Encyclopedia Astronautica
Republic Project 7969

Proj 7969 Republic
Credit: © Mark Wade
Project 7969 Designs
Project 7969 designs. From left, top row: North American X-15B; Bell Dynasoar; Northrop Dynasoar; Republic Demi body; Avco manoeuvrable drag cone. Second row: Lockheed; Martin; Aeronutronics; Goodyear; McDonnell; Convair
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned spacecraft. Study 1958. Republic's studies for the Air Force or NACA initial manned space project started at the beginning of 1958. Their unique concept was a lifting re-entry vehicle, termed the Ferri sled.

Republic's spacecraft was a 1,800 kg vehicle of triangular planform with a 75 degree leading-edge sweep. A 60 cm diameter tube ran continuously around the leading and trailing edge. This tube also served as a propellant tank for final-stage, solid-propellant rockets located in each wing tip. The concept was dubbed the Ferri sled, and had been conceived in 1956 by a team led by Antonio Ferri and at the Gruen Applied Science Laboratories.

The pilot was housed in a small compartment on the top side. Aerodynamic and reaction controls would be available to the pilot, but normally he would only monitor the spacecraft systems. Deorbit would be accomplished with a modest retrofire delta V of 8 m/sec followed by varying the lift to drag of the vehicle. A heat-transfer ring in the front of the nose allowed a stabilized glide after re-entry of 5,800 kilometers per hour. The spacecraft had a ballistic coefficient (m/CdA) of 130 kg per square meter. An Inconel heat shield was used and the pilot would experience only low G forces during re-entry. The pilot would eject from the capsule at subsonic speed over the recovery area and parachute down to earth. It was expected that a first manned orbital flight could be achieved 21 months after a go-ahead.

In the January 1958 presentation the spacecraft would be boosted by an Atlas + Polaris booster into a 241 km orbit for a 240 hour mission. Later Republic advocated an all-solid propellant launch vehicle comprised three or four stages. The four stage version consisted of a Minuteman first stage, a Polaris first stage, a Minuteman upper stage, and a Jumbo rocket fourth stage. Republic Aviation representatives briefed both USAF and NACA Headquarters personnel on their concept without much success. A similar Space General concept, the FIRST re-entry Glider, was developed extensively in the 1960's, but never reached flight status.

Gross mass: 1,800 kg (3,900 lb).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Man-In-Space-Soonest The beginning of the Air Force's Man-In-Space-Soonest program has been traced back to a staff meeting of General Thomas S Power, Commander of the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) in Baltimore on 15 February 1956. Power wanted studies to begin on manned space vehicles that would follow the X-15 rocketplane. These were to include winged and ballistic approaches - the ballistic rocket was seen as being a militarily useful intercontinental troop and cargo vehicle. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...
  • Republic American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Republic, USA. More...

  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Swenson, Grimwood, Alexander, Charles C, This New Ocean, Government Printing Office, 1966. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Grimwood, James M., Project Mercury: A Chronology, NASA Special Publication-4001.

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