"From Polymers to Propellants to Rockets:  A History of Thiokol"

E. S. Sutton
Thiokol Propulsion


....       Actual size is 11 x 8.5-inches

From Polymers to Propellants to Rockets:  A History of Thiokol

E. S. Sutton
Thiokol Propulsion

A complete and detailed, illustrated history of one of the world's leading rocket propulsion companies.  The book describes the events and people that created this dynamic company, and carried it forward with advanced solid propellants and giant rocket boosters.

The beginnings of Thiokol, in 1926, were full of serendipity and good luck.  This colorful document tells the story of the invention of synthetic rubber, and how that versatile polymer evolved into the rocket fuel used in thousands of rockets and missiles--including the Space Shuttle.

You'll learn how Thiokol rocket scientists and engineers came to build motors for the Falcon, Sergeant, Pershing, Spartan, Patriot, Hellfire, Maverick, Subrock, Standard, and Sidewinder missiles.  You'll also find information about the company's development of ICBM engines for the Minuteman, Poseidon, and Trident.  Then the story describes fabrication of Castor and other strap-on boosters for space launch vehicles.  The text also includes details for Star rocket motors, retro rockets, and the various kick motors used in the Viking and Pioneer space probes.

There's plenty of chemistry included, too, in case you're interested in how Thiokol polysulfide liquid rubbers and propellants are made.  (Chemical and physical properties of many Thiokol polymers are described.)

For the rocket scientist, the text includes the story about how Thiokol came to work with Theodore von Kármán GALCIT team at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), the American Rocket Society, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), to build the Thunderbird rocket motor.  [This book even describes the invention and history of the famed GALCIT 27 and GALCIT 61-C asphalt / perchlorate rocket propellants, used in Aerojet JATO rockets.]

The author tells about all the key people--civilian and military--involved in these various important projects.  He also describes the development of Thiokol's huge rocket factory in Utah, and the company's Huntsville, Alabama, works.  It's fascinating to learn how the first rocket propellants were mixed with small KitchenAid and Hobart kitchen mixers!

The Falcon air-to-air missile was Thiokol's first major production contract, and the book details how slit-plate vacuum-casting was used to remove mixing bubbles.  In fact, even advanced propellant chemists will appreciate the text's descriptions of cure exotherms, pressure exponents, and web designs.

A chapter is devoted to the development of the Sergeant--the first big polysulfide motor (with many descriptions of German V-2 and Hermes A-2 rocket tests at White Sands), and another tells about the discovery of PBAA, PBAN, and HTPB composite propellants.

Work with ammonium nitrate propellants is described, too, are the Navy Polaris and Air Force Minuteman projects.  Then the remainder of the book is devoted to the history of very large (146-inch, 156-inch, 260-inch) rocket engines.  These projects would lead to the solid rocket boosters still used on the Space Shuttle.

A large chapter focuses on "Space Motors for Satellites and Space Probes," and covers the Grand Central Loki, the NASA X-15, Project Mercury, Thor, and Delta engines.  Here you'll read about the invention and development of spherical rocket motors.

All this history is supported with fine photographs and detailed tables.  Exact propellant formulations are given--this once secret information alone is worth the price of the book!  There's also a long list of technical references for further study.  Thus it's an exceptional reference resource for the rocket scientist, engineer, and technician--professional or "amateur."

[These sample illustrations are at greatly reduced resolution and size]

This book is from the private collection of a retired rocket scientist.  43 pages, 11" x 8-1/2" size. 


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