Aerojet Extends ICBM Rocket Propulsion Research
Among the contracts awarded to GenCorp subsidiary Aerojet and aimed at improving existing rocket systems and/or developing new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System (ICBM) technologies, you will find:
- A $48 million contract aimed at using SR19 motors as Stage 1 motors; they are currently used as Stage 2 motors in the Minuteman ICBMs, and also used as boosters for ABM defensive missiles like the THAAD, whose Aerojet-designed boost motor was recently tested.
- A $5 million modification aimed to develop turbopumps under the USET program. Success would allow 100% of that stage’s fuel to be used for thrust (FA9300-04-C-0008, P00012).
- A contract with no published amount aimed at developing new solid rocket motor technologies. Solid rocket motors are difficult to produce and have other disadvantages as well, but they are much more stable (i.e. much less dangerous) than liquid motor technologies.
This kind on ongoing expertise development may prove useful for this latest contract:
Aerojet-General Corp. in Sacramento, CA received a $19.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide for research and development to demonstrate affordable technologies in a strategic upper-stage configuration applicable to a two or three stage Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) System. The effort consists of conducting detailed design reviews of the motor to be fabricated, fabricate motor, develop test plan, test fire motor, and collect and report results. This work will be complete 42 months after option exercise.
The Headquarters 526th ICBM Systems Wing at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (FA8204-05-C-0016).
Finally, it should be noted that all military systems have given lifespans, just like any other mechanical device. Development of new technologies can be used to create new missiles, or to keep older missiles in working order by replacing their motors as required with better and safer motors, or in other military or non-military rocket projects of course.
- Rocket and Space Technology – Rocket Propellants. Includes information on various chemicals etc. used, and even propellant types associated with some well-known US rockets.
- Wikipedia – Rocket Fuel. Excellent article that covers the advantages and disadvantages of solid vs. liquid fueled rockets, and some of the key technical formulas etc. associated with them.