"Rocket Basics:  A Guide to Solid Propellant Rocketry"

Thiokol Propulsion


Guide to Solid
                      Propellant Rocketry
....           Actual size is 11 x 8.5-inches

Rocket Basics:  A Guide to Solid Propellant Rocketry

by Thiokol Propulsion

A comprehensive and complete introduction to the science and engineering of solid propellant propulsion, from on of the world's largest and most respected rocket companies.

This fine text has been used by students since the early 1970s.  It is an ideal book to learn the details about modern rocket designs and components.   It covers the history of rocket propulsion, engine components, nomenclature, the physics of propulsion; Newton's, Boyle's and Charles' laws.  Includes chapters about performance, design, motor cases, ignition, nozzles, flight direction control, and propellants, supplemented by extensive illustrations of high quality.

Every part of the solid rocket engine is described, with plenty of technical design information about motor cases, skirts, insulation, propellant release boots, grains, inhibitors, gas port areas, nozzles, nozzle throats, exit cones, raceways, igniters, and thrust termination ports.  Thiokol pioneered spherical, elliptical, and oblate spheroid motor cases, which are also explained.  Metals and alloys are discussed, along with reinforced plastics and design techniques for modern rocket engine cases.  Several types of igniters are covered, also, including basket, jellyroll, can type, and pyrogens. 

The section about rocket history is well-written, and covers William Congreve's designs, whaling rockets, underwater war rockets, and underwater torpedoes.  The French rockets of World War I are described, as well as the bazooka, Calliope 4.5-inch battery rocket, the antisubmarine Projector Mark 10 ("Hedgehog"), the German Nebelwerfer 15 and 21-centimeter, Wurfgerat 21-centimeter incendiary rockets, and the British 3 and 5-inch rockets.

The history of polysulfide composite propellants is also covered, from the discovery by Dr. J.C. Patrick in 1928 of synthetic rubber.  Then the text moves on to the first Thiokol rockets, in 1949.  and continues describing the Minuteman, Sergeant, Falcon, Genie, Polaris, and Poseidon.  Also covered are the very large solid propellant boosters for the Space Shuttle. 

The book is dense with high-technology information not found elsewhere.  Several pages are devoted to solid propellants (double-base and composites), binders, additives, oxidizers (ammonium perchlorate, potassium perchlorate, lithium perchlorate, sodium perchlorate, and nitronium perchlorate; potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, and sodium nitrate; metallic fuels (aluminum, beryllium, and others) 

If you're interested in serious learning on the topic of solid propellant chemistry and engineering, this is an excellent introduction.  Here are some samples of the book's excellent illustrations (all greatly reduced from actual size):

If you design, build, test, or fly rockets or missiles (or make pyrotechnics, fireworks, igniters, explosives, or propellants), you'll want this superb reference textbook.  It’s especially useful for “amateur” rocket builders -- with its abundance of data and information.

Hard to find and now out-of-print, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's sharp, and clearly printed with a high-resolution laser printer (not photocopied) on high-quality, bright-white, 24-pound, acid-free paper for years of reference use.  36 pages, large and easy-to-read 11" x 8-1/2" size. 


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