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ABSTRACT
Large Solid Propulsion has been used since
the beginning of space launch activities and is
currently used on numerous space launchers in
the world. Three main missions are identified :
stage one of heavy launchers, strap on
boosters for liquid core stage and propulsion
system for small launchers.
This paper reviews the current situation of
large solid propulsion for space launch
activities, giving an idea of what is this
business and emphasizes the main identified
interests of this type of propulsion. An
overview of the currently operational SRMs is
then presented giving some information on the
products themselves. Some main trends of
Solid Propulsion are finally underlined to give
a clear understanding of the technical
potentials of this propulsion mode.
1 INTRODUCTION
Solid rocket motors are widely used in space
launchers. An overview of current 'western
launchers' shows that :
- they are used as stage one of heavy
launchers like the SHUTTLE, TITAN,
H2 and ARIANE 5,
- they assist the core stage of the new
medium launchers such as the DELTA
4 or ATLAS 5 offering a wide range of
performances, following the examples
of ARIANE 4 and DELTA 2
- they lead to the best performance-to-
price ratio for numerous commercial
small launchers like PEGASUS,
ATHENA, M5 or the VEGA project
of ESA
For all these systems, solid rocket motors
easily deliver a large thrust level for a limited
motor volume. Various grain shape options
allow to design motors delivering a thrust law
shape highly adapted to launcher
requirements. Reproducible performances can
be obtained thanks to a deep knowledge of
materials behavior.
As they are static systems with a limited
number of components, the reliability of solid
rocket motor is very high. It is also generally
admitted that, even if costs are always two
high, the cost range of SRM is one of the most
attractive of large propulsion systems.
The first part of this paper is devoted to an
overview, during the last five years, of the
typical uses of solid rocket motors for space
launchers.
The second part is focused on solid rocket
motors themselves, their technical
characteristics and some production
information data.
The third part emphasizes some deep trends
on this business and presents a short summary
of the technical possibilities of this propulsion
mode.
2 THE "MARKET" OF LARGE
SOLID PROPULSION FOR SPACE
LAUNCH
2 1 RATIONALE FOR SOLID
PROPULSION
The interest of Solid Rocket Motors for Space
Launchers is supported by several fundamental
characteristics described here after.
high operability
The motor or the stage can be manufactured,
assembled and stored several months before
use. During take off procedure they do not
need any difficult or risky operations at launch
pad like for example tanks filling up. This
characteristic is reinforced by the trends to use
Electro-Mechanical Actuators (EMA) for
Thrust Vectoring and Control function (TVC)
avoiding some issues linked to high pressure
hydraulic systems. A SRM powered stage is in
39th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
20-23 July 2003, Huntsville, Alabama
AIAA 2003-4963
Copyright 2003 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.
2
fact very close to the PLUG and PLAY
concept.
For many years this high operability has
favored the selection of solid propulsion for
many deterrent force missile systems.
high reliability
Several basic technical principles and design
rules of SRM's are the basic sources of an high
reliability level. Following major points can be
underlined:
- no movable parts except the flex-seal
whose design is generally 'robust'
- rather simple mechanical loading case
with relevant acceptance tests ( case
proof test, flex-seal test)
- separation of thermal protection
function and mechanical function
except for the throat area
A general comparison with other rocket
propulsion modes is not easy to perform but it
is more or less recognized that SRM presents
an overall high reliability.
high density
The following table illustrates this natural
advantage of solid propellant versus other
chemical propellants.
PROPELLANT HTPB
SOLID
UDMH
N2O4
LOX
RP1
LOX
LH2
Density
1.80 1.15 1.05 0.35
Theoretical ISP
vacuum
310 s 340 s 360 s 460 s
Density x ISP
558 s 391 s 378 s 161 s
VOLUME RATIO
REF. X 1.5 X 1.5 X 3
Figure 1 : Propellant characteristics
The 'Massic' Specific Impulse of solid
propellant is the lowest but the 'Volumic'
Specific Impulse is the highest.
Compared to Solid Propellant a 'Storable'
UDMH/N2O4 or 'Semi-Storable' LOX/RP1
propellant will need 50 % more volume and a
cryogenic LOX/LH2 propulsion stage would
require at least 3 times this volume.
When large propellant mass are necessary, as
for a stage one mission, this parameter will
lead to a more or less large volume for the
stage and of course impact on the stage cost.
For example a large propellant tank will imply
a large and probably more expensive inter-
stage structure than a small propellant tank.
2 2 PAST 5 YEARS MARKET
REPORT
The table in annex 1 reports the market of
solid rocket motors for space launcher.
All the Space Launches relying on Large Solid
Rocket Motors of the last five years, 1998 to
2002, are 'tentatively' reported.
A mass criteria of 7.5 tons is taken as lower
limit of this analysis for large SRM definition.
For this market analysis two very simple
criteria are used :
- the number of solid rocket motors which
have flown
- the flown propellant mass that is probably
more representative of the cost parameter due
to the large range of motor mass from 10 tons
to 500 tons
OVERALL MASS AND MOTORS
An average number of 110 large solid rocket
motors are flown each year.
YEARLY FLOWN LARGE SRM's
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Figure 2
This number is decreasing since 5 years in
accordance with the shrinking launch rate.
3
But the percentage of launcher using SRM is
more or less stable at about 50 % as it is
illustrated in the following figure.
NUMBER OF SPACE LAUNCHES WITH
LARGE SRM's
0
20
40
60
80
100
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
TOTAL SPACE
LAUNCHES
FLIGHT WITH
LARGE SRM' s
Figure 3
The overall propellant flown mass is close to
8000 tons per year and relatively stable. A
large amount, close to 50 %, of this mass is
coming from the RSRM/SHUTTLE flights.
PROPELLANT FLOWN MASS IN TONS
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
10000
12000
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Figure 4
BUSI NESS LEADERS
The following table presents the situation of
the four primary 'leaders' in terms of flown
mass, the order of magnitude being in the
range of 1000 tons per year or more.
1998 / 2002 FLOWN MASS
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
RSRM SRMU MPS GEM's OTHERS
TONS OF PROPELLANT
Figure 5
The RSRM/SHUTTLE is the workhorse of
this business with more than 50 % of the
overall propellant mass flown by year.
A second rank of wide uses is coming from
the ARIANE 5/MPS and the TITAN/SRMU.
It is to be noticed that the SRMU activity will
soon decline with the TITAN launcher end of
life.
The last important activity is linked to the
GEM family cumulating the three products :
GEM 40, 46 and 60. Of course the number of
flown motors is much higher due to the strap
on concept of small motors.
1998 / 2002 - FLOWN MOTORS UNITS
48 20 24
271
196
0
100
200
300
RSRM SRMU MPS GEM's OTHERS
MOTOR NAME
Figure 6
SECOND LEVEL (OTHERS)
The two following tables gives an idea of the
market situation for a 'second level' of business
activity in space solid rocket motors. The
average flown mass for these motors is in the
range of 100 tons per year.
It is to be noticed that CSD 7S, CASTOR 4A
and PAP motors are right now out of the
market due to the stop of launcher programs :
TITAN 4A, ATLAS 2A and ARIANE 4.
1998 / 2002 FLOWN MOTORS
2
52
48
13
4
8
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
CSD 7S CAST.4A PAP CAST 120 PSLV SRBA
Figure 7
Castor 120 production remains small since the
beginning due to the astonished activity on
small launcher segment in the US.
4
SRBA market should grow up in the coming
year following the H2A launch rate.
1998 / 2002 FLOWN MASS (tons)
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
CSD 7S CAST.4A PAP CAST 120 PSLV SRBA
Figure 8
2 3 TYPICAL MISSIONS FOR SRM
Three typical uses of solid propulsion motors
can be identified from the current market
analysis.
First Stage
SHUTTLE - TITAN - ARIANE 5 - H2A
Strap-On
DELTA 2,3 and 4 and ATLAS 5
Small Launcher
ATHENA, TAURUS, PEGASUS and M5.
The PSLV launcher being somewhat quite un-
conventional, its motors are difficult to
classify. For the following chapters the
following classification is retained : S138 first
stage, PSOM strap on, S7 small launcher.
First Stage
The following table gives an idea of the
percentage of the thrust delivered at take off
by SRM's on heavy launchers.
LAUNCHER SHUTTLE TITAN
4B
ARIANE
5
H2A
S. R.M.
RSRM SRMU MPS SRBA
% OF TAKE
OFF THRUST
82 % 100 % 93 % 80 %
Figure 9
These SRM's should really be granted of the
first stage mission, avoiding the unfair 'stage 0'
wording.
The following technical advantages of SRM
can be underlined to illustrates the interests of
solid propulsion for such first stage missions :
- high thrust : Solid Rocket Motors easily
deliver the large thrust level required during
the first two minutes of heavy launchers flight.
There is a good fitting between the possible
propellant burn rate and the optimum thrust
duration of the first stage mission.
- adjustable thrust : the various grain shape
options allow to design motors with optimum
thrust law shape. The thrust limitation
necessary to cope with the maximum dynamic
pressure phase is obtained by the grain shape
itself with limited costs coming from casting
tooling.
As for numerous launchers the mission of the
first stage is more or less always the same due
to system constraints, there is no real
disadvantage to offer a fixed predetermined
thrust shape.
- reproducible thrust : a deep material
behavior knowledge and a raw material batch
policy allow to obtain a satisfactory thrust
shape reproducibility for the tandem design
commonly adopted on numerous heavy
launchers.
Strap-On
Several launcher architectures are based on a
central liquid core with additional Strap-On
boosters. It was the original design of the
retired Ariane 4 and the DELTA 2. It has been
retained for the DELTA 4 and the ATLAS 5.
The following table illustrates the main
advantage of these architecture. Large
performances increases can be obtained with
additional boosters on the core stage operating
at take off or just after.
For the here after comparison, the selected
launcher base versions are already equipped
with Strap-On in order to start from an
5
efficient vehicle. The simple version of these
launchers without Strap-On presents in fact
very poor take off thrust and the resulting
performances are limited.
The addition of two solid Strap-On gives an
extra performance ranging from 20 to 40 %. It
illustrates that the thrust level at take off is an
important driving parameter for performances.
Of course such additional motors will generate
extra costs but the overall performance to cost
ratio will be significantly improved.
LAUNCHER
ARIANE
4
DELTA 4 ATLAS
5
Basic version
42 L M+ (5,2) 521
GTO performance
% of increase
+21 % + 41 % + 27 %
Boosted version
Two more Strap-On
44 LP M+ (5,4) 541
Figure 10 : Impact of Strap-On
If the launcher system and the Strap-On
designs are highly compliant, it becomes
possible to adapt the launcher performance to
the payload requirement by adjusting the
number of strap on motors. Such a policy
allows of course to fine tune the launcher
configuration and to minimize the resulting
price.
Small Launchers
Commercial operational western small
launchers, PEGASUS - TAURUS - ATHENA
and M5, are fully based on Solid Rocket
Motor technology. The current European
VEGA program is also designed with three
solid propulsion stages.
A general 'performance to cost' rationale is
widely recognized to solid propulsion mode
for these missions.
From ballistic point of view SRM's appears
well adapted to the Low Earth Orbit trajectory
needs where high thrust level and short
burning time can be used efficiently.
A lot of Russian small launchers (KOSMOS,
ROCKOT) are in fact reconfigured military
missile and their available liquid propulsion
mode is to be considered more as commercial
opportunity than as definitely an absolute real
advantage.
3 S. R. M. "PRODUCTS" FOR
SPACE LAUNCHERS
Complying with the here-above analysis, three
large classes of motors are defined in this
chapter to present motors characteristics
(design, technology and performances) and
some production data :
- large motors for heavy launchers stage 1
- strap on motors for assisted take off
launchers
- motors for small launchers
Segmentation
The SRBA of the H2A that is currently the
largest monolithic motor with 65 tons of
propellant. The very large motors are
segmented in order to limit the size of
manufacturing means and the mass to be
handled by crane. The current maximum mass
per segment is close to 150 tons.
There is no theoretical limitations to this
parameter. The main drivers are the cost and
size of the segment casting pit and the motor
integration building.
For example an 800 tons motor was designed,
manufactured and ground tested by AEROJET
in the 60's in Florida in the frame of the 260
inch SRM program.
6
3 1 OVERVIEW OF LARGE MOTORS FOR HEAVY LAUNCHERS
The three following tables present a summary of large solid rocket motors currently used on
operational heavy launchers. The PSLV S138 has been added to this table although if the
GSLV/PSLV is not exactly an heavy launcher.
MOTOR
LAUNCHER
RSRM
SHUTTLE
SRMU
TITAN 4B
P230
ARIANE 5
SRB-A
H II A
S 138
PSLV
Diameter 3,7 m 3,2 m 3,0 m 2,5 m 2,8 m
Motor length 38 m 31 m 27 m 12 m 20 m
Propellant mass 503 t 314 t 240 t 65 t 138 t
Binder PBAN HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB
A.P. / Al. 70/16 69/19 68/18
68/18
-
Segment 4 3 3 1 5
MEOP pressure 70 b 86 b 69 b 118 b 59 b
Case material D6AC Carbon D6AC Carbon Maraging
Throat material Phenolic Phenolic C/C C/C Phenolic
Actuation Flex-seal
Hydraulic
Flex-seal
Hydraulic
Flex-seal
Hydraulic
Flex-seal
E.M.A..
Liquid
Injection
Motor Inert mass 68 t 29 t 29 t 6 t 18 t
Nozzle 7,5 16 11 18 8
Figure 11 : Large Motors for Heavy Launcher - Design and Technology Data
MOTOR
LAUNCHER
RSRM
SHUTTLE
SRMU
TITAN 4B
P230
ARIANE 5
SRB-A
H II A
S 138
PSLV
Propellant mass 503 t 314 t 240 t 65 t 138 t
Stage inert mass 88 t 36 t 36 t 11,5 t 30 t
Average thrust 11,8 MN 6,1 MN 5,0 MN 1,8 MN 3,6 MN
ISP vacuum 267 s 284 s 275 s 280 s 269 s
Burning time 123 s 135 s 128 s 100 s 103 s
Vectoring 5 6 5 5 3
Figure 12 : Large Motors for Heavy Launcher - Stage Propulsive Data
MOTOR
LAUNCHER
RSRM
SHUTTLE
SRMU
TITAN 4B
P230
ARIANE 5
SRB-A
H II A
S 138
PSLV
Diameter 3,7 m 3,2 m 3,0 m 2,5 m 2,8 m
Motor length 38 m 31 m 27 m 12 m 20 m
Propellant mass 503 t 314 t 240 t 65 t 138 t
Industrial ATK ATK EUP IHI ISRO
Nationality USA USA FRA/ITA Japan India
Ground tests 7 / 6 6 7 5 2
Qualification 80 / 88 1993 1995 2000 1991
Flown SRM 224 24 28 8 8
Flight Failure 1 - motor 0 0 0 0
Figure 13 : Large Motors for Heavy Launcher - Production Data - Fall 2002
7
3 2 OVERVIEW OF SMALL LAUNCHER MOTORS
The three following tables present a short summary of solid rocket motors used on operational small
launchers. A criteria of a minimum mass of 7,5 tons was applied for this selection.
Motors of small launchers derived from military missiles, START SHAVIT and MINOTAUR, are
not presented in this paper.
MOTOR CASTOR
120
ORBUS
21 D
ORION
50 S (G)
ORION
50SXL(G)
S7 HPM M14 M24 M34
Diameter 2,4 m 2,3 m 1,3 m 1,3 m 2,0 m 2,5 m 2,5 m 2,2 m
Motor length 9 m 3 m 8 m 10 m 3,5 m 14 m 7 m 3.5 m
Propellant mass 49 t 10 t 12 t 15 t 7,5 t 72 t 31 t 10 t
Binder HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB
A.P. / Al. 69/19 68/18 88 % 88 % 86 % 68/20 68/20 68/20
Max pressure 100 b 55 b 59 b 75 b 62 b 59 b 59 b 59 b
Case material Carbon Carbon Carbon Carbon Aramid Maraging Maraging Carbon
Throat material C/C C/C - - - C/C Graphite Graphite
Actuation Flex-seal
Hydraulic
Tech-Roll
E.M.A.
Option
(G)
Option (G) Flex-seal
E.M.A.
Flex-seal
E.M.A.
LITVC Flex-Seal
E.M.A.
Inert Mass 4,3 t 0,9 t 1,1 t 1,3 t 0,7 t 12 t 3,4 t 1,0 t
Nozzle 17 / 24 64 40 40 69 11 31 Ext. 96
Figure 14 : Small Launcher Motors - Design & Technology Data
MOTOR CASTOR
120
ORBUS
21 D
ORION
50 S (G)
ORION
50SXL(G)
S7 HPM M14 M24 M34
Propellant mass 49 t 10 t 12 t 15 t 7,5 t 72 t 31 t 10 t
Inert mass 4,3 t 0,9 t 1,1 t 1,3 t 0,7 t 12 t 3,4 t 1,0 t
Average thrust 1600 KN 170 KN 450 KN 600 KN 190 KN 3800 KN 1250 KN 290 KN
ISP vacuum 280/286 s 295 s 285 s 295 s 299 s 276 s 288 s 301 s
Burning time 83 s 158 s 73 s 69 s 110 s 50 s 71 s 102 s
Vectoring 5 3 - - 4 5 - -
Figure 15 : Small Launcher Motors - Propulsive data
MOTOR CASTOR
120
ORBUS
21 D
ORION
50S (G)
ORION
50SXL(G)
S7 HPM M14 M24 M34
Diameter 2,4 m 2,3 m 1,3 m 1,3 m 2,0 m 2,5 m 2,5 m 2,2 m
Motor length 9 m 3 m 8m 10 m 3,5 m 14 m 7 m 3,5 m
Propellant mass 49 t 10 t 12 t 15 t 7,5 t 72 t 31 t 10 t
Industrial ATK P & W ATK ATK ISRO IHI IHI IHI
Nationality USA USA USA USA India Japan Japan Japan
Ground tests 2 X + 1 2 1 X + 3 3 3 3
Qualification 1993 1994 1990 1993 93/02 1995 1995 1995
Flown SRM 14 8 15 22 7 3 2 2
Flight Failure 1 - stage 0 0 0 0 1 - motor 0 0
Figure 16 : Small Launcher Motors - Production Data - Fall 2002
8
3 3 OVERVIEW OF STRAP ON MOTORS
The three following tables present a short summary of solid rocket motors used as "strap on" on
operational launchers.
MOTOR GEM 40
Ground
GEM 46
Ground
GEM 60 AEROJET
SRB
CASTOR
4A XL
PSOM
Diameter 1,0 m 1,2 m 1,5 m 1,6 m 1,0 m 1,0 m
Motor length 11 m 12 m 13 m 17 m 12 m 11 m
Propellant mass 12 t 17 t 30 t 37 t 13 t 9 t
Binder HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB HTPB
A.P. / Al. 88 % - - - 68/20 -
Max pressure 75 b 104 b 89 b - 54 b 44 b
Case material Carbon Carbon Carbon Carbon Steel Steel
Throat material C/C C/C C/C Phenolic Phenolic Graphite
Actuation No Flex-seal
Hydraulic
Flex-seal
Hydraulic
No no No
Motor Inert mass 1,0 t 1,9 t 3,1 t - 1,9 t -
Nozzle 11 14 11 - 9 8
Figure 17 : Strap On Motors - Design & Technology Data
MOTOR GEM 40
Ground
GEM 46
Ground
GEM 60 AEROJET
SRB
CASTOR
4A XL
PSOM
Propellant mass 12 t 17 t 30 t 37 t 13 t 9 t
Stage Inert mass 1,2 t 2,3 t 3,9 t 4,0 t 2,1 t 2,0 t
Average thrust 500 KN 600 KN 830 KN 1150 KN 600 KN 440 KN
ISP vacuum 274 s 279 s 275 s 275 s 269 s 262 s
Burning time 63 s 77 s 92 s 94 s 59 s 44 s
Vectoring No 5 5 No No No
Figure 18 : Strap On Motors - Propulsive Data
MOTOR GEM 40 GEM 46 GEM 60 AEROJET
SRB
CASTOR
4A XL
PSOM
Diameter 1,0 m 1,2 m 1,5 m 1,6 m 1,0 m 1,0 m
Motor length 11 m 12 m 13 m 17 m 12 m 11 m
Propellant mass 12 t 17 t 30 t 37 t 13 t 9 t
Industrial ATK ATK ATK AEROJET ATK ISRO
Nationality USA USA USA USA USA India
Ground tests 7 3 3 4 3 -
Qualification 1990 1997 2000 2002 1993 1993
Flown SRM "660" 27 2 0 8 50
Flight Failure 1 - motor 0 0 0 0 0
Figure 19 : Strap On Motors - Production Data - Fall 2002
9
4 GENERAL TRENDS
4 1 TECHNOLOGY
The following long term trends can be noticed
for large space solid rocket motor
technologies.
Propellant
Formulation for the propellant is quite uniform
with a predominance of the following
composition:
- binder : Hydroxyl-Terminated-Polybutadiene
(HTPB)
- reducer : Aluminum ( Al)
- oxidizer :Ammonium Perchlorate (AP)
Only the RSRM shuttle motor whose original
design was performed in the beginning of the
70's continue to use a PBAN (polybutadiene
acrilic nitril) binder.
Cases
Less and less motors are using metallic cases.
Since 1995 all the newly developed motors are
based on carbon epoxy filament wound
technology. Carbon case allows to increase
performance through an inert mass decrease
or/and a specific impulse increase.
The cost of carbon case is also on a decreasing
trend while the metallic based cases have
reached some kind of asymptotic situation.
Nozzles
For actuated motors, there is a wide use of the
flex-seal concept for nozzle steering and only
very few motors use the gas or liquid injection
principle, perhaps due to its limited vectoring
angle capability lower than 3 . Both
hydraulic an electric Thrust Vectoring and
Control systems are used. Several Strap On
motors presents fixed and canted nozzles
when the core stage vectoring capability is
strong enough.
For throat parts several technical solutions
exists : graphite, graphite/phenolic,
carbon/phenolic or carbon/carbon. All nozzles
include carbon phenolic insulators.
There is only one example of extendible exit
cone for the M5 third stage.
4 2 PROPULSIVE PERFORMANCES
The following long term trends can be noticed
for large space solid rocket motor propulsive
performances.
Specific impulse
From the ISP parameter point of view, two
families of motor can be identified depending
on the case design (excluding the PSOM
motor).
VACUUM ISP MINIMUM
VALUE
MAXIMUM
VALUE
METALLIC CASE
267 s 288 s
COMPOSITE CASE
274 s 301 s
Figure 20 : ISP range versus Case Techno.
The most recent motors present in fact the
highest ISP but the improvements remain
small.
I nert mass
The inert mass ratio is defined hereafter as
PROPELLANT MASS/TOTAL MASS.
Excluding the PSLV first stage motors
(PSOM and S138), and in harmony with the
ISP parameters, two families of motor appear.
'STAGE' MASS
RATIO
MINIMUM
VALUE
MAXIMUM
VALUE
METALLIC CASE
0.85 0.87
COMPOSITE CASE
0.89 0.91
Figure 21 : Mass Ratio versus Case Techno.
In fact three values of the total inert mass
exists, generating some misunderstanding :
only the motor without the TVC, or including
10
the TVC, or the full stage including also skirts
and lines.
The here above figures are mostly related to
the stage values.
Propellant mass
The natural trend is an increase of propellant
mass. It is illustrated by the following tables
showing the evolution of Strap On motor
mass.
STRAP ON YEAR OF
QUALIF.
PROPELLANT
MASS
GEM 40 1990 12 t
CASTOR 4A XL 1993 13 t
GEM 46 1997 16 t
GEM 60 2000 30 t
AEROJET SRB 2002 37 t
Figure 22 : Strap on Propellant
Mass Growth Trend
It is the same type of evolution for the large
monolithic motors. The P80 motor is under
development for the VEGA small launcher.
LARGE
MONOLITHIC
YEAR OF
QUALIF.
PROPELLANT
MASS
CASTOR 120 1992 49 t
M 24 1995 31 t
SRBA 2000 65 t
P 80 2005 88 t
Figure 23 : Large Monolithic Propellant
Mass Growth Trend
4 3 FAILURE ANALYSIS
Four motor failures are reported in the here
above tables. This number is very low
compared to the overall number of flown
motors reported close to 1100. The resulting
reliability figure is higher than 0.996.
The CHALLENGER SHUTTLE accident was
initiated by a leakage at an inter-segment
joining favored by an 'icy' weather conditions
for launch. Unfortunately this burn-through
damaged a strut leading to a large break of the
central liquid core and the final explosion. The
damaged booster itself continued its flight
with an enlarging lateral hole while the other
booster acted quite nominally. The inter-
segment joining zone was re-designed to avoid
the here-above issue.
The CASTOR 120 failure came from a fire in
the TVC oil exhaust duct that destroyed the
TVC harness leading to a loss of vehicle
control.
For the M14 first stage, a vehicle loss was
generated by a failure of the graphite throat.
The throat insert has been turn to C/C
composite to solve this issue.
On a DELTA 2 rocket one a crack appeared
during take off on one of the GEM 40 leading
to the vehicle explosion. This crack was
coming from an internal case damage after the
hydro-proof test. Reinforced specific
ultrasonic inspections are now implemented on
theses motors.
4 4 DEVELOPMENT PHASE
Figure 24 indicates the number of ground
firing tests performed to qualify a motor since
the 70's.
The number of firing tests for new motor
development is decreasing and is close to 4
right now. It is the same for development of
up-rated versions of existing motors that
requires only an average of two firing tests.
Such an evolution is possible due to a high
level of modelisation : propellant combustion,
internal ballistic flow (multi-phase), ignition
transient, thermal analysis of heat transfers to
internal insulators , mechanical analysis of case
and nozzle structures.
11
LESS AND LESS TESTS AT BENCH
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
SRM QUALIFICATION DATE
G
R
O
U
N
D

F
I
R
I
N
G

T
E
S
T
S
NEW DESIGN
UPGRADES
TITAN 5S
7S
C4
HPM 5,5S
SRM
RSRM
SRMU
MPS
C4A
C4B
G40
G60 G46
SRBA
MPSE
PAP4
PAP3
H2
PSLV
C120
C4AXL
OR50S
OR50SXL
SPACE SOLID ROCKET MOTORS
MASS > 7,5 TONS
O21
O21D
AEROJET
Figure 24 : Ground firing Test Decrease Trend
6 CONCLUSIONS
Solid rocket propulsion mode is used on all the active commercial 'western and japanese' space
launchers mainly because high thrust level and adapted thrust law can be proposed at affordable
costs with a high level of reliability.
Three main missions are currently identified : stage one of heavy launchers, strap on motors to assist
liquid core stage and motors for small launchers.
In a short term future, continuous but limited performances progress can be expected, through
reduced development programs. Large motors sizes appears also as the most attractive for Space
Launch Business.
REFERENCES
(1) PROSPECTIVE DEVELOPMENTS SOLID PROPULSION - D. MUGNIER - CNES/DLA
Launcher propulsion towards the year 2010 -Bordeaux symposium 11 and 12 JUNE 9l
(2) AIAA 91 3391 SOLID PROPULSION OPTIONS FOR NATIONAL LAUNCH SYSTEM.
R.D. SAUVAGEAU THIOKOL - BRIGHAM - UTAH
(3) INTERNATIONAL REFERENCE GUIDE TO SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEMS- AIAA
S.J.ISAKOWITZ SECOND EDITION -
(4) SOLID ROCKET PROPULSION : STATUS AND EVOLUTION - AIAA Professional
Development Course - 20/21 july 2000 huntsville ALABAMA.
(5) Jane's Space Directory
(6) DEVELOPMENT OF M-5 ROCKET
MATSUO / KOHNO / ONODA - ISAS - IAF 97 V 10 8
12
ANNEX 1 : 1998 / 2002 REPORT ON SPACE LAUNCHES WITH SRM
LAUNCHER MOTOR SRM SRM YEAR FLOWN FLOWN
NAME MASS number 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 MOTORS MASS
unit tons
SHUTTLE RSRM 500 2 5 3 5 6 5 48 24000
ARIANE 42 P PAP 9,5 2 1 3 1 10 95
ARIANE 44 LP PAP 9,5 2 2 3 3 1 18 171
ARIANE 44 P PAP 9,5 4 2 1 2 20 190
ARIANE 5 MPS 237 2 1 1 4 2 4 24 5688
DELTA 2 7320 GEM 40 12 3 1 1 2 2 18 216
DELTA 2 7420 GEM 40 12 4 3 6 1 1 44 528
DELTA 2 7925 GEM 40 12 9 8 3 3 4 2 180 2160
DELTA 3 GEM 46 17 9 1 1 1 27 459
DELTA 4 M+ GEM 60 30 2 1 2 60
ATLAS 2AS CASTOR 4 A 10 4 2 4 3 3 1 52 520
ATLAS 5 AEROJET 41 5 0 0
TITAN 4A CSD 7S 296 2 1 2 592
TITAN 4B SRMU 313 2 1 3 2 3 1 20 6260
ATHENA 1 CASTOR 120 49 1 1 1 2 98
ORBUS 21 D 10 1 1 1 2 20
ATHENA 2 CASTOR 120 49 2 1 2 6 294
ORBUS 21 D 10 1 1 2 3 30
PEGASUS ORION 50 SXL 15 1 6 3 2 1 12 180
TAURUS CASTOR 120 49 1 2 1 1 1 5 245
ORION 50 SG 12 1 2 1 1 1 5 60
PSLV S138 138 1 1 1 1 3 414
PSOM 9 6 1 1 1 18 162
S7 7 1 1 1 1 3 21
GSLV S138 129 1 1 1 129
H2 SRB 59 2 1 1 4 236
H2 A 202 SRBA 66 2 1 1 4 264
H2 A 2024 SRBA 66 2 2 4 264
CASTOR 4A XL 13 4 2 8 104
J1 SRB 59 1 0 0
M 23 10 1 0 0
M5 M14 71 1 1 1 2 142
M24 31 1 1 1 2 62
M34 10 1 1 1 2 20
SHAVIT STAGE 1 13 1 1 1 2 26
STAGE 2 9 1 1 1 2 18
START STAGE 1 23 1 1 1 2 46
STAGE 2 11 1 1 1 2 22
FLIGTH WITH SRM 46 43 33 35 27 559 43796
TOTAL LAUNCHER FLIGHTS 82 78 85 60 65 TOTAL TOTAL
FLOWN FLOWN
PERCENTAGE OF FLIGHT WITH SRM 56% 55% 39% 58% 42% SRM MASS
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
YEAR
NUMBER OF FLOWN SRM 154 128 95 107 75 559
MASS OF FLOWN SRM 8674 7125 9149 10207 8641 43796