Encyclopedia Astronautica
Aerobee


Aerojet Nitric acid/Amine rocket engine. Aerobee. Development begun December 1947. Research with high altitude vehicle as carriers of scientific information.

Application: Aerobee.

Propellant Formulation: RFNA/Aniline+Furfural Alcohol.

First Launch: December 1947.

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Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Aerobee American sounding rocket. In late 1945 James Van Allen was assigned by John Hopkins University to survey sounding rocket requirements for upper atmosphere research. The V-2 was found to be too heavy and complex. In 1946 Van Allen decided that what was needed was a small rocket, derived from the Aerojet Wac Corporal and the Bumblebee missile developed under a US Navy program. This combination of an Aerojet booster and a Bumblebee second stage was dubbed the Aerobee. Aerobees were launched for 53 m tall launch towers to provide the necessary stability until enough speed had been gained for the fins to be effective in controlling the rocket. Launch towers were built at White Sands, Fort Churchill, Wallops Island, and aboard the research ship USN Norton Sound. The Aerobee could take 68 kg to 130 km altitude. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Aerojet American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Aerojet, Sacramento, CA, USA. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Nitric acid/Amine Drawing on the German World War II Wasserfall rocket, nitric acid (HNO3) became the early storable oxidiser of choice for missiles and upper stages of the 1950's. To overcome various problems with its use, it was necessary to combine the nitric acid with N2O4 and passivation compounds. These formulae were considered extremely secret at the time. By the late 1950's it was apparent that N2O4 by itself was a better oxidiser. Therefore nitric acid was almost entirely replaced by pure N2O4 in storable liquid fuel rocket engines developed after 1960. Early storable rocket systems sought to improve ignition characteristics and perforamance by eliminating the kerosene portion of the fuel. An amine is an organic compound produced when one or more hydrogen atoms of ammonia is replaced with organic groups. Mixed amine fuels were first developed by the Germans in World War II. TONKA-250, developed for the Wasserfall rocket, was used by the Russians after the war in various engines under the specification TG-02. More...

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