274. Aspects of High Performance Sounding Rockets


SAWE Members get a $200 store credit each year.*

Become a SAWE Member

*Store credit coupon available at checkout, click the button in your shopping cart to apply the coupon.
Not applicable to SAWE textbooks and current conference technical papers.


S L Tuttle: 274. Aspects of High Performance Sounding Rockets. 1961.



This paper was presented at the Twentieth National Conference of the Society of Aeronautical Weight Engineers at Akron, Ohio, May 15 – 18, 1961. A philosophy for the design of high performance sounding rockets as evolved by personnel of the University of Michigan, Aircraft Propulsion Laboratory, is presented. The term sounding rocket is generally taken to mean a vehicle capable of a vertical probe in the altitude region of a few miles to a few thousand miles. High performance implies the capability of exceeding 1,000 miles.
Stress is laid on the fundamental differences in performance criteria of this type of research vehicle, and one designed primarily for military use. As the sounding rocket is primarily a research vehicle, it should be inexpensive, reasonably simple, and relatively versatile.
These requirements have led to the conclusion that the most effective and least expensive high performance sounding rocket will be a single stage, non-cryogenic liquid (ideally a mono-propellant) propelled system with a gross loaded weight of two – three tons.
By way of illustration, a basic design and the considerations which led to this design are presented. It is concluded that it is within the present state of the art to build a sounding rocket capable of carrying a 25 pound payload above 1,500 miles, at a cost of less than $50,000 per vehicle.
Finally, by extending the state of the art somewhat and by relaxing some of the previous requirements, the possibility of a single stage rocket, capable of putting small payloads above 4,000 miles, is demonstrated. The energy requirement for a 4,000 mile vertical probe is equivalent to that for a low satellite.


SKU: Paper0274 Category: