Questions tagged [solid-fuel]

Questions about solid fuels. The rockets that use them, the fuels that are burned, and the vendors that make them.

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35
votes
4answers
11k views

Why is there a hole in solid rocket engines?

I would like to find out why there is a straight hole down the middle in all solid rocket engine motors. I thought it only makes sense in hybrid engines where pure oxygen needs to be blown down the ...
21
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3answers
6k views

Could 3D printing be used to achieve perfect grain geometry of solid and hybrid rocket motors?

Solid cores, either for solid-fueled of hybrid rocket motors, use various propellant grain geometries to achieve thrust curve needed. For example, some of these could look like:    &...
20
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1answer
2k views

Why were Delta II SRBs asymmetrically mounted?

This diagram of the Delta II 74xx-series shows 4 booster rockets mounted rather asymmetrically. All other things being equal, it looks like the net thrust of the set would push the rocket off-axis. ...
18
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2answers
5k views

Do the solid rocket boosters of the Shuttle and SLS have a self-destruct system and was it activated during the Challenger disaster?

Videos of the Challenger shuttle explosion show both solid boosters speeding on after the main tank detonated. Were they eventually self-destructed by the ground control, or why not, and why not ...
18
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1answer
5k views

How were the Space Shuttle SRBs ignited? (with what?)

I'm unable to find how exactly the Space Shuttle's SRBs were ignited, or what exactly was used to ignite the rocket. I'm trying to figure out the best way to instantly ignite a solid rocket reliably,...
17
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4answers
3k views

For a typical Shuttle mission, how much solid fuel is leftover at SRB separation?

If I understand correctly, solid booster rockets never expend literally all their fuel before jetissoning, because the burn rate slows way down in the end and it would take too long to spend it all, ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Why did the Vanguard rocket use a solid engine for its third stage?

The Vanguard rocket had three stages. The first two were liquid-fueled and the third was solid-fueled. That struck me as odd, as solid fuel engines are almost exclusively used in atmosphere, and you'd ...
16
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5answers
3k views

Can a solid first stage compete with a liquid fueled first stage?

The thing about solids is that they can have awe inspiring amounts of thrust compared to liquid engines, as you can see in this collection of boosters and thrust levels: Shuttle SRB - 2.8 Mlbs Ariane ...
16
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1answer
493 views

How far have autophage rockets been developed?

Ars Technica reports on a May 24 phys.org press release/precis on a University of Glasgow paper in Journal of Spacecraft of Rockets about a solid rocket intended to consume itself during use rather ...
14
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4answers
3k views

Do launchers using only solid propellant exist?

The question is restricted to launchers that have already been used to launch an object into orbit before today (April 2018). Some military ballistic missiles run only on solid propergol (e.g. the ...
14
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2answers
1k views

Could one actually make a grain silo rocket?

Watching the recent SpaceX Starship tests got me to thinking: Could you actually make a rocket using grain as the propellant? Image from https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-starship-sn5-second-hop-plans/...
14
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1answer
2k views

What solid fuel was used in the Katyushas rocket artillery of WW2?

The Katyushas were invented by the Soviets and used in WW2. They were trucks with rails firing a bunch of small rockets with a range of 3 to 12 km. These were solid-fuel rockets, but I would like to ...
13
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3answers
843 views

Why are there so few solid rocket satellite launchers?

At first glance, solid rocket launching makes more sense than liquid: Simple to scale. Once designed, it can be made perfectly the same, all the time. Storage - Keep for as long as you want, launch ...
13
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1answer
2k views

How does a solid propellant in a rocket work?

I'm a bit confused about how the fuel manages to get from wherever its being stored in a spacecraft into the engines, seeing as it is supposedly solid and so seems like it wouldn't be easy to move. ...
13
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3answers
3k views

Why weren't SRBs used in the design of the Saturn V?

Were solids considered for the Saturn V? If so, why was the idea discarded? I would guess this is due to a number of reasons: Inability to throttle Technology readiness in the era Launch escape
12
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5answers
2k views

Has there ever been a completely solid fuelled orbital rocket? [duplicate]

Engines and fuel management are very expensive to develop, and for smaller launch providers and space agencies this could prevent them from entering the market. My question is, would the cost savings ...
11
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5answers
2k views

What limits burning speed of solid propellant?

SRBs and missiles use grain to regulate thrust over time, as only exposed surface of the propellant burns. But what causes propellant to burn only on the surface, and regulates the speed at which the ...
11
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2answers
527 views

What kind of missions are US surplus ICBM's capable of launching?

It has been proposed that the US military should repurpose suborbital, nuclear weapons carrying, intercontinental ballistic missiles for civil use, like Russia and Ukraine has done since decades. How ...
10
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2answers
480 views

Why aren't airbreathing SRBs a thing?

To the best of my knowledge, all solid rocket boosters so far use a propellant that is a solid mixture of both the fuel and the oxidiser parts of the reaction. However, given that SRBs are generally ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

How does an Electric Solid Propellant rocket work?

I saw the section in Wikipedia about Electric Solid propellants but I can't figure out what it really is, and how it works. It sounds like a solid propellant rocket that you can start and stop ...
10
votes
1answer
389 views

Why were large solid-fuel rockets so rare in the past?

When the Germans projected the A4 missile, they discarded solid-fuel propulsion and went on to circumvent the enormous technical difficulties of building a liquid-fuel engine from scratch. Germany had,...
10
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1answer
829 views

What ever happened to SpinSat - did it work?

I can find several descriptions of what the SpinSat satellite was supposed to do. I can find some nice images of it being deployed from the ISS also. But I haven't been so successful in understanding ...
10
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2answers
454 views

Can a crew access room (white room) be contaminated by rocket propellant residues during launch?

Observing a Space Shuttle launch, I noticed that the crew access gantry and its white room are too close to the SRB's flames during launch; the launch umbilical tower and its crew access device on ...
9
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3answers
982 views

Why doesn't Rocket Lab use a solid stage?

I was just reading about the Scout, an all-solid rocket, and thought of Rocket Lab's Electron, which seems to have a similar mission of deploying small payloads to orbit. I understand the engines to ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Are ICBMs and orbital launchers similar enough to be co-developed today?

Russia has two types of hypergolic liquid fuel ICBMs deployed, UR-100N and R-36M2 Vojewoda and they are working on the big Sarmat. There's in this category also the Chinese DF-A5. (A list of ICBMs ...
8
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2answers
2k views

What is the correct thrust curve for a solid rocket with a simple circular hole, and why?

Going to wikipedia's article on solid-fuel rockets, I come across some graphs of thrust curves for certain bore-hole geometry. Right now I'm interested in the simplest bore-hole: a circular hole right ...
8
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2answers
338 views

Are more details about the fatal rocket motor accident at Cape Canaveral in April 1964 available?

The 1966 book The Life and Death of a Satellite by Alfred Bester contains an account of a accidental ignition of a third-stage solid rocket motor in a Delta rocket spin test facility at the Cape which ...
8
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1answer
2k views

How is solid rocket fuel sourced?

I know that Orbital ATK builds solid rocket boosters, but where do they get the bulk material from? Is there a single supplier or multiple suppliers of solid rocket fuel or do motor manufacturers ...
8
votes
1answer
543 views

How do you handle variations in launches with a solid second stage?

Watching the Antares launch for Orb-1 mission of Cygnus, I was thinking about the booster. First stage is built in Ukraine by the company that makes the Zenit. They use the NK-33 engine, (Called an ...
8
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3answers
409 views

Burn 1st stage structural material as fuel?

Aluminum/Magnesium alloys can burn quite nicely. The stoichiometry is favoriable. Instead of $CO_2$ which is mostly oxidizer by mass, you might end up with $Al_2O_3$ and $MgO$ as exhaust. The ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Why isn't someone building a fully reusable solid fuel rocket?

Solid rocket motors are so much simpler than liquid fueled. Why isn't e.g. SpaceX making a Falcon 9 equivalent with solid fuel only, and rescuing the segment cases with parachutes like the shuttle ...
7
votes
1answer
298 views

Why was the Minotaur V built as a 5-stage design?

Why is Orbital Science's Minotaur V rocket a five stage design? I am aware this is derived from an ICBM design, but why would anyone want a five stage design for launching non-lethal payloads? It ...
7
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1answer
281 views

Does the Oberth effect motivate complementing ion electric propulsion with chemical rocketry?

The solar electric ion propulsion engine of the Dawn spacecraft to Vesta and Ceres used Mars for gravity assist. Would it be gainful to complement an ion engine with a high thrust (solid) chemical ...
7
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1answer
824 views

Ways to obtain thrust curves of different grain geometries

Different grain geometries in solid-fuel rockets produce various thrust curves: I can imagine it's not too difficult to obtain a thrust curve of a specific grain geometry with a measurement while ...
6
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2answers
787 views

Could HIBEX propellant be used for amateur rockets?

The HIBEX rocket was a precursor to the Sprint missile system deployed briefly back in the 1970s. The rocket was only 18 feet long but had extraordinary performance(an acceleration of 100 G's!). But I ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Is it unusual to vector the thrust from an SRB?

Let me explain. The term SRB (Solid (fuel) Rocket Booster) usually refers to a solid (fuel) rocket which is attached to something else in order to "boost" it. But I just read this answer by @...
6
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1answer
742 views

What does “supersonic large amplitude ID maneuver PTI” mean, and what does a tumble motor do?

In this question I linked to a YouTube video of the Ares X-1 launch. You can start listening at 02:00 for the point where these are mentioned: "Supersonic large ...
6
votes
1answer
694 views

What was the first large rocket to use APCP solid fuel?

I'm surprised wikipedia doesn't have a history section for its APCP article. If I'm not mistaken, early solid rockets used something other than APCP, and really really early solid rockets used black ...
6
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1answer
340 views

Which rockets use(d) solid-fuel upper stages?

The Antares is unusual in that it's using solid-fuel in the second stage. I was surprised about that and a couple of questions immediately popped up which are already covered on this site: How can a ...
6
votes
1answer
706 views

How will the SRBs used by the SLS differ from those used by the Shuttle?

The Space Launch System, which recently secured funding from Congress, uses many features that were developed from the Shuttle program, including the first-stage engines and boosters, and it's overall ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Why did Virgin Galactic switch back to HTPB after one launch using thermoplastic polyamide (i.e. nylon)?

A subsection of Second-generation engine in Wikipedia's article on RocketMotorTwo says: New fuel formulation Rather than use rubber-based HTPB in the solid portion of the hybrid rocket motor—which ...
6
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0answers
134 views

Could the SS520 be used to return a payload from Mars to Earth?

The Japanese SS520-5 nanosat launcher has a payload of 5kg or so to LEO on an all solid fuel rocket with a total mass of about 2.6 tons. To reach LEO its delta-V totalled over all three stages must be ...
6
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0answers
306 views

How do HMX-fuelled rockets launch without exploding?

Unlike most civilian solid-fuel rockets, which use ammonium perchlorate/aluminium fuels with a rubber binder (known in the industry as ammonium perchlorate composite propellant, or APCP for short), ...
5
votes
6answers
804 views

Can solid rockets be used for flexible burn time by jettisoning them?

Solid rockets have some advantages such as high thrust (good for using the Oberth effect), storability and reliability. The main problem is that they fire all their fuel once in one set way. But ...
5
votes
2answers
421 views

Aerospike with solid fuel

I was scrolling in youtube and I saw this awesome video and I think, if we put an aerospike nozzle in a sounding rocket,or even a small orbital rocket, as a first stage solid booster, this type of ...
5
votes
1answer
368 views

What is the requirement of spacer rings in solid rocket motors in sounding rockets?

I saw this report SOLID ROCKET MOTOR DESIGN L-CLASS, here as shown in FIGURE-8, they have charged the motor with grain segments with spacer rings in between. Can`t we charge the motor without any ...
5
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0answers
94 views

How much would mass-production impact the cost of solid-fuel rockets?

Let's imagine that, for some arbitrary reason, solid-fuel rocket stages were needed and built en masse in factories, like planes or even like cars. How much would it drive down the cost of an ...
5
votes
0answers
182 views

How does solid propellant mean bulk temperature influence solid rocket thrust and specific impulse?

The relationship is not intuitively clear to me, would like an answer with references and/or graphs. The question arose while reading about Space Shuttle's SRBs.
4
votes
2answers
828 views

Have there been any spacecraft with internal SRM other than CONTOUR?

I read about the CONTOUR mission which used an internal solid rocket motor to change the trajectory. Have there been other spacecraft using a solid rocket motor which is not jettisoned after usage?
4
votes
1answer
177 views

Was there a history of segmented solid rockets prior to the Shuttle?

The Shuttle famously (perhaps infamously) had its solid rocket boosters built in segments, which were transported to KSC and then joined together. The SLS will similarly have segmented SRBs. Were ...