"Liquid Rocket Valve Assemblies"

by Aerojet, TRW, Rocketdyne and NASA Lewis Research Center scientists and engineers


Liquid Rocket Valve Assemblies

by Aerojet, TRW, Rocketdyne and NASA Lewis Research Center scientists and engineers

Here's a comprehensive technical reference resource for the liquid propellant rocket scientist, engineer, and technician.  The book reviews state-of-the-art designs for valve assemblies, and provides both design criteria and recommended engineering practices for their design, fabrication, testing, and use.  Both electrically-, pneumatically-, and hydraulically-actuated valves are studied.

Among the many sections of discussion are:

  • Valve selection:
    • Flow characteristics
    • Leakage characteristics
    • Valve material/fluid compatibility
    • Response characteristics
    • Cycle life
    • Contamination tolerance
    • Throttling characteristics
  • Major design parameters:
    • Flow-passage shape for shutoff and throttling valves
    • Redundancy
    • Fail-safe modes
    • Actuator types
    • Static forces and seal loads
    • Dynamic forces for valve opening and closing
    • Valve response
    • Friction
    • Inertia of moving parts
    • Length of stroke
    • Timing repeatability
  • Design integration of valve subassemblies:
    • Integration of actuator and valve
    • Transmission devices
    • Transmission shafts and bearings
    • Thermal expansion, contraction, distortion, and loads
    • Imposed loads at interface mounting points
  • Environmental factors:
    • Moisture
    • Vacuum
    • Acceleration, shock, and vibration
    • Radiation
    • Zero gravity
    • Dormancy
  • Instrumentation:
    • Internal pressure
    • Valving element position
    • Temperature
    • Acceleration
    • Strain
The text also goes into great detail about critical operational factors, such as:
  • Valve latching
  • Filtering
  • Purging, draining, and flushing
  • Valve sterilization
  • Tolerance stackup
  • Preventing misinstallation
  • Assembly of components and functional tests
  • Lubrication
  • Contamination control
  • Purging and flushing
  • Qualification testing
  • Engine, stage, and spacecraft checkout
On the theoretical side, complete explanations are given for the various types of possible valves, flow coefficient vs valve size, force vs stroke relationship for poppet valving, cavitating and noncavitating valves, redundant valve systems, ball seals and ball valves, hollow-ball valving elements, various mechanical linkages, butterfly valve designs, bipropellant valves, vent port check valves, position-indicating switches, corrosion factors, and on and on.

Almost all of this data and information was classified as secret until the time of this report.  The text goes into great detail about valve dimensions, flow rates, operating pressures, actuation, response times, etc. for assemblies used in almost all important liquid propellant missile systems, including:

  • Atlas MA-5 engines
  • Thor MB-3 engine
  • Titan III (LR-87-AJ-5 and LR-91-AJ-5 engines)
  • Saturn S-1B H-1 engines
  • Saturn S-1C F-1 engines
  • Saturn S-II J-2 engines
  • Saturn S-IVB J-2 engines
  • Saturn S-IVB system
  • SE-7-1 APS (ullage engine)
  • Centaur RL-10 engines
  • Centaur 8093 (attitude control)
  • Intelsat III thruster
  • Gemini (RCS and OAMS)
  • Apollo Command Module engines
  • Apollo Service Module engine
  • Apollo R-4D (RCS)
  • Lunar Excursion Module descent and ascent engines, and RCS

This fine handbook will provide solid information for everyone who designs, builds, tests, or uses serious liquid propellant rockets.  It's the official NASA design guide, full of scientific data, rocketry information, and military missile lore, providing data on all types of liquid rocket valve systems.  And it's the ideal text for "amateur" experimental rocket scientists.  Even though it's oriented toward "grand" rockets and spacecraft systems--like Saturn, and the Apollo Lunar lander--the information applies as well to "backyard" homebuilt liquid and monopropellant rockets!  Heads up, all you serious "amateur" rocket scientists and engineers!

Prepared at the NASA Lewis Research Center by scientists and engineers from Aerojet-General Corporation, Rocketdyne, TRW, and NASA, this valuable book gives the practical information you need.  It's a book by the experts, for the experts!  The contents are the result of more than 40 years of investigations by the world's largest propulsion contractors.  Literally millions of dollars were spent obtaining this critical yet hard-to-find data. 

Typical engineering drawing (much smaller than in book)

This is the perhaps most complete and comprehensive book ever written about the theoretical and practical engineering design of liquid rocket valve assemblies.  It’s thick, heavy, and packed with accurate information for the professional (and “amateur”) rocket scientist, engineer, technician, and experimenter.

Plus you'll have four pages of technical references (53 different studies are listed), a 14-page (! ) glossary of arcane symbols and definitions used in valve design ... and MUCH more not mentioned here!

Typical illustrations from the book (smaller than actual size)

Typical detailed engineering drawing

Typical detailed engineering drawing

Typical detailed engineering drawing

Typical detailed engineering table of values

Typical engineering graph

Typical engineering graph

Typical explanation of valve design theory

If you design, build, test, or fly serious liquid rockets or missiles of any size, you'll want this superb reference textbook.  It’s especially useful for “amateur” rocket builders--there's nothing else quite like it anywhere!

Very hard to find and now out-of-print, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's printed with a high-resolution laser printer (not photocopied) on high-quality, bright-white, acid-free paper for years of reference use.  158 pages, large and easy-to-read 11" x 8-1/2" size.

ISBN 1-878628-32-1.     $24.95

Priority Mail Postage US $4.95.          Airmail Postage International US$ 9.95.

For details about ordering your copy, click here.


The Rocket Science Institute is a non-profit scientific and educational foundation in support of "amateur" experimental rocket science, engineering, and technology.

Rocket Science Institute, Inc., P.O. Box 1253, Carmel Valley CA 93924 USA     •     e-mail: books@rocketsciencebooks.com 

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