sevenperforce

NK ICBM -- amateur analysis

43 posts in this topic

As you probably know, North Korea launched its first ICBM yesterday. Here's the propaganda shot:

North_Korea_Koreas_Tensions_28188.jpg

What can we figure out from this image?

We've got a central plume with two adjacent plumes. The plume is clear, so it's obviously a liquid-fueled engine. The barely-visible Mach diamonds suggest slight overexpansion. The two adjacent plumes are parallel to the central plume, so they're not Atlas-type differential Verniers. More likely they are for roll control, which means they can gimbal. I'm guessing kerolox based on the plume color but I'm not sure. 

Anything else we can determine?

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Orange smoke cloud, have seen that before but I'll have to dig to figure out the meaning of it.

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Posted (edited)

This smell of hypergolics in the morning...

P.S.
Is it really the rocket, not a rocket?

13 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

More likely they are for roll control, which means they can gimbal.

Nothing new under the Moon

Spoiler

mr-ur-100-raketa-02.jpg

 

14 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

I'm guessing kerolox based on the plume color

I'm guessing, NTO or nitric acid,

Btw, hot start, no powder mortar.

Edited by kerbiloid

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I think this rocket is Hypergolic and uses more storable fuels than Kerolox, i mean, Liquid Oxygen is cryogenic, wich means that it has to be cooled down fit in a fuel tank for a rocket. And keeping it cool for several years, maybe even decades is expensive. So no Kerolox, maybe something like NTO for an oxidizer, wich can be stored at room temperature.

The plume reminds me of the Titan, wich uses N2O4 and A-50.

GTlaunch.jpg

And from my observations, Kerolox plumes are "flamey" and less "torchey"

Here is a Kerolox plume for reference:

maxresdefault.jpg

Kerolox plumes also look alot more bright.

19 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

North Korea launched its first ICBM yesterday.

Not the first!

?m=02&d=20140326&t=2&i=870720937&w=&fh=5

(Could not find a better list)

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14 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

This smell of hypergolics in the morning...

Nothing new under the Moon

  Hide contents

mr-ur-100-raketa-02.jpg

I'm guessing, NTO or nitric acid,

Btw, hot start, no powder mortar.

I can't tell from the picture whether the LV shown has 2 or 4 roll thrusters.

And yes, it's significant that they didn't use a mortar to kick it up.

We know it's not peroxide a la Black Arrow. The reason I was thinking kerosene was due to the slight purplish hue, though upon review, it does look a bit like Proton

18 minutes ago, Kerbart said:

Orange smoke cloud, have seen that before but I'll have to dig to figure out the meaning of it.

Could easily just be the color of the dirt around the pad.

11 minutes ago, NSEP said:

I think this rocket is Hypergolic and uses more storable fuels than Kerolox, i mean, Liquid Oxygen is cryogenic, wich means that it has to be cooled down fit in a fuel tank for a rocket. And keeping it cool for several years, maybe even decades is expensive. So no Kerolox, maybe something like NTO for an oxidizer, wich can be stored at room temperature.

And from my observations, Kerolox plumes are "flamey" and less "torchey". Here is a Kerolox plume for reference:

Spoiler

maxresdefault.jpg

Kerolox plumes also look alot more bright.

Well, you're looking at a VERY tight engine cluster there, with some underexpansion, so it won't be about the same.

But, see above; it does look a lot like the Proton. Also, there's no icing on the exterior of the missile.

11 minutes ago, NSEP said:
31 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

As you probably know, North Korea launched its first ICBM yesterday.

Not the first!

It's not their first multistage cruise missile, but it's the first one which definitely has intercontinental range.

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We've already seen this engine flown and tested, it's a GG engine with four presumably moving verniers. It's the same one as on the HS-12 IRBM they flew a couple months back; the missile itself looks to be pretty much just a HS-12 with an upper stage.

Here's an image showing a clear view of the engine; 

 

14 minutes ago, NSEP said:

Not the first!

It's the first, 'Taepodong-2' is just the Unha space launcher. There was some assumption that Unha was a cover for an ICBM programme, but that never made much sense; the tech isn't good enough to be developed into a mobile ICBM (it's basically scaled-up scud tech), and the vehicle as it exists is completely impractical as a weapon. And, as we've now seen, they don't want to cover up their missile programmes. They want a deterrent, not some bond-villain style secret weapon.

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Posted (edited)

7 minutes ago, Kryten said:

It's the first, 'Taepodong-2' is just the Unha space launcher. There was some assumption that Unha was a cover for an ICBM programme, but that never made much sense; the tech isn't good enough to be developed into a mobile ICBM (it's basically scaled-up scud tech), and the vehicle as it exists is completely impractical as a weapon. And, as we've now seen, they don't want to cover up their missile programmes. They want a deterrent, not some bond-villain style secret weapon.

Not just the Teapodong 2! KN-08 has been tested in October 2016, and it still can reach outside Asia.

 

Edited by NSEP
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5 minutes ago, Kryten said:

We've already seen this engine flown and tested, it's a GG engine with four presumably moving verniers. It's the same one as on the HS-12 IRBM they flew a couple months back; the missile itself looks to be pretty much just a HS-12 with an upper stage.

Here's an image showing a clear view of the engine; 

 

It's the first, 'Taepodong-2' is just the Unha space launcher. There was some assumption that Unha was a cover for an ICBM programme, but that never made much sense; the tech isn't good enough to be developed into a mobile ICBM (it's basically scaled-up scud tech), and the vehicle as it exists is completely impractical as a weapon. And, as we've now seen, they don't want to cover up their missile programmes. They want a deterrent, not some bond-villain style secret weapon.

Very nice!

I see based on the wiki that it's UDMH and either NTO or nitric. GG is impressive, though.

Any word on whether the US was liquid or solid?

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Posted (edited)

ICBM is defined as 5,500km+, so KN-14/HS-12 falls short. It's an IRBM.

 

1 minute ago, sevenperforce said:

I see based on the wiki that it's UDMH and either NTO or nitric. GG is impressive, though.

Any word on whether the US was liquid or solid?

Unknown but probably liquid; the way the stage is put together it certainly looks liquid. 

Edited by Kryten

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Just now, Kryten said:

ICBM is defined as 5,500km+, so KN-14/HS-12 falls short. It's an IRBM.

KN-14 has 8,000/10,000km according to most sources i could find....

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There are a varying range of estimates on just how far the current incarnation can reach. With its lofted trajectory yesterday it reached a 2,802 km apogee and landed 933 km downrange. Worst-case scenario, how far do we think it could reach? 

Just now, NSEP said:

KN-14 has 8,000/10,000km according to most sources i could find....

The single-stage Hwasong-12 is 3,700-6,000 km. Probably someone misreported km as miles, then converted back to km.

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It's a confusion of the US designations. KN-14 was originally assigned to an ICBM design using a pair of R-27 ORSC engines, significantly fatter than HS-14. We've kept seeing that one over a long period of time (there are even pics of Kim Jong-Il stood next to one) but it's never been tested; it seems they still don't have enough confidence in the complex R-27 engines. Using the korean's own HS designations avoids this kind of confusion.

1 minute ago, sevenperforce said:

There are a varying range of estimates on just how far the current incarnation can reach. With its lofted trajectory yesterday it reached a 2,802 km apogee and landed 933 km downrange. Worst-case scenario, how far do we think it could reach? 

This test demonstrated about 6,700-7,000km range. Some people in south korea are saying it could maybe do 8,000km+, presumably with a smaller warhead. Statements of 10,000km are based on the old KN-14 design.

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Just now, sevenperforce said:

The single-stage Hwasong-12 is 3,700-6,000 km. Probably someone misreported km as miles, then converted back to km.

I actually read on Wikipedia that there was a 'conflict' between sources. So i geuss, the misreport is right. But even if, the KN-14 still has 5,500+, at maximum range i geuss.

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Here's a good comparison between the new HS-14 and the old ICBM designs. The truck is the same model in each image; you can see how much skinnier it is. It just doesn't have the impulse to reach 10,000km; if they want to do that, and they do, they need to go back to the drawing board and make a bigger missile with this tech.

Or get KN-14 working; it's not looking likely now, but it's not impossible.

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34 minutes ago, Kryten said:

Unknown but probably liquid; the way the stage is put together it certainly looks liquid. 

What makes you say that?

Have they ever shown the capability to ignite a liquid-fueled second stage?

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Just now, sevenperforce said:

What makes you say that?

The solid missiles we've seen from them so far have a very obvious wound-filament construction. You can see the filaments in high-res images;

nk2.jpg

Whereas the HS-14 second stage is smooth metal, like the first stage.

3 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Have they ever shown the capability to ignite a liquid-fueled second stage?

Yes. the Unha second and probably third stages, as well as the Paektusan second stage back in the 90s.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, NSEP said:

Kerolox plumes also look alot more bright.

Kerolox must be bright because of white-hot particles of soot in the flame.
Hypergolic have no carbon, No soot - no light, transparent flame.

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by kerbiloid
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9 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Kerolox must be bright because of white-hot particles of soot in the flame.
Hypergolic have no carbon, No soot - no light, transparent flame.

  Reveal hidden contents

 

 

Yeah, thats why. Thanks, never really know that!

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Hm. I think I'll start with my theory from r/space: that it's basically an oversized SCUD-D; it makes sense to duplicate the existing system, with AK-27I freeze-proof storable Inhibited Red Fuming Nitric Acid oxidizer (note absence of a storage container protecting the missile from the cold), a Tonka-250 (TG-02) or UDMH hypergolic starting plug, and a tank of ordinary kerosene for fuel.

I'm afraid I have to agree with @kerbiloid's soot argument - the lack of a soot trail on the subject missile is telling. Guess NK has more UDMH than I thought.

We could rule out Tonka if we had any footage of a Tonka-based rocket. I'm afraid I can't find any for Kh-22/AS-4 Kitchen.

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If the soot from carbon in kerosene is what makes the kerolox exhaust trail glow, why didn't the Black Arrow have a visible exhaust plume?

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Posted (edited)

Maybe it had excess of oxidizer and carbon atoms got bound into gaseous carbon oxides.
Flame without solid particles is mostly transparent. So, kerolox and solid boosters make bright white torches, while hydrogen and hypergolics - not.

Also, Gamma engine had a block of silver catalyzers. HTP dissociated in it into oxygen and water, then kerosene was mixed with this, all this stuff was 2300° hot.
The same catalyzer trick, as I can see here in the book, was used in all old British rocket engines. Maybe that's how it works.

Edited by kerbiloid

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This performance is simply not possible with scud propellants. Plus, they've demonstrated they can get the ORSC UMDH/NTO 4D10 engine running. Why would they revert to scud tech after that?

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Btw that's about that "hypergolics are too expensive" song.
If even DPRK...

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Kryten said:

This performance is simply not possible with scud propellants. Plus, they've demonstrated they can get the ORSC UMDH/NTO 4D10 engine running. Why would they revert to scud tech after that?

Because it's a motor for SLBMs. NTO isn't fit for outdoor storage in wintertime, same as Aerozine-50; NTO and IRFNA are roughly the same tech level, just have different applications due to the latter's liquidity range.

It's NTO for strategic silo-based missiles, and IRFNA (or ClF3... or ClF5) for tactical ones, as per John Clarke.

Edited by DDE

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Posted (edited)

As far as I read, RCS of TKS VA also used acid instead of NTO for same reason: it was too far from body and they decided to keep it simple and unwarmed.

Edited by kerbiloid

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