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NASA Moon Science Technology

Purdue Students Building Moon Lander Rocket 42

tekgoblin sends words that a team of students at Purdue University are working on a project to build a rocket engine that could be used on a future Moon lander. Quoting: "Graduate students Thomas Feldman and Andrew Rettenmaier are part of a team developing a thrust chamber for NASA's Project Morpheus, which includes research to develop new technologies for future trips to the moon, Mars or asteroids. The rocket must meet stringent design and performance specifications related to factors including efficiency, size and weight limits, thrust and the ability to dynamically throttle the rocket from 1,300-4,200 pounds of thrust, Feldman said. ... A development test chamber has been designed and is ready for testing. This heavily instrumented chamber is far bulkier than the eventual flight chamber, and data from upcoming tests will be used to refine the flight engine's design."
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Purdue Students Building Moon Lander Rocket

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  • Boiler UP!
  • Nothing like building space craft. And the USA has plenty of launch options for stuff that doesn't come back in one piece.
  • It would be easier to just use a solid rocket booster from ATK.

    • Because you can vary the thrust on a solid rocket booster, not.

      The lander probably needs variable thrust. Solids won't be very useful for that.

      • by tragedy ( 27079 )

        The GP is, I believe, making a joke about the corrupt political process through which most NASA parts are sourced (by congressmen who know nothing about rocketry) and which often becomes an overriding factor in their design. Basically, congress tells NASA that they will use engines from _this_ manufacturer, in _this_ district, then NASA has to design the rest of the mission around what that manufacturer can actually provide them. ATK bought the Thiokol rocket division (after a few intermediate splits and me

        • The boosters for Ariane 5 (a bit smaller than the Shuttle SRB, but close enough) are shipped to French Guyana empty. ESA/Arianespace have built a casting facility on site.

          • by tragedy ( 27079 )

            Ah. Can I assume that they are completed in one pour and conclude that completing a large solid rocket booster in one pour is therefore not impossible?

            • I assumed that they'd be cast in a single pour, but apparently not: booster manufacturing process []

              • by tragedy ( 27079 )

                Hmm, diagram on that page is very unsatisfactory. Hard to tell if they do use interlocking segments with an o-ring in their design or not. If you actually pour in place, I suppose you could probably do away with the o-ring design by just leaving enough clear space that you can weld the inner sections together safely, then pour directly on top of the previously solidified propellant rather than having to do the careful alignment and rely on relatively flimsy o-rings. Maybe it just doesn't matter if hot gases

  • TRW's lunar module descent engine was quite a piece of engineering. Turns out that the ability to throttle down to 10% of rated thrust is rather difficult to achieve in a biprop engine. The eventual design made some serious compromises to gain the throttleability that generations have enjoyed in lunar landing simulators - it could not run stably at all in the 65%-95% range.

    I can understand wanting to reinvent the wheel for the sake of the inventing, but this was a particularly tough nut to crack and one (to

Disks travel in packs.