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# Rocket Propulsion

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Gravitational Assist
Notable uses:
1. Mariner 10
2. Voyager I & II
3. Galileo
4. Ulysses
5. Cassini
6. MESSANGER
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Other Orbital Maneuvers
Orbital Inclination Change
Phasing
Rendezvous
Docking
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Orbital Station-Keeping
Orbital Station-Keeping: firing thruster
to keep a spacecraft in a particular orbit
Any real orbit will change with time due to perturbations
from other bodies in the solar system.
Typically a small set of thrusters are
used. These are called the attitude
control system (ACS).
Station-keeping is critical for satellites
that must be oriented in a certain
direction to communicate with Earth
(communication satellites)
Example: satellite is orbit around the
Earth is perturbed by the Sun, Moon,
Jupiter
Now this process is automated by an
onboard computer that collects
telemetry and makes corrections.
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Orbits to Propulsion
Changing orbits requires changing a
spacecrafts energy (or velocity).

For this we use ROCKETS.
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How do rockets work?
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56%
29%
15%
1. The rocket pushes
off the ground.
2. The rocket pushes
off the air.
3. The exhaust-rocket
system conserves
momentum.
Conservation of Momentum
Momentum: Mass times velocity (p = mv)
Momentum is conserved: initial momentum equals final momentum
Our rocket has three parts
1. Payload (science, human, life support, communications)
2. Structure (rocket, pumps, tanks, structural support)
3. Fuel (expelled for propulsion)
We want a way to calculate the change in speed of the
spacecraft due to firing our rocket.
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Conservation of Momentum
initial momentum = final momentum
( )
fuel fuel craft craft
v m v m + = 0
(rocket is at rest)
fuel fuel craft craft
v m v m =
craft
fuel fuel
craft
m
v m
v =
So this shows the basic tradeoff
for rockets.

To go faster you must:
1. Maximize fuel speed
2. Maximize fuel mass
3. Minimize craft mass
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Conservation of Momentum
(Rocket Style):
Actually its worse than it appears.
Rockets dont work by throwing all of their fuel off at once. To get into
orbit would kill an astronaut!
So, each part of the fuel ejected is pushing against the payload and
the remaining fuel!!!!
craft
fuel fuel
craft
m
v m
v =
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Rocket Equation
To correctly compute the change in speed, we need to use calculus.
Heres the answer written in two ways:
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ = A
fuel
e
m
m
c v 1 ln
m
fuel
= fuel mass
m
c
e
= exhaust speed
Av = change in spacecrafts
speed
1 =
|
|
.
|

\
|
A
e
c
v
fuel
e
m
m
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Rocket Equation
m
fuel
= fuel mass
m
c
e
= exhaust speed
Av = change in spacecrafts speed
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
fuel
m
m
e
c
v A
1 =
|
|
.
|

\
|
A
e
c
v
fuel
e
m
m
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Rocket Equation
m
fuel
= fuel mass
m
c
e
= exhaust speed
Av = change in spacecrafts speed
0.1
1
10
100
1000
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
fuel
m
m
e
c
v A
1 =
|
|
.
|

\
|
A
e
c
v
fuel
e
m
m
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Rocket Equation: Example
How much fuel do we require to send a 1000 kg
payload to the Moon (Av = 16 km/s) using a
chemical rocket (c
e
= 4 km/s)?
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Rocket Equation: Example
How much fuel do we require to send a 1000 kg
payload to the Moon (Av = 16 km/s) using a
chemical rocket (c
e
= 4 km/s)?
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Rocket Equation: Example
How much fuel do we require to send a 1000 kg
payload to the Moon (Av = 16 km/s) using a
chemical rocket (c
e
= 4 km/s)?
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Staging
We can use staging as a trick to help improve the situation.
Once the fuel in the first stage is used, we can drop that stage. Now we
no longer need to carry that structure into space.
EX: If 10% of your initial mass is structures and Av/c
e
= 2:
1 stage: payload fraction = 3.8%
2 stages: payload fraction = 7.5%
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Types of Fuel:
There are three types of physical process that we
use for fuel in space propulsion.
1. Chemical Reactions: This amounts to triggering an energy
releasing chemical reaction in a controlled (or uncontrolled) way.
(By far the most common method).
2. Plasma Reactions: These thrusters use electric fields to
accelerate ions. (Not used for launches, but more common now
in trajectory corrections).
3. Nuclear Reactions: Nuclear propulsion relies on fission power to
generate massive amounts of energy that propel exhaust at
huge speeds. (Hard to control, but can also be an impulse
drive).
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Chemical Rockets
Three types of chemical rockets:
1. Solid propellant
2. Liquid propellant
a. Monopropellant
b. Bipropellant
3. Hybrid rockets
Chemical rockets work by heating a gas through a chemical
reaction. This gas is then expanded through a nozzle.
Chemical rockets can be classified based on the form of the
fuel they use.
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Solid Propellant Motors
Uses:
Booster Rockets
Space Shuttle
Delta IV
Atlas V
Ariane 4 & 5
Soyuz
Model Rockets

Fuel and oxidizer are mixed together to
form a grain
Ignited used to start mixture burning
Exhaust speed = 2.8 km/s
Propellant example:
Ammonium Perchlorate (oxidizer)
HTPB or PBAN (fuels)
Exhaust:
Hydrochloric acid
Aluminum oxide
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Solid Propellant Motors
Very simple design
Lots of flight heritage
Reliable
Compact
Long storage times
Low costs
Impossible to turn off
Low exhaust speed
compared to liquid fuels
Air pockets can explode,
which ruptures the casing
Seals can rupture causing
failure
Boeing Delta IV
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Liquid Propellant:
Monopropellant Engines
How it works:
1. Monopropellant is passed through a catalyst.
2. Catalyst causes a reaction, which generates
heat.
3. The heated products of this reaction are
expelled through a nozzle.
Typical fuel is hydrazine (N
2
H
4
)
Exhaust speed = 2.3 km/s
Usually used for attitude control.
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Liquid Propellant:
Monopropellant Engines
1. Simple design
2. Robust design
3. Reliable
4. Not a lot of plumbing
5. Flight heritage
6. Can turn them off
1. Most fuels are toxic
3. Low thrust
4. Low exhaust speeds
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Liquid Propellant:
Bi-propellant Engines
How they work:
1. Fuel and oxidizer are pumped into
the combustion chamber
1. Often use turbopumps
2. Power tapped off of main
combustion
2. Injectors mix propellant to provide
stable and thorough combustion
3. Heat is generated from combustion.
4. Heated products are expelled out the
nozzle
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Liquid Propellant:
Bi-propellant Engines
Fuel Oxidizer Example
Liquid H
2
(LH2) Liquid O
2
(LOX) Space Shuttle Main Engine
Saturn V upper stage
Delta IV 1
st
stage
Centaur
Ariane 2
nd
stage
Kerosene LOX Atlas rockets
Delta
Titan 1
st
stage
Soyuz rocket
Aerozine 50 Dinitrogen tetroxide Apollo Service Module
Lunar Module
Titan rockets
Voyager 1 & 2
monomethylhydrazine dinitrogen tetroxide Space Shuttle Orbital
Maneuvering System (OMS)
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Liquid Propellant:
Bi-propellant Engines
1. Typically more efficient than solid
or hybrid rockets
2. High exhaust velocity
(3.6-4.4 km/s)
3. Throttled
4. Can turn them off
5. Lots of flight heritage