Rocket Engine Specifications
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Thiokol Rocket Engines

Credits for providing information to Jim Glass
Boeing North American and Jane's Space

  • Thiokol Corporation

    Thiokol Corporation

    2475 Washington Boulevard
    Ogden, Utah 84401-2398
    Telephone(801) 629-2270
    Fax(801) 629-2420

    Castor 4A (TX780)

    Castor 4A began the development of a program to improve Delta performance by 11%. This was done by replacing the old fuel with HTPB propellant. The TX780-0, with an 11 degree canted nozzle is used as the ground ignited booster. The TX780-1, with a 7 degree cant, and the TX780-2, (11degree cant) are ignited at altitude. The TX780-3 & 4 were developed as the ground and altitude ignited boosters, respectively. The TX780-5, a straight nozzle, powers OSC's Prospector suborbital vehicle.

    First FlownFebruary 14, 1989, Delta 184
    Number Flown163 to end of 1993 (100% success)
    Mass11,578 kg (propellant 10,121 kg) ground-ignited
    Length8087/9199 mm loaded case with/without nozzle
    Diameter1016 mm
    Propellant TypeTP-H8299 HTPB Polymer (20% aluminium)
    Shapecylindrical, with 76% web fraction; transitions to four longitudinal slots. Tailored for ignition and burn-out thrust to be similar to Castor 4
    Mass Fraction0.874 for standard loading
    Burn Time53.1 sec web
    Thrust (kN, sea level, 21 Celsius)476.661 maximum with a n average of 436.736
    Isp237.6 sec sea level at 21 Celsius
    Itotal23,846 kNs sea level at 21 Celsius
    Pressure46.60 atm average with a maximum of 49.86 atm at sea level; at 21 Celsius
    Nozzle Throat Diameter278.6 mm
    Nozzle Materialscarbon-phenolic
    Casing Linestandard HT polymer
    Igniter Typepyrogen, head-end

    Castor 4AXL

    The 4AXL version, extended by 2.44 mm, was first tested May 1992. It's 30% performance increase would improve performance of vehicles, such as: Atlas; and Conestoga. 4AXL was combined with 4B's TVC system to create the stage 1 motor for CTA's ORBEX small launcher.

    First Flightn/a
    Number Flownn/a
    Mass14,851 kg (propellant 13,128 kg for ground ignited strap-on)
    Length12,279 mm with nose-cone adapter, 13, 711 mm with nose-cone
    Diameter1018.5 mm
    Propellant TypeTP-H8299 HTPB Polymer, 20% Al, and 68% AP
    Propellant Shape forward cylindrical perforate with seven aft longitudinal slots
    Propellant Mass Fraction0.884 ground ignited strap-on
    Burn Time60.1 sec
    Thrust (kN, vac)599.81 average with 700.5 maximum
    Isp269.2 sec vacuum
    Itotal34.679 Mns vacuum
    Pressure41.70 atm average with a maximum of 54.42 atm MEOP
    Nozzle Throat Diameter318.8 mm
    Nozzle Length1216.8 mm
    Nozzle Exit Diameter937.3 mm
    Nozzle Materials4130 steel with graphite phenolic throat insert, and a carbon phenolic exit cone
    Casing MaterialAISI 4130 steel 0.28 mm thick
    Igniter TypeTX544 (>500 units flown successfully) forward internal pyrogen, with 2.45 kg TP-H8027 propellant that is cartridge loaded

    Castor 4B (TX859)

    The 4B, which incorporates thrust vector control in the series for the first time, was developed for ESA's Maxus (g carrier was first flown in 1991. CTA's ORBEX was to use the 4BXL version, which combines the 4XL motor with 4B's TVC system ((6 degree).

    First Flown May 8, 1991
    Number Flown2 to end of 1993 (100% success)
    Mass11,482 kg
    Length8984 mm
    Diameter1019 mm
    Propellant TypeTp-H8229 HTPB Polymer, with 20% Al
    Propellant Shape radially slotted center perforate
    Propellant Mass Fraction0.868 (9969 kg)
    Burn Time60.9 sec at 25 Celsius
    Thrust429 kN vacuum at 25 Celsius
    Isp267.4 sec vacuum
    Itotal26,141 kNs vacuum at 25 Celsius
    Pressure50.6 atm maximum and an average of 30.7 atm
    Nozzle Throat Diameter30.84 cm
    Nozzle Lengthvaries - SL, with altitude and canted available
    Nozzle Exit Diameter90.2 cm
    Nozzle Materials4130 steel
    Casing Materials4130 steel

    Castor 120

    A motor similar in size to the Peacekeeper missile stage 1 motor. It fills the gap between Castor 4A and the large segmented motors. Unit cost would be about $3.5 million for volume production, rising to $7.5 million for one annually. Further applications include using it as a strap-on for launchers, such asDelta. It can be used as a stage 1 or 2 strap-on since the forward and aft ends can take tension and compression forces. A (5.5 degree thrust vector control is provided by a movable nozzle. The grain can be changed (tailored) by adding aft slots to reduce thrust during maximum-q, and by adding forward slots for high initial thrust.

    First Flightplanned for November 1994
    Number Flownunknown. assumed small number since planned first flight in 1994
    Mass53,118 kg (propellant 49,032 kg)
    Length9017 mm
    Diameter2363 mm
    Propellant TypeTP-H1246 HTPB, 19% Al, and 69% AP
    Propellant Shapethree machined aft conical slots with formed forward slot
    Propellant Mass Fraction0.923 (49,032 kg)
    Burn Time81 sec.
    Thrust1650 kN vacuum average
    Isp280.1 sec vacuum
    Itotal133,440 kNs vacuum
    Pressure101 atm maximum and 78 atm average
    Nozzle Throat Diameter 368 mm
    Nozzle Length1448 mm
    Nozzle Exit Diameter1600 mm
    Nozzle Materialsglass epoxy and polyisoprene flex bearing; 3D carbon-carbon throat; carbon phenolic exit cone; aluminum stationary shell; steel throat support
    Casing Materialscarbon epoxy, lined with silica-filled EPDM rubber EPM

    Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor (Redesigned SRM)

    Mass569,893 kg
    Length38.47 m
    Diameter3847 mm
    Propellant TypeTP-H1148 HB Polymer, 16% Al, and 70% AP
    Propellant Shape11-point star forward with a double taper cylinder
    Propellant Mass Fraction0.883 (503,487 kg)
    Burn Time123.6 sec action, 111.7 sec web
    Thrust11.52 MN average vacuum, and 14.77 MN maximum vacuum
    Isp268.6 sec vacuum
    Itotal296.3 MNs vacuum
    Pressure62.4 atm maximum (MEOP 69.1) and 45 atm average
    Nozzle Throat Diameter136.8 cm
    Nozzle Length454 cm
    Nozzle Exit Diameter380.1 cm (expansion ratio 7.72)
    Nozzle MaterialsD6AC steel for fixed housing with throat and forward exit cone housings; aluminum for nose inlet and aft exit cone housing
    Casing MaterialsD6AC steel with 1.165 cm minimum thickness
    Igniterforward end internally mounted 62.1 kg of TP-H1178 case-bonded 40-point star

    SSUS-A Motor

    The Thiokol TU-844 motor was tp provide propulsion for the McDonnell Douglas Spinning Solid Upper Stage, which was designed to launch Atlas Cenataur-class payloads from the Space Shuttle. A slightly modified stage 3 Minuteman 3 with TVC and roll control systems removed, it has not flown as of yet. However, the motor was adapted as the perigee boost motor for the Leasat and JCSat telecom satellites.

    Star 5CB (TE-M-344-16)

    Reduced Al HTPB propellant (2.1 kg) minimizes contamination when used as a Titan 4 stage separation motor.

    Diameter121 mm
    Length341 mm
    Mass4.5 kg
    Itotal5.5 kNs
    Burn Time2.77 sec

    Star 13/13B (TE-M-458/763)

    A braking motor used by NASA for the Anchored Interplanetary Monitoring Platform program. A 3.1 kg charge of AP/Al urethane contained in a spherical case of 6Al-4V titanium, with a graphite/vitreous silica phenolic nozzle. Sweden's Freja scientific satellite used it in October of 1992, to raise its apogee.

    Mass35.65 kg
    Thrust3.8 kN average
    Burn Time21.8 sec

    Star 17/17A (TE-M-479/521)

    TE-M-479, a 442 mm spherical motor developed for NASA's Radio Astronomy Explorer, is mainly an apogee kick motor. The 17A has been used for circularized orbits for the Skynet 1, NATO 1, and IMP-H & J satellites.

    Length687 mm
    Mass78.8 kg
    Propellant Mass69.7 kg

    Star 17A

    Diameter444 mm
    Length980 mm
    Modifications175 mm straight section added to the Star 17
    Mass126 kg
    Propellant Mass112 kg

    Star 24/24C (TE-M-604/604-4)

    An apogee boost motor used as the apogee kick stage on the UK Skynet 2. A modified version was used for the International Ultraviolet Explorer and the 1978 orbit insertion motor for the Pioneer-Venus Probe.

    Charge200 kg of AP/hydrocarbon/Al propellant in a spherical 6Al-4V titanium case with a graphite phenolic nozzle.
    Thrust20 kN average
    Burn Time30.21 sec

    Star 27 (TE-M-616)

    An apogeee kick motor used for the Canada's CTS, Japan's GMS meterorological & BS broadcast satellites, and several USAF GPS & NOAA GOES satellites. GMS 4, in 1989, employed the TE-M-616-5 verison for its operations.

    Diameter694 mm
    Length1303 mm
    Charge338 kg pf AP/HTPB/Al propellant in a 6Al-4V titanium case with a graphite/carbon phenolic nozzle.
    Mass365.7 kg
    Mass Fraction0.925 (propellant mass can be reduced up to 25%)
    Thrust27 kN average vacuum
    Burn Time34.5 sec
    Isp289.5 sec

    Star 30BP/C/E (TE-M-700-20/18/19)

    TE-M-700-20 (STAR-30BP)

    Diameter762 mm
    Length1506 mm
    Charge505 kg of AP/HTPB/Al propellant in a 6Al-4V titanium case. with a nozzle that has a carbon/carbon throat insert.
    IngiterAft end
    Mass542.8 kg
    Mass Fraction0.951
    Burn Time54 sec
    Itotal1460 kNs vacuum
    Isp292.0 sec


    Used on the Martin Marietta series 3000 telecom satelllites.

    Length1493 mm
    Mass626.9 kg
    Propellant Mass585 kg maximum
    Itotal1647 kNs vacuum
    Isp284.6 sec


    Used by Koreasat and by the ORBEX small orbital launcher.

    Length1683 mm
    Mass668 kg
    Itotal1780 kNs vacuum
    Isp 289.2 sec

    Star 31 (TE-M-762 Antares 3)

    Diameter762 mm
    Length1287 kg
    PropellantAP/HTPB/Al propellant in a filament wound Kevlar case and a carbon/phenolic nozzle with a carbon/carbon throat insert
    Mass1393 kg, including external insulation
    Thrust80 kN average
    Burn Time46 sec
    Last Flight1994

    Star 37FM (TE-M-784) Apogee Kick Motor

    Diameter933 mm
    Length1676 mm
    Propellant1067 kg of AP/HTPB/Al in 6Al-4V titanium case
    Casingsemi-submerged, contour nozzle has a carbon/phenolic expansion cone and a carbon/carbon throat insert
    Mass1149.4 kg
    Itotal3048 kNs vacuum
    Burn Time63.7 sec
    Last FlownClementine 1 in Jan 1994

    Star 37XFP (TE-M-714) Apogee Motor

    Diameter933 mm
    Length1515 mm
    Propellant884 kg of AP/HTPB/Al in 6Al-4V titanium case
    Casingsemi-submerged, contour nozzle has a carbon/carbon throat insert, and the aft end igniter is remotely initiated
    Mass957 kg
    Mass Fraction0.929
    Itotal2097 kNs vacuum
    Burn Time66.5 sec
    Isp289.9 sec
    Last UsedGPS 2A navsats are the only vehicles currently using it

    Star 48B (TE-M-711) Perigee Kick Motor

    Diameter1245 mm
    Length2032 mm
    Propellant2011 kg charge of AP/HTPB/Al in 6Al-4V titanium case
    Mass2137 kg
    Mass Fraction0.941
    Thrust66 kN average vacuum
    Burn Time84 sec
    Itotal5467 kNs
    Isp286 sec

    Star 48V (TE-M-940-1)

    Developed for Conestoga's upper stage, providing some ±4 degrees capability at 30 degree/sec using the same loaded casing as the 48B.

    First Flight1994

    Star 63D/F (TU-936/TE-M-963-2) Perigee Kick Motor

    Provides perigee kick for the McDonnell PAM-D2 system.

    Diameter1600 mm
    Length1779 mm
    Mass3502 kg
    Propellant3254 kg
    Isp283 sec

    Star 75 (TE-M-775, 105-KS-45,220)

    A tested demonstration motor as a first step in the development of a perigee kick motor in the 4080-7940 kg propellant range. Some of its features include a slotted, center perforated grain in a graphite epoxy filament wound case; with a semi-submerged nozzle with a carbon/phenolic exit cone, and a consumption wafer-type igniter.

    Diameter19050 mm
    Length25900 mm
    Propellant Mass Fraction0.9299
    Burn Rate56 mm/s at 34.0 atm and 15.5 Celsius
    Burn Time105 sec
    Action Time107 sec
    Thrust242.83 kN maximum

    Rocket Engine Specifications

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