualities (such as reasonable ignition
    overpressure)

    7. Good aging characteristics and long life. Aging and life predictions
    depend on the propellant's chemical and physical properties, the cumulative
    damage criteria with load cycling and thermal cycling (see page
    461), and actual tests on propellant samples and test data from failed
    motors.

    8. Low absorption of moisture, which often causes chemical deterioration.

    9. Simple, reproducible, safe, low-cost, controllable, and low-hazard manufacturing.

    10. Guaranteed availability of all raw materials and purchased components
    over the production and operating life of the propellant, and good
    control over undesirable impurities.

    11. Low technical risk, such as a favorable history of prior applications.

    12. Relative insensitivity to certain energy stimuli described in the next section.

    13. Non-toxic exhaust gases.

    14. Not prone to combustion instability (see next chapter).

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  kvs on Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:09 pm

    The information is interesting but you are probably wasting your time. It would be good to get some sort of specific
    information that is probably not easy to find. For example, Russian solid rocket fuel technology has improved significantly
    compared to the Soviet level of the 1980s. So the current railway mounted ICBMs in development will be much lighter,
    I believe by a factor of two.

    I wonder what chemical constituent improvements were involved. From the above description it seems like there is not
    much room for such increases in performance. So there must be some chemical tricks not covered by the reference
    you quote.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:16 pm

    kvs wrote:The information is interesting but you are probably wasting your time.   It would be good to get some sort of specific
    information that is probably not easy to find.  For example, Russian solid rocket fuel technology has improved significantly
    compared to the Soviet level of the 1980s.   So the current railway mounted ICBMs in development will be much lighter,
    I believe by a factor of two.

    I wonder what chemical constituent improvements were involved.   From the above description it seems like there is not
    much room for such increases in performance.   So there must be some chemical tricks not covered by the reference
    you quote.
    Yeah, that is what I figured.... The problem with finding information on older, Soviet space developments, is that there is only one source. - That would be RSW. So while I'd love to cover the topic, it is a pain, would get repetitive, and doesn't align with the purpose of this thread...

    There really isn't when it comes to solid-fuels... It is  a "this is the best you can do" kind of thing. - There are other additives that can be used etc.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:07 am

    Finally! Some more news to share! (An article in this case...)

    UR-700A: The unknown nuclear leviathan of the Moon Race

    The largest design in the Soviet effort to beat America to the Moon turned out to be also the most elusive for historians. Only during the celebration of the 100th birthday of its creator Vladimir Chelomei in 2014, did detailed information on the incredible UR-700 Version "A" design finally emerge.


    An atomic Moon rocket
    During the 1960s, the prolific Soviet space designer Vladimir Chelomei led the development of the giant UR-700 rocket. It was conceived as a modular alternative to the "single-body" N1 booster, which was favored by the Soviet leadership for the politically urgent goal of landing a man on the Moon ahead of the US. However the N1 project masterminded by Sergei Korolev at the end of the 1950s, ran into numerous technical problems, not last of which, was the need to build the giant vehicle at the remote launch site in Baikonur in the midst of the Kazakh steppe and to develop a complex multi-engine propulsion system.
    By the end of 1967, the Kremlin gave the green light to Vladimir Chelomei to work on the preliminary design of the UR-700 rocket as a backup to the troubled N1. Unlike the N1, Chelomei's rocket would be assembled out of components built in Moscow and transportable by rail. Even more importantly, it would use just 12 engines on its three stages, instead of 42 on the boosters stages of the N1. Finally, the UR-700 could launch 151 tons of payload versus 97 tons carried by the N1 and 127 tons delivered by the American Saturn-5.
    In parallel with the development of the UR-700, Chelomei's engineers drafted a much bigger follow-on vehicle. Known as Skhema "A" (or Configuration "A", where "A" stood for "atomic"), an even more colossal rocket would use a yet-to-be-developed nuclear engine to increase its payload to an unprecedented 250 tons. (658)
    The first two stages of the "A" variant would be borrowed largely unchanged from the original UR-700. On both versions, the six boosters of the first stage would feed their own engines and, simultaneously, refuel the three boosters of the second stage. As a result, the second stage would have full tanks when it took over the powered ascent after the separation of the first stage.
    In the meantime, the third and fourth stages of the "atomic" version of UR-700 would be developed from scratch and equipped with the revolutionary RO-31 nuclear engines (a.k.a. RD-0411) burning either cryogenic liquid hydrogen or liquid methane and developing a thrust of 40 tons. Seven such engines would be installed on the third stage and three would propel the fourth stage.
    The third stage could have the job of sending a spacecraft on an escape trajectory from the Earth orbit and the fourth could conduct a braking maneuver near the Moon or Mars. The design work on the RO-31 engine was initiated at the KBKhA design bureau in the city of Voronezh in 1964. (717) On Oct. 26, 1965, the Soviet government issued a decree No. 842-304 giving a green light to the development of a small-scale prototype of a nuclear rocket engine known as RD-0410. (718) It was expected to propel an upper stage of the Proton rocket, launching future planetary probes into deep space. (156)
    The atomic version of the UR-700 rocket was apparently expected to carry a manned spacecraft on a direct flight to the Moon with a crew reaching seven people. In addition, modules of the lunar base and components of a Martian expeditionary complex could also be launched. Finally, a single such rocket would be enough to launch a manned spacecraft to fly by Mars or Venus. (400)
    Chelomei signed the completed preliminary design of the UR-700, (which apparently included a proposal for the "atomic" version), on Sept. 30, 1968. However the full-scale development of the UR-700 rocket was never funded as all the money and efforts were committed to making the N1 fly in the last leg of the race to the Moon.
    UR-700M: The biggest rocket ever conceived?
    However Chelomei apparently saw an even bigger chance for a follow-on to UR-700 within a year after the cancellation of the project. With the loss of the Moon Race to the US in 1969, Soviet politicians and engineers alike thought of a new frontier in the Space Race. One option would be to beat NASA to Mars!
    By 1970, Chelomei's team asked the Moscow-based KBOM design bureau specialized in launch equipment to draft a launching pad that would be at the absolute limit of conceivable size. The facility had to accommodate the 16,000-ton colossus dubbed UR-700M capable of orbiting 750 tons of cargo. The three-stage vehicle would develop 23,400 tons of thrust at liftoff and launch the MK-700 Martian expeditionary complex in a single shot. The spacecraft was named Aelita after a famous Russian post-revolutionary sci-fi novel by Alexei Tolstoy.
    In 1971, KBOM also fulfilled orders for launch pad designs for a two-stage version of the UR-700M rocket, which would probably be enough to orbit a giant manned outpost around the Earth.
    To handle such a giant vehicle at the launch site, KBOM engineers had to abandon all accepted architectural principles of the Soviet rocketry, according to which a fully assembled space booster is transported in horizontal position and then erected onto its launch pad. Now, they had to adopt an American approach, delivering the rocket to the pad in vertical position. Moreover, the spacecraft would be transported separately and integrated with the rocket on the launch pad.
    After considering three possible designs of the launch pad, the one involving a partially buried launch platform was adopted, probably in order to reduce associated wind pressure on the towering vehicle. Even more amazingly, Chelomei requested a provision for a simultaneous assembly of three such rockets at three individual launch pads. (112) More than 40 years after it has been conceived, the design of the monstrous vehicle still remains a mystery.
    (More to come!)

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:52 am

    I'd like to add some more info (and opinions) on the UR-700(A);

     - Had it been built, *it would have been the first rocket to ever use fuel-cross-feed*. As of now, only the Falcon Heavy is planned to use it. (For those who don't know what it is, cross-feed is when the liquid-powered-boosters pump fuel into the main stage, so that when they separate the main stage will be full of fuel (and oxidizer). This gets rid of excess weight ASAP, and allows for a decently large improvement in payload.)

     - The primary engines (as used on the boosters and core) would be the UDMH-powered RD-270, which *would have been the first engine in use to be of the full-flow staged combustion cycle design*. - As readers of this thread *might know*, FFSCC engines have all of their fuel pass through the pre-burner rather than have some of the fuel bypass it. This typically adds 10-20 isp to the engine, but is an engineering challenge at the same time. As such, the RD-270 hand an usually high isp for UDMH at SL (305) and in a vacuum (322) while generating a MASSIVE 1,509,142 pounds of thrust! - In a single-chamber, unlike the RD-170.... It surprises me that work stopped on this engine, a single up-rated version could of replaced all six RD-253 engines on the Proton, while using the same fuel and oxidizer (it would have been more efficient as well)... The weight of the RD-270 is argued upon, but its thrust/weight ratio would have been very near, if not better than the later-designed RD-170. (UDMH is toxic, which is a problem.... However, if the reliability rate was good enough it would be a none-problem.)

     - Yet *another possible first, nuclear thermal engines*. The tech at the time would have required much more funding to reach production, but it *could have been done*.

     - It would have had by far the most thrust of any rocket on its first stage, which leads me to say this;

    WHY? - I think I'd be permanently wetting myself if this monster was built.... Embarassed

    I'd love to see Russia reigniting the RD-270 project with either a Methane or Kerosene variant.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  kvs on Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:17 am

    The story of the N1 highlights how the Soviet system sabotaged itself. The design was a plumber's nightmare built by committee. It was predictable that it would fail. The resonances in that monstrosity must have been numerous and impossible to control.

    The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is a universally valid principle. Reducing the degrees of freedom in a mechanical system (or even in organizations) increases reliability. The less things that can go wrong, the less chance that something will go wrong. The N1 tore itself apart after launch every single time. No amount of fixing would save this dead end design.

    The UR-700 would have been the correct project to follow. I bet they cancelled the RD-270 to save face.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:46 am

    kvs wrote:The story of the N1 highlights how the Soviet system sabotaged itself.   The design was a plumber's nightmare built by committee.   It was predictable that it would fail.  The resonances in that monstrosity must have been numerous and impossible to control.

    The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is a universally valid principle.  Reducing the degrees of freedom in a mechanical system (or even in organizations) increases reliability.  The less things that can go wrong, the less chance that something will go wrong.    The N1 tore itself apart after launch every single time.   No amount of fixing would save this dead end design.  

    The UR-700 would have been the correct project to follow.  I bet they cancelled the RD-270 to save face.
    I agree and disagree.... Had Korolev lived to see it launch, he might of been able to fix its problems. Lots of engines is a problem, but it also means a higher T/W ratio and doesn't require a ton of R&D to design the engines themselves (less thrust needed).

    Actually, KISS doesn't apply to rockets. For crying out loud they are some of the most complex things made today! The problem wasn't within KISS as the design itself was "simple", it was the basis of the idea that was flawed ("lot of engines").

    True, but the UR-700 project was started at a much later time, hence the reason the Soviets fell for the N1. They cancelled it becuase they had little interest (never-mind a lack of funds) in the Moon after the US got there first...

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  kvs on Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:52 am

    Mike E wrote:
    kvs wrote:The story of the N1 highlights how the Soviet system sabotaged itself.   The design was a plumber's nightmare built by committee.   It was predictable that it would fail.  The resonances in that monstrosity must have been numerous and impossible to control.

    The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is a universally valid principle.  Reducing the degrees of freedom in a mechanical system (or even in organizations) increases reliability.  The less things that can go wrong, the less chance that something will go wrong.    The N1 tore itself apart after launch every single time.   No amount of fixing would save this dead end design.  

    The UR-700 would have been the correct project to follow.  I bet they cancelled the RD-270 to save face.
    I agree and disagree.... Had Korolev lived to see it launch, he might of been able to fix its problems. Lots of engines is a problem, but it also means a higher T/W ratio and doesn't require a ton of R&D to design the engines themselves (less thrust needed).

    Actually, KISS doesn't apply to rockets. For crying out loud they are some of the most complex things made today! The problem wasn't within KISS as the design itself was "simple", it was the basis of the idea that was flawed ("lot of engines").

    True, but the UR-700 project was started at a much later time, hence the reason the Soviets fell for the N1. They cancelled it becuase they had little interest (never-mind a lack of funds) in the Moon after the US got there first...

    They are complex, but they could be more complex. So KISS does apply. There was no way to fix the N1. They lacked the ability to simulate the dynamics of the structure and there is only so much you can do with pencil and paper calculations. This is again where KISS comes in. Robust designs with reduced modes of vibration also tend to be simpler to model and understand their characteristics.

    The race was lost only because the USSR gave up. The USSR could have gone to the moon three years later and done something the Americans did not do. By going there the USSR would have diluted the glory of the US. Nobody is handing out gold medals in this "race". We have had similar races in the past as various powers grabbed land around the world. Not getting there first did not mean a loss. The trick was perseverance. The Soviet command economy did not operate on money in the sense most people in the west understand. I routinely see the claim that Reagan "bankrupted" the USSR with his military spending arms race. This is nonsense since command economies do not work that way. The money is really vouchers and economic activity is organized via plans and directives to fulfill them. There is no market that requires money to operate. The USSR had enough human and material resources to keep with the space race for as long as it existed. It failed for a slew of other reasons which are too long to get into.

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:14 am

    kvs wrote:They are complex, but they could be more complex.   So KISS does apply.   There was no way to fix the N1.   They lacked the ability to simulate the dynamics of the structure and there is only so much you can do with pencil and paper calculations.   This is again where KISS comes in.  Robust designs with reduced modes of vibration also tend to be simpler to model and understand their characteristics.  

    The race was lost only because the USSR gave up.   The USSR could have gone to the moon three years later and done something the Americans did not do.   By going there the USSR would have diluted the glory of the US.  Nobody is handing out gold medals in this "race".   We have had similar races in the past as various powers grabbed land around the world.   Not getting there first did not mean a loss.   The trick was perseverance.   The Soviet command economy did not operate on money in the sense most people in the west understand.   I routinely see the claim that Reagan "bankrupted" the USSR with his military spending arms race.   This is nonsense since command economies do not work that way.   The money is really vouchers and economic activity is organized via plans and directives to fulfill them.   There is no market that requires money to operate.   The USSR had enough human and material resources to keep with the space race for as long as it existed.   It failed for a slew of other reasons which are too long to get into.
    Let's keep it at there is a reason people use the idiom "it ain't rocket science". - Rockets are already super complicated, and keep in mind that compared to today's super successful rockets, the N1 was a dinosaur tech-wise. Are you suggest that Korolev and his team didn't know what they were getting into (calling them idiots)? Trust me when I say that his team knew their stuff, and that with him as their leader the N1 *might of* had a different reputation...

    The CCCP didn't lose the "Space Race", and even though they lost the "Moon Race", they still were well accomplished there.


    Last part is  Off Topic...

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  GarryB on Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:07 pm


    The CCCP didn't lose the "Space Race", and even though they lost the "Moon Race", they still were well accomplished there.

    The race to put a man on the moon was won by the US... all the other significant "races" were won by the Soviets including first view of the dark side of the moon (the side that always faces away from earth and would be a great place for a base that was not effected by electronic noise from earth). The first moon rover was Soviet, the first landing on the moon was Soviet... the only thing they won was getting a man there first and if the Soviets had been a bit more reckless they could easily have lost that too.

    The thing is that putting men up is all PR, so losing those men is worse than not bothering in the first place.

    Once the US landed men on the moon there was no point repeating the feat... even the Americans got bored with it after a dozen or more landings.

    Lots of people still think it never happened anyway... and to those who think they are weird... if the US government or governments in general didn't lie so often then perhaps they might be more readily believed.

    Given time there is no reason why the N1 couldn't have gone to the moon and back... not 100% safe, but even the nazi rocket von brown built wasn't 100% safe for the US.

    Can't believe I haven't posted this already...

    Didn't you know the ISS is MIR II?

    After all that investment they are hardly going to throw it all away just because the US doesn't want to continue to fund it.


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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  AlfaT8 on Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:31 pm

    Might as well throw in my 2 cents.

    From what i can see the Soviets were without a doubt the space pioneers, not there western counterparts, i mean the only reason the west even participated in this race was to one up Russia, not pioneer into the final frontier, so i find it funny when i saw the trailer for the movie Interstellar telling me of how they were ones the pioneers. Rolling Eyes

    Hell, i believe the only reason sought a movie is even been made, is because Russia has made public there plans for a manned mission to Mars, so now the U.S is trying to build up public support. Razz

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Big_Gazza on Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:51 pm

    kvs wrote:The story of the N1 highlights how the Soviet system sabotaged itself.  

    Agreed in many respects. One of the worst of the many farces in the Soviet manned lunar program was Glushko doing a giant dummy spit and refusing to develop the large kerolox engines that Korolev wanted for his SHLV. He was apparently upset that Korolev refused to consider putting his cosmonauts on top of several thousand tons of high corrosive carcinogens, and with urging of Chelomei in his ears, he took his bat and ball and stumped off home. This sounds impossible given the totalitarian nature of Soviet management practices, but he did it and rather than government enforcers having a quiet word in his ear about the need to cooperate with State plans (and how refusal could lead to health complications...) he got away with it and Korolev was forced to go to Kuznetsov for engines. The NK-15 and NK-33 proved to be excellent engines, but the number of chambers and the fragility of the resulting over-complex plumbing system and its susceptibility to catastrophic failure from poorly understood vibrational modes (impossible to simulate in the 1960s) doomed the N-1 to failure.

    I still cannot fathom why the lunar programs sponsors in Soviet government did not tell Glushko to get busy and do what he was #@%&ing told. After all, "his" design bureau was state property and not his own private company...

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:01 pm

    GarryB wrote:

    The CCCP didn't lose the "Space Race", and even though they lost the "Moon Race", they still were well accomplished there.

    The race to put a man on the moon was won by the US... all the other significant "races" were won by the Soviets including first view of the dark side of the moon (the side that always faces away from earth and would be a great place for a base that was not effected by electronic noise from earth). The first moon rover was Soviet, the first landing on the moon was Soviet... the only thing they won was getting a man there first and if the Soviets had been a bit more reckless they could easily have lost that too.

    The thing is that putting men up is all PR, so losing those men is worse than not bothering in the first place.

    Once the US landed men on the moon there was no point repeating the feat... even the Americans got bored with it after a dozen or more landings.

    Lots of people still think it never happened anyway... and to those who think they are weird... if the US government or governments in general didn't lie so often then perhaps they might be more readily believed.

    Given time there is no reason why the N1 couldn't have gone to the moon and back... not 100% safe, but even the nazi rocket von brown built wasn't 100% safe for the US.

    Can't believe I haven't posted this already...

    Didn't you know the ISS is MIR II?

    After all that investment they are hardly going to throw it all away just because the US doesn't want to continue to fund it.
    True, and the only reason I say that Russia "lost" the Moon Race is becuase it doesn't piss off western trolls... - Not kidding, I've been in  some heated debates on who really won the Space Race, and we all know who did! Very Happy

    That is also true, the whole "putting man on the Moon" act was a PR stunt that tried to rally the Americans... - It did!

    There was no real point in even sending men up there... Moon "dirt" could have easily been returned by rover (it was eventually) without putting lives in danger... 

    I say they actually happened, but to each his own...

    Of course not, but the reason the N1 failed (quite literally) was a lack of quality control. - That is where Korolev would have helped, as he was very strict when it came to that.

    Don't doubt me GarryB, of *course* I know the ISS is Mir 2 and as such, is mostly Russian.

    I don't get it myself, seems like a massive waste of both time and progress, while also slowing down the OPSEK project!

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:05 pm

    New article on Soyuz from RSW!

    How Soyuz rides into orbit

    For almost half a century, manned Soyuz spacecraft rides into orbit on top of its namesake rocket. Over the decades, the spacecraft and its launch vehicle went through several upgrades, however the launch profile had not changed much. Spent stages of the rocket and other components fall into several designated areas in Kazakhstan and in Russia minutes after their separation. The spacecraft reaches orbit less than nine minutes after the liftoff, however in case of emergency, the capsule with the crew could land as far 5,000 kilometers downrange or even splash down into the Pacific Ocean. As a result, an armada of search and rescue aircraft is deployed at airfields along the ascent trajectory all the way to Vladivostok in the Russian Far East and at least one ship is on stand by in the Sea of Japan. A total of nine fixed-wing aircraft, 16 helicopters are supporting the launch.

    Critical milestones in the Soyuz launch (as of 2014):
    Milestone
    Elapsed time
    Liftoff
    0.00
    Emergency escape rocket, SAS, jettison
    114.16 seconds
    Stage I separation
    117.80 seconds
    Payload fairing separation
    157.48 seconds
    Stage II separation
    287.30 seconds
    Separation of Stage III tail section
    297.05 seconds
    Stage III main engine cutoff
    524.96 seconds
    Stage III - spacecraft separation
    528.26 seconds

    Search and rescue bases and their assets during manned Soyuz launches:
    -
    Search and rescue bases
    Military assets on standby
    Civilian assets on standby
    0Baikonur (Krainy airfield)Two Mil-8 helicopters, one Antonov-12, one Antonov-24 aircraft-
    1Dzhezkazgan--
    2Arkalyk--
    3Kustanai--
    4KaragandaTwo Mil-8 helicopters-
    5Semipalatinsk--
    6Gorno-Altaisk2 Mil-8One Antonov-2 aircraft
    7Novosibirsk--
    8KyzylOne Antonov-26 aircraftOne Mil-8 helicopter
    9Kyren--
    10Irkutsk-One Mil-8 helicopter
    11Dzhida--
    12Bada--
    13Chita--
    14Khabarovsk-One Mil-8 helicopter, one Antonov-26 aircraft
    15Sovetskaya Gavan--
    16Kamenny RucheiTwo Tupolev-142 aircraftTwo Tupolev-142 aircraft
    17Chernigovka--
    18Vladivostok-One Mil-8 helicopter
    19Sea of Japan"Antarktida" vessel-
    Like all other rockets in the Soyuz family, launch vehicles carrying manned Soyuz spacecraft blast off with four strop-on boosters of the first stage and a core booster of the second stage igniting simultaneously on the ground. Following a vertical liftoff from Site 1 or Site 31 in Baikonur, the Soyuz rocket heads east to enter an initial orbit with an inclination 51.6 degrees toward the Equator. According to one version of the flight profile, the emergency launch escape system would be jettisoned first (114-115 seconds in flight) to maximize the payload carried during the mission. Alternatively, the escape rocket could be jettisoned after the separation of the first stage. From that point on and practically until the end of the powered flight, the emergency return to Earth can be accomplished with existing propulsion systems.
    The four boosters of the first stage separate slightly less than two minutes in flight (T+118-119 seconds) at an altitude of 42-45 kilometers. They then crash 350 kilometers from the launch site.
    The payload fairing then splits into two halves and separates two minutes, 40 seconds in flight at an altitude of 85 kilometers. Its fragments fall around 500 kilometers downrange, along with the launch escape rocket.
    The second stage separates slightly less than five minutes after the liftoff at an altitude of 168-169 kilometers. Around 10 seconds later, a connecting ring, which serves as an interface between the second and third stages, splits into three sections and separates from the third stage.
    The third stage inserts Soyuz into orbit at an altitude of 205 or 208 kilometers and at a distance of 1,640 kilometers from the launch pad. As soon as Soyuz flies free, a valve onboard the third stage opens venting pressurized gas in the direction of the flight and pushing it away from the spacecraft.
    Upon reaching the orbit, the Soyuz deploys a pair of solar panels, radio-communications and rendezvous antennas as well as sensors. Also, the docking probe in the nose of the spacecraft is extended into the operational position.
    In the meantime, inside the ship, crew members can unbuckle their seatbelts and after leak checks open hatch from the descent module into the habitation module and use the toilet. By all accounts, it happens many hours after the last time cosmonauts had access to such conveniences on the ground. Yet, for many years Russian cosmonauts would not adopt diapers -- an integral part of the US astronaut outfits onboard the Shuttle.

    Tests in orbit
    Normally, during the second orbit around the Earth, the crew and the control center in Korolev, near Moscow, test crucial systems onboard the spacecraft, including, two-way communication links with the ground, the flight control system, the radio-controlled rendezvous system and TV-transmitters.

    Rendezvous profile
    Since the beginning of the 1970s, the primary function of the Soyuz spacecraft has been the delivery of the crews to the orbiting space stations, for which developers adopted a two-day flight profile. The rendezvous maneuvers would be initiated on the first day of the flight and continued on the second day.
    An automated rendezvous system is designed to bring the Soyuz all the way to the station, including physical docking of the vehicles. During every stage of the rendezvous, crew has ability to monitor the progress of the flight and conduct docking under manual control, if necessary.
    At the distance of 150 meters from its destination (plus/minus 50 meters), as the the Soyuz normally orbits within the range of the Russian ground control network, the spacecraft enters station-keeping position. As two spacecraft fly in formation, the mission control monitors telemetry data and TV pictures to give a "go" to final rendezvous and docking.
    (More to come!)


    http://www.russianspaceweb.com/soyuz_launch.html

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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Vann7 on Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:19 am



    latest Soyuz with the women cosomonauts.. cool video.


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    Re: Russian Launch Vehicles and their Spacecraft: Thoughts & News

    Post  Mike E on Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:59 am

    Thanks for posting the video Vann7, for some reason I couldn't find it...

    On a side note, thank you all for posting on this thread, I appreciate it!

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