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Old 02-01-2019, 11:24 PM
luke strawwalker's Avatar
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Default Article-- Three booster Titan IV

This is part of an article I picked up somewhere along the way that's been hiding in my space program documents on my hard drive. It's a magazine article from 1988 about upgrades to the Titan vehicles, particularly the (then) new Titan IV. For some reason, part of the diagram of the rocket is incomplete or damaged in some way, but it's still an interesting read and neat to see... Even if rather "far out" in the realms of possibilities...

Basically, the idea was, add a THIRD SRM to the Titan IV with a beefed up core stage to handle the extra power. Get up to about 50 tons in LEO capability. Would make an interesting model rocket, that's for sure...

**IF** there were going to be a three-booster variant of anything, it would have been Titan... I think they would have had better luck adapting their infrastructure to stack, transport, and launch Titans with three boosters than anything else... SOME totally farcical concept work was done on adding a third shuttle SRB (or even a fourth SRB) to things like Ares V or various "Magnum launcher" proposals over the years (many of which I've covered in study summaries) but they all overlook the fact that the shuttle boosters are INCREDIBLY HUGE and IMPOSSIBLY HEAVY. Basically, the two-booster version of the Shuttle came near to maxing out the capabilities of the crawlers, crawlerways, pads, and other infrastructure at KSC. Solids have the HUGE disadvantage that they must be handled FULLY FUELED, so they are ENORMOUSLY heavy and difficult to move. The old "uprated Saturn" proposals that came out which would have added huge 260 inch SRM's (the Aerojet 260" boosters they were developing and test fired in southern Florida) to the Saturn V got "around the problem" by having a additional layer of new infrastructure added to handle these TRULY enormous and mega-heavy MONOLITHIC boosters... They would have had the crawler transport the stacked Saturn V to the pad, deposit it and its Main Launching Platform (MLP) it was sitting on at the pad, and then bring in a platform with cranes and equipment to add the gigantic 260 inch boosters to the Saturn V... these mega-cranes would lift the enormous boosters upright, snuggle them in beside the empty (of propellants) Saturn V, and then attach them to the core of the uprated Saturn V. It would repeat the process until all the boosters (4) were attached and checked out. Then the crawler would remove the solids handling platform back to the safe area, and the Saturn could be fueled and launched.

Of course, even this work didn't address the fact that basically it would be SO heavy and produce SO much thrust that it risked destroying the MLP and the pad underneath supporting it all. Even the six segment boosters that were proposed as the "dying gasp" of Ares V to boost its performance to what was needed were going to be too much weight for the crawler, crawlerways, pads, and VAB foundations to handle while it was being assembled, and there was NO money for beefing all those things up to handle the additional weight. That's why they settled on the 5.5 segment boosters for Ares V-- it was as large as they could go and **just barely** squeak in under the weight limit imposed by the supporting infrastructure at KSC that would have to assemble, transport, support, and launch the things...

Anyway, here's the article and a couple of screen caps I grabbed and corrected for ease of use...

Later! OL J R
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:39 AM
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