Accession Number : AD0715088

Title :   Meteoroid Effects on Nuclear Rocket Space Vehicle Mission Success.

Descriptive Note : Technical rept.,

Corporate Author : LOCKHEED MISSILES AND SPACE CO SUNNYVALE CALIF NUCLEAR SPACE PROGRAMS

Personal Author(s) : Sterbentz,William H. ; Long,Loren L.

Report Date : 01 MAY 1963

Pagination or Media Count : 30

Abstract : The results of an analysis of the effects of meteoroids on nuclear-rocket vehicles for three missions are presented. The probability of failure to complete a lunar mission is negligible for an unprotected nuclear rocket wherein the nuclear stage is used only to accelerate the payload spacecraft to the desired earth-lunar transfer velocity. However, if such an unprotected nuclear rocket of 250,000 lb liquid hydrogen capacity is also used to retro fire the payload into lunar orbit, there is a 2% probability of failure to successfully complete the mission. In the case of the same sized nuclear orbital transfer vehicle, the probability of an unprotected vehicle failing due to meteoroid damage during a single 15-day mission is about 10% and is a virtual certainty to fail to achieve a desired lifetime of 30 to 50 missions. A shield of 0.02-inch aluminum around the liquid hydrogen propellant tank reduces the probability of failure to less than 0.5% for a single mission for both the lunar and orbital mission vehicles. However, for the orbital transfer vehicle, the shield thickness should be increased to about 0.20 inch, and this increased protection results in long vehicle lifetime and maximum lifetime payload. It is further evident that a meteoroid shield of this thickness should be integrated into the tank design to provide solar thermal radiation insulation to reduce propellant boiloff and to increase structural stiffness. (Author)

Descriptors :   (*METEORS, HAZARDS), (*SPACECRAFT NUCLEAR PROPULSION, SPACE ENVIRONMENTS), PROPELLANT TANKS, SHIELDING, METAL PLATES, ALUMINUM, PENETRATION, PROBABILITY

Subject Categories : Astronautics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE