RE: Cosmos launcher and accerlerations

John C. Broman, Jr. (stingray@wizard.net)
Sat, 23 Nov 1996 16:31:11 -0500

>>I just read the article in the latest Spaceflight issue about the Cosmos
>Launcher.  I was surprised that the upper(and first stage) uses a 'thin fuel
>tank' construction which means that the wall of the rocket makes part of the
>fuel and oxidiser tank.  This makes the rocket much lighter.  I wonder if
>this technology is used in other rockets as well.
>

Sure is...the classis Atlas and it's upperstage Centaur are both
structurally supported by their tanks.  After final weld and inspection,
they are pressurized (with N2, I believe) and stay pressurized at all times.
When pressurized, they are very strong longitudinally.  For example, just
try standing on an *unopened* can of beer.  But open the can, and slightly
dent the size, and it collapses.

This work OK for a rocket, since it is in use for such a short time that the
probability of debris inpact in flight is significantly outweighed bu the
benefits of higher payload capability.

I learned this when I used to work for General Dynamics (who made the
Atlas/Centaur) back in the 80's.
___________________________________________
John C. Broman, Jr.
X-34 Lead Avionics Engineer
Orbital Sciences Corporation
stingray@wizard.net (home)
jbrom@orbital.com (work)
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