The Meco Newsletter

December 23, 2022

Issue #2🎄

A Brisk Narrative on Most Popular Tweets This Month
Today, we look at more exoteric technology and methods used to create rocket engine turbines and a nation’s flirtation with orbital launch capability that turned out to be a one-launch stand.

Procedural supersonic turbine prototype done in FreeCAD
Design of supersonic rotor blade section using method of characteristics (MOC)

Supersonic Turbine Rotor Blade Design with Method of Characteristics

I Spent Too Much Time on This #WorthIt

Mixing FreeCAD with C++ and OpenCascade to prototype procedural supersonic turbine model creation. 🚀 #FreeCADFriday

Screenshot of simulated supersonic turbine using method of characteristics (MOC)

Crystal Mats To Avoid Breaking Badly

Single-crystal materials allow higher operational temperatures and rpm, which improves power and efficiency.

The RS-25 employed Single-Crystal Turbine Blades to help in reusability.

Here, we see how a nickel-base superalloy blade solidifies after casting: (a) equiaxed morphology, (b) columnar grains, and (c) single crystal.

Analogy: Graphite (a) vs. Diamond (c)

Single-crystal turbine blades structure comparision

The Unfortunate History British Launch Capability

Color illustration of the Black Arrow rocket

The Hope

The Black Arrow, developed during the 1960s, was fuelled by RP-1 paraffin (kerosene) burnt using high-test peroxide as an oxidizer.

The oxidizer tanks were located below the fuel tanks, making the rocket more stable and easier to control.

Schematic of Britain's Black Arrow carrier rocket featuring the first, seond and thrid stages. Engine configuration, propellant tanks and payload configuration are shown.

The Impulse

The first stage of Black Arrow was powered by a single Gamma 8 engine, which burned for 127 seconds.

The second stage was powered by a two-chamber Gamma 2.

It placed the Prospero satellite into low Earth orbit on its 4th and final flight in 1971.

Photograph of a single Gamma-8 rocket engine mounted on the Black Arrow's first stage
Photograph of the Gamma-2 two-chamber rocket engine mounted on the Black Arrow's second stage
Photograph of Black Arrow rocket on the stand

The Unfortunate End

The United Kingdom is the sixth nation to place a satellite into orbit and the only country to have successfully developed a satellite launch capability and then abandoned it.

After it was canceled, NASA withdrew its offer to launch British payloads for free.

Happy holidays and I wish you all the best for 2023 ❤️

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