Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: Boeing / Rocketdyne
Rocketdyne Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. Lance. Launch thrust 205.44 kN. Lance Booster and Sustainer System. Pressure-fed. Sustainer 4400 -14,400 lbf, 227 sec Isp. Thrust and specific impulse values are at sea level. First flight 1972.

Application: Lance.

Thrust (sl): 205.440 kN (46,185 lbf). Thrust (sl): 20,950 kgf. Propellant Formulation: IRFNA/UDMH.

Thrust: 205.44 kN (46,185 lbf).
Specific impulse: 238 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 238 s.
First Launch: 1964.

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  • Nitric acid/UDMH 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. Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine ((CH3)2NNH2) became the storable liquid fuel of choice by the mid-1950's. Development of UDMH in the Soviet Union began in 1949. It is used in virtually all storable liquid rocket engines except for some orbital manoeuvring engines in the United States, where MMH has been preferred due to a slightly higher density and performance. More...

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