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34 votes
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Why do the walls of a solid rocket booster not glow red hot?

Solid fuel does not burn unless it has been vaporized by heat from combustion. The boundary between solid and gaseous fuel is located at the point where the temperature equals the fuel vaporization ...
Woody's user avatar
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32 votes
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How were the Space Shuttle SRBs ignited? (with what?)

SRB Ignition SRB ignition can occur only when a manual lock pin from each SRB safe and arm device has been removed. The ground crew removes the pin during prelaunch activities. At T minus ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
30 votes

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

The shuttle stack broke up at ~73 seconds after launch of STS-51L. The Solid Rocket Boosters separated from the other elements and continued flying in a more or less stable manner (surprisingly). ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
26 votes

Why do the walls of a solid rocket booster not glow red hot?

Simply - even a very thin layer of fuel is enough to isolate the heat. So only in the very last seconds will there be not enough fuel to isolate the heat flux. Then there is a liner between the fuel ...
tsg's user avatar
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23 votes
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Could one actually make a grain silo rocket?

Since the term "grain" is already in use in the solid rocket context, I'm favoring the term "cereal". Cereals contain about 66–76% carbohydrates -- mostly starch (55–70%) plus some ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
22 votes

Why are there so few solid rocket satellite launchers?

Solid rockets have advantages, but also drawbacks: they have low Isp. Especially on upper stages, this means the stage has to be large. they generate more vibration than a liquid stage. they're ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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21 votes
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Do launchers using only solid propellant exist?

The NASA Spaceflight article Japanese sounding rocket claims record-breaking orbital launch describes JAXA's use of its SS-520-4 sounding rocket to put the Tricom-1R cubesat (43201, 2018-016A) into ...
uhoh's user avatar
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21 votes
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What is the difference between the solid fuel Boosters of the Shuttle and Artemis?

(This answer assumes the the SLS SRBs are the same as the Five-Segment Boosters (FSBs) studied for a shuttle upgrade...I believe they are, but have not seen this explicitly stated). The thrust time ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
20 votes

Has there ever been a completely solid fuelled orbital rocket?

There have been a few purely solid-fuel orbital rockets over the years. The first was the Scout from 1961; the only ones in current use are the Long March 11 and the Minotaur/Minotaur-C family. ...
Mark's user avatar
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18 votes

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

Offered as a supplement to the other answers, here are some data about SRBs thrust profiles and operation. Thrust of a SRB is function of the area of the solid fuel burning, as shown below: You can ...
le_daim's user avatar
  • 2,060
18 votes
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How does a solid propellant in a rocket work?

The solid propellant is stored in the engine, so it doesn't have to be moved. The engine consists of a large cylinder that contains the propellant (indicated as 'grain' in the image, but it's a ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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16 votes

Why doesn't Rocket Lab use a solid stage?

The Rutherford engines produce much less vibration than SRB's. This is actually a major selling point for Rocket Lab, as pointed out by Peter Beck here after 31:03: ...
Everyday Astronaut's user avatar
15 votes

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

The reason is refurbishment cost and turnaround: For a liquid booster, you can more or less pump more fuel and you are ready to go. With a SRB, it isn't so easy: You need to dismantle everything, ...
Antzi's user avatar
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14 votes
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What solid fuel was used in the Katyushas rocket artillery of WW2?

From Russian wiki on RS-82: RS-82 and RS-132 are unguided air-to-air, air-to-ground rockets developed during 1929-1937. Further developed into М-8, М-13 "Katyusha" rockets. It seems the final ...
Flanker's user avatar
  • 256
14 votes

Do launchers using only solid propellant exist?

Orbital Sciences likes solid rockets. They've produced the Taurus/Minotaur all-solid booster. And, in its three-stage configuration the Pegasus is all-solid. Ignoring that kerosene-fueled launch ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
13 votes
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Why was the Minotaur V built as a 5-stage design?

It's always easier to create a new launcher by making a small modification to a reliable existing launcher. Small solid rocket stages are relatively simple and reliable, so building up a launcher from ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
13 votes

Do launchers using only solid propellant exist?

In addition to SS-520-4, I would also point to Chinese CZ-11 rocket, Israeli Shavit and many others
Pavel Bernshtam's user avatar
13 votes
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Does this Soyuz vehicle burn coal or oil? What is its official name?

This is a diesel-electric locomotive TEM-2. The more powerful modification of TEM-1 diesel locomotives. In turn, TEM-1 locomotive is developed on the basis of TE-1 locomotives. The TE-1 is soviet ...
A. Rumlin's user avatar
  • 7,863
13 votes

How is solid rocket fuel sourced?

Partial answer: the ammonium perchlorate is manufactured in the western United States. The two perchlorate manufacturing facilities located in Henderson, the Kerr-McGee and the PEPCON plants, ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
13 votes
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Could HIBEX propellant be used for amateur rockets?

According to Wikipedia, HIBEX employed a star-grain "composite modified double-base propellant", known as FDN-80, created from the mixing of ammonium perchlorate, aluminum, and double-base ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
12 votes
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How does an Electric Solid Propellant rocket work?

Basing on two papers I had managed to find: Electrical Solid Propellants: A Safe, Micro to Macro Propulsion Technology and Plasma Plume Characterization of Electric Solid Propellant Pulsed ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
12 votes

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

There are a few reasons that re-usable solid rocket boosters are not being built. The biggest reason is that people don't want solid rockets in the first place. Solid rockets can be stored loaded long ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 20.3k
12 votes

Why doesn't Rocket Lab use a solid stage?

Solid Rocket Motors are inexpensive to manufacture if you have the knowledge and experience already. For space use they are commonly made by weapons makers, sharing many production assets with weapon ...
Saiboogu's user avatar
  • 6,417
11 votes

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

Underneath the diagrams in the Wikipedia article you link, there's a mention of the BATES grain geometry: Circular bore: if in BATES configuration, produces progressive-regressive thrust curve ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
11 votes
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What is the correct thrust curve for a solid rocket with a simple circular hole, and why?

Hill and Peterson "Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Propulsion", third printing, November 1970, page 385, has a diagram that agrees with your intuition. (sorry for poor scan quality) You are ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
11 votes

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

Increasing Propellant Mean Bulk Temperature (PMBT) increases the burn rate which increases the thrust and causes the motor to burn out sooner. The opposite is true for decreasing PMBT. This graph ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
11 votes

Has there ever been a completely solid fuelled orbital rocket?

The SS-520 is a solid fuel rocket and is described in detail in my answer to Do launchers using only solid propellant exist? SS-520-5 has put the Tricom cubesat into orbit, therefore it also qualifies ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
10 votes

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

The Soyuz descent module has SRMs that are fired just before touchdown. Does that count?
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
10 votes
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Are more details about the fatal rocket motor accident at Cape Canaveral in April 1964 available?

According to this site, the rocket in question was an Vanguard X-248 rocket motor. I have then dug up an contemporary news article, published in the Monroe News Star on Tuesday, April 14th, 1964 on ...
Polygnome's user avatar
  • 6,956

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