Encyclopedia Astronautica
GOX/Kerosene


Gaseous oxygen is used as an oxidiser in Russian thrusters for orbital maneuvering and orientation. It is a by-product of liquid oxygen, used in the main engine, and slowly boiling off over time. Rocket propellant RP-1, or its foreign equivalents, is a straight-run kerosene fraction, which is subjected to further treatment, i.e., acid washing, sulphur dioxide extraction. Thus, unsaturated substances which polymerise in storage are removed, as are sulphur-containing hydrocarbons.

In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene.

Rocket propellant RP-1 is a straight-run kerosene fraction, which is subjected to further treatment, i.e., acid washing, sulphur dioxide extraction. Thus, unsaturated substances which polymerise in storage are removed, as are sulphur-containing hydrocarbons. Furthermore, in order to meet specification requirements of density, heat of combustion, and aromatic content, the kerosene must be obtained from crudes with a high naphthene content. RP-1 is an excellent solvent for many organic materials. The flash point is above 43 deg C. Above that temperature RP-1 will form explosive mixtures with air. The temperature range for explosive mixtures (rich limit) is 79 to 85 deg C. RP-1 is not so toxic as the JP series of fuels because of its lower aromatic content. In the United States, suitable kerosene fractions in 1960 were limited almost exclusively to the West Coast. The estimated 1956 United States production was 7700 tonnes, and the price was $0.05 per kg. By the 1980's it was typically $ 0.20 per kg. Russian formulations have typical densities of 0.82 to 0.85 g/cc, and even higher densities were achieved in the N1 and Soyuz 11A511U rockets by superchilling the fuel prior to loading.

Oxidizer: GOX. Oxidizer: GOX. Fuel: Kerosene. Fuel: Kerosene. Propellant Formulation: GOX/Sintin. Propellant Formulation: GOX/Kerosene. Oxidizer Freezing Point: -219 deg C. Oxidizer Freezing Point: -219 deg C. Oxidizer Boiling Point: -183 deg C. Oxidizer Boiling Point: -183 deg C. Fuel Density: 0.806 g/cc. Fuel Density: 0.806 g/cc. Fuel Freezing Point: -73 deg C. Fuel Freezing Point: -73 deg C. Fuel Boiling Point: 147 deg C. Fuel Boiling Point: 147 deg C.

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Associated Engines
  • 11D121 Korolev GOX/Kerosene rocket engine. 68.650 kN. N-1 stage 1 (block A) roll control engine. Developed 1969-74. Gimbaling +/- 45 degree. Propellants are fed from main engine (NK-15, NK-33) turbopumps. Isp=313s. Chamber Pressure: 71.60 bar. More...
  • RDMT-200K NII Mash GOX/Kerosene rocket engine. 0.200 kN. Buran. Out of Production. Low-thrust attitude control thruster. Mass in ref. NIIMash 95 given as only 2.5 kg. Isp=265s. More...

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