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Author Topic: Saturn/NERVA Stages - Discussion Thread  (Read 12895 times)
Graham2001
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« on: September 03, 2008, 11:10:32 PM »

After some thought I've updated the 'Future Expansion' entry for the Saturn/NERVA stages to include the estimated thrust & payloads (c.1961) for the prototype and production versions.

I've also gone back to the NTRS to see if anything new had been added since I last looked for that sort of thing, but it looks like nothing else has gone on-line. This is somewhat frustrating because it looks like the stage design was changed once they chose to go with a Saturn V launch vehicle.

In the original document (See reference Nš1 below) the prototype & production versions are approximately the same diameter as the S-IVb with a thrust of between 54,500 & 80,900lb. In a later (1963) document the stage is now about the diameter of a S-Ic stage and produces 75,000lb if thrust, however only an aerodynamic report is available for this (to date) (See reference Nš2 below).

I have therefore decided to start this discussion/planning thread into which we can discuss just how to model these stages and place any related documentation as it becomes available.

I leave the floor open for comment.

References.

1. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19740074802_1974074802.pdf (RIFT Programme Vol 1. Summary, Martin)

2. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19640014103_1964014103.pdf (Rift Systems Analysis. Volume 3- Aerodynamics Report)

Edit:Corrected mistake with Lockheed version of the S-N stage, 176,000lb was weight of fuel. Thrust was going to be around 75,000lb.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2008, 06:36:36 PM by Graham2001 » Logged
movieman
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 09:39:25 AM »

Looks pretty interesting; I should really try to find some time to get back to adding the arbitrary stage combination code this winter.
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Tschachim
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2008, 04:42:28 PM »

I should really try to find some time to get back to adding the arbitrary stage combination code this winter.

If this is possible, it would be cool indeed!  Happy
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Graham2001
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 07:21:09 PM »

Not sure just how useful this will be, but I've located some of the lecture documents from a 1963 NASA course on Nuclear Propulsion. The material (which I've only partly looked through) covers powerplants for both spacecraft and aircraft.

The four documents online that seemed most relevant are linked below.

1. Introduction to Nuclear Propulsion - Introduction And Background Lecture 1, Feb. 26-28, 1963 (43mb)

2. Introduction to Nuclear Propulsion. Lecture 14 - Reactor Control Applicable to Nuclear Space Craft, April 16-18, 1963 (4.4mb)

3. Introduction to Nuclear Propulsion. Lecture 21 - Nuclear Rocket System, Part A (2mb)

4. Introduction to Nuclear Propulsion. Lecture 21 - Nuclear Rocket System, Part B (2.9mb)
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 07:22:41 PM by Graham2001 » Logged
Graham2001
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2008, 10:28:14 PM »

Two more RIFT program documents went up on the NTRS with the latest upload.

1. RIFT Systems Study Final Report, 1961

2. RIFT Monthly Technical Progress Report, April 1963.

First document is a Douglas proposal covering how they would handle the RIFT program, including proposals for transport of the stage, trajectories for the launch tests and the changes that would be made at LC-34 to handle the new stage. Conclusions are broadly the same as the report by Martin I linked to in the OP. Main difference is that Douglas planned only one version of the S-N stage which would have been for the Saturn I and Saturn II launchers.

The second document is a Lockheed progress report covering the Saturn V version of the program. Lots of useful information on what they were actually working on at that point.

I've attached a few captured pages from this one as they give useful information on vehicle dimensions.


* S-Vn Variants01.png (54.12 KB, 797x573 - viewed 504 times.)

* S-Vn Variants02.png (47.72 KB, 781x591 - viewed 519 times.)

* S-Vn VAB.png (68.78 KB, 797x632 - viewed 485 times.)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2008, 10:35:58 PM by Graham2001 » Logged
Graham2001
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2008, 01:23:07 AM »

Found a set of NERVA engine specifications/plans in the latest NTRS upload, might go looking later to see if I can run down any more, will be useful for this to have several engine designs available.

It is for a pair of Aerojet designs from 1962. Thrust levels are given as 55,800 lb (Vacuum) for the first design (AJ31-6 Shielded Nuclear Rocket Engine) and 55,544lb (Vacuum) for the second (AJ30-5 Shielded Nuclear Rocket Engine).

See:Volume II - NERVA Engine System: Appendix - Specifications(9mb)
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Graham2001
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2008, 08:41:13 AM »

Adding some more recent documents covering the program. These are both from the 1990's when some thought was given to reviving the NERVA program.

The first document is probably the most useful. It indicates that three thrust levels were considered for NERVA engines 55,000lb, 75,000lb & 210,000lb. (The last one is the thrust level for the NERVA engine Stephen Baxter has explode in 'Voyage'.)

The second document has on page 13 a list of all models of NERVA reactors and thrust levels in kiloNewtons .

1. Nuclear-Thermal Workshop Reference System ROVER/NERVA

2. ROVER/NERVA Derived Near-Term Nuclear Propulsion, FY-92 Final Review
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movieman
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2008, 11:09:22 AM »

There's a lot of interesting stuff in those documents: like the 'pulsing' of the engine after it's shut down as they have to feed fuel in to cool it when the temperature gets too high, and the fact that you'd get a lethal dose of radiation in about two seconds if you're ten feet away while it's operating Happy.
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Graham2001
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2008, 06:50:45 PM »

There's a lot of interesting stuff in those documents: like the 'pulsing' of the engine after it's shut down as they have to feed fuel in to cool it when the temperature gets too high, and the fact that you'd get a lethal dose of radiation in about two seconds if you're ten feet away while it's operating Happy.


NASA knew exactly what they were playing with, I have not seen anything about using them to lift a payload directly off the earths surface. Ignition would have either been as with the S-IVb, sub-
orbital or from a parking orbit in a band of between 100-300 (190-560km) nautical miles up.

The only ground running permitted would have been at the manufacturing facility which was (from memory) going to be at the testing facility (Area 400) inside the Nevada Test Site.

The attached picture is from the 1963, RIFT Monthly Technical Progress Report, April. It shows the location and estimated weight of sheilding needed for manned use.

Finally I've found what I think are the plans for the 75,000lb version of NERVA. The file is large (252mb) so the scans should be of good quality.

1. NERVA 75K flight engine. Engine assembly layout (252mb)


* Apollo-N.png (38.92 KB, 752x582 - viewed 551 times.)
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movieman
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2008, 10:39:42 PM »

BTW, one of the documents mentioned a movie about the project, something like 'Five Thousand Obstacles'; I did a quick Google search but it didn't find anything.
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Graham2001
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2008, 11:55:20 PM »

BTW, one of the documents mentioned a movie about the project, something like 'Five Thousand Obstacles'; I did a quick Google search but it didn't find anything.


I think that was concerned with the difficulties of transporting the stages/engines from the point of manufacture to Canaveral where they would be joined. Actually simulating that part of it might be fun for a later project. They considered all sorts of ways of moving the components around. Planes, Trains & Automobiles...see below.


* C133.png (615.93 KB, 891x630 - viewed 444 times.)
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Graham2001
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2008, 08:33:30 PM »

I've found what may be the most interesting document yet. It's a simulated comparison between NERVA I (75,000lb thrust) and 'advanced' chemical stages.

Aside from confirming that these 'hot rods' are greatly overpowered for Earth Orbit/Translunar work, it reveals the true reason these birds never flew, they had nowhere to go once the Mars/Venus mission work was cancelled.

Also has some interesting references which I'll try and run down, covering the 'big' NERVA II (250,000 lb thrust) engine.

See: Comparison of Chemical and Nuclear Propulsion for Earth Orbital Maneuvering and Translunar Injection Stages, 1968(2.3 mb)
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Graham2001
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 10:17:39 AM »

Another RIFT related document has gone up on the NTRS.  It covers the Lockheed version of the S-N stage. The contents are the planned set of instrumentation to measure stage performance, the electrical power system and the communications system for the stage. No information on guidance though.

See: RIFT S-N stage inertial systems preliminary conceptual design report(8.4mb)

Note:A rescanned version of this document is now available from the NTRS.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 08:00:12 PM by Graham2001 » Logged
Graham2001
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2008, 07:13:53 PM »

Something for any interested programmers. 1963 documentation on a NERVA simulation program. Have not read this yet. But at 238mb for 257 pages whatever is in there has probably been well scanned. Hopefully there are program listings inside.

See:     Generation 2 NERVA engine simulator (238mb)
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Graham2001
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2009, 08:03:07 PM »

The latest NTRS Update (29/01/09) has several NERVA documents, both from the 1960's & 1970's. It looks like a mixture of rescanned documents and new releases.

I'm going to be downloading them to check out the contents, more news to follow.

Edit:Turned out to be rescanned copies of exisiting documents. Did find a couple of documents dealing with Nuclear Rocket reactors though:

1. Reactivity changes during startup in large nuclear rockets (4.9mb)

2. Parametric study of peripheral control effectiveness on large core rocket reactors(2mb)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 11:17:52 AM by Graham2001 » Logged
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