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[1.8.1-1.11.2] Bluedog Design Bureau - Stockalike Saturn, Apollo, and more! (v1.7.3 "Огромный" 19/Apr/2021)


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19 minutes ago, CobaltWolf said:

I've been too quiet lately...

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Shame on you for not toggling the F1 insulation on! :D
 

In all seriousness, I am speechless. This is really incredible, I can’t believe that I’ll get to play with it!

Edited by Clamp-o-Tron
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1 hour ago, CobaltWolf said:

I've been too quiet lately...




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Yay you solved it!

Looking good!  

1 hour ago, DylanSemrau said:

Hey I think this CobaltWolf guy might be pretty good at this

No, not really,  You can't back that up :D

 

1 hour ago, Clamp-o-Tron said:

Shame on you for not toggling the F1 insulation on! :D
 

GAK!  you evil evil KSP player.... using Asbestos in your game.    Keep spreading that lung cancer please :D

 

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1 hour ago, DylanSemrau said:

Hey I think this CobaltWolf guy might be pretty good at this

I beg to differ. :wink:
He is quite good at this. :P

16 minutes ago, Pappystein said:

using Asbestos in your game.    Keep spreading that lung cancer please :D

Mmmmm asbestos tastes the bestos 

Edited by Spaceman.Spiff
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Agena, the upper stage that killed its better competitor, so that its competitor’s big brother could live.

AKA: Agena, The Program that Brought Emotions to a Head in Several Space Based Governmental Organizations

AKA: Agena, The stage that was managed by big bullies who didn’t like new kids coming to play in the playground

AKA: Agena, a History of Playground Bullies in Space.

AKA: I am having fun with titles for this article! :D

 

Spoiler

Welcome to the next edition of Rocket History with Pappystein.   I am a bit more opinionated about Agena, and the various organizations trying to get to space then on most things I talk about, so I will do my best to clearly mark out my opinions as such.   The Titles are the first opinion you get to contend with :D

Like my previous Titan Article, this subject is broken down into chapters.   A lot of previously “unrelated” data is in this article.   Specifically, on the origin of Agena, the three big Agenas and Agena E.   Wait! Stop the presses, did you say Agena E you might ask…   YUP, thanks to team BDB’s efforts on the KH-9 Hexagon, plus the official history of the Agena, we now know there was supposed to be a new Agena that was canceled in or about 1967, the same exact day the “Agena D upgrade” was canceled.  Originally Agena E was supposed to be the power behind KH-9 when launching KH-9 off a Titan 33B.   Obviously like I have during this time of COVID-19… KH-9 got too big.

It is the discovery of the Agena E that spurred me onto digging further into the background of Agena to give Agena a better spot in my histories I am writing… and to further roast the original bad boy upper stage, because Agena killed the better upper stage, Vega!  Whoops! I said it… Yeah that is my opinion.

With rare exception I will not be covering the US Army’s almost duplicate program at the Redstone Arsenal except where it intersects with Vega.   There are two bullies in this article already.  We do not need five of them in this article making the article an even bigger mess!

Unlike my previous articles I am going to do my best to list my sources… even if I do not cite them properly.   This is because unlike my last articles, I am defaming a lot of organizations with my opinion.   And while it is my opinion and I have a right to it, I want you the reader to be able to draw your own opinion instead of just relying on my rather Janus type opinion.  EG Agena was an amazing upper stage / Agena can roast in hell it should be burnt with fire depending on what sentence I am typing at the time!

I do want to be clear.  Any time an Organization feels they are being tread upon by a different organization there is going to be fractious behavior.  The 1950s-1960s and Space was just such a place where many organizations (US Governmental organizations) each fought, sometimes excessively for their perceived piece of the space pie.   You have the USAF-CIA-NRO,  USAF alone, US Army, NACA-NASA, and lets not forget the US Navy!   Each thought THEY were destined to control space.

So primary sources:

https://www.nro.gov/Portals/65/documents/foia/declass/WS117L_Records/115.PDF

The above is just one of several Weapon System 117L documents used from the NRO FOIA archives but it includes much of the early history of Agena.

Document history of Agena circa 1971 by NRO is a fun way to burn your eyes out reading poorly copied/stored documents on Agena.  But it has many good nuggets of fact for this series of documents.

Lockheed NASA documents on Lockheed Shuttle Agena proposal 1972 series: available via NASA NRTS server

Lockheed NASA documents on Lockheed Shuttle Agena proposal 1974 series: available via NASA NRTS server, the conclusion document is what drove the BDB SOT drop tanks for Agena currently in game.

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search?q=Shuttle Agena

The above link gets you both sets of NASA documents listed above!

Several documents from TheSpaceReview.com including KH-9 histories as well as Corona/Samos etc histories are used in this document.   These are not primary sources so I won’t list them in detail.

Many documents from NASASpaceFlight.com’s L2 servers were used.   I do not list them because you need a membership to view them.     If you want in on the “secret sauce” I highly recommend a lifetime membership!  

And while it is used in an ancillary role covering the development of better fuels:  IGNITION by John D Clark is an amazing book on Rocket fuel and everyone should have a copy!

 

Ok now that that pile of crap is out of the way :D lets dive into why you are reading this…. The History of Agena:

The next chapter release is scheduled for next week…

 

 

 

 

 

KIDDING!

To understand Agena you need to first understand where it came from.   You see Agena was started by two un-related companies doing two un-related things with two different contracting organizations also doing un-related things.  The fact that these two companies’ ideas could gel into a functional and workable system is an amazing story unto itself.   I will not bore you with most of those details, however.  Suffice to say Agena started in the mid-1950s… as a nuclear armed missile.

Yes, a nuclear armed missile.   You see the USAF had just spent a bunch of money making their new B-58 Hustler Mach 2 “strategic” bomber.  It was a Curtis LeMay special I should add, and any of you who know the history of Strategic Air Command or the B-29 bombing campaign of Japan in WWII likely has come across that name.  General LeMay was known for being hardheaded yet full of innovative ideas.   He was better than average at math, he saw solutions to problems other people considered insurmountable, unavoidable or impossible.  Liked by some, feared by many LeMay is in fact the bulk of the genesis of Agena, without even trying.  LeMay, seeing the writing on the wall as it were, wanted ways to make his new expensive B-58 Hustler able to safely nuke the enemy targets and then get the crew and craft home, or at least away from the blasts.    The USAF’s Wright Field engineering and testing division was the main organization handling the Rocket Pod for the B-58 (as well as most of the B-58 program.)  This fact will be important later.

The B-58 Hustler is an interesting aircraft.   Designed for speed it did not have a bomb bay. Rather it carried a large external “Pod” that carried the single nuclear warhead it would drop.  Latter as Nuclear warheads shrank in size it became possible to equip the plane with the “two component pod” or TCP which was a saddle shaped drop tank suspended below a much smaller diameter nuclear bomb.   As an alternative to the TCP, the “Rocket Pod” was developed.  It would have JP-4 jet fuel and what would latter be called IRFNA-3 Nitric Acid as fuel and oxidizer and would have a range of about 50 to 150 nautical miles.   The goal here was to keep the aircraft out of the direct nuclear blast so the crew had a good chance to survive.  Bell Aircraft Corporation won the contest to build their liquid fueled engine for this Nuclear missile… yeah you guessed it, the engine was the original XLR-81 that was famously used on the Agena.   The Rocket Pod never really got anywhere other than the development of the XLR-81, major shortcomings in inertial guidance at the time, and the higher priority of the ICBM would lead to the Rocket Pod’s cancelation.   If the ICBM had not already been for lack of a better term, pushed through the Rocket Pod would have been completed and fully tested.   At this point because of these limitations Wright Field has a well-designed Rocket engine with no use for it.

About this same time, aka 1955-1957, RAND Corporation and Ramo Woodbridge Corporation were working with the USAF “Western Division” on what would be come the Atlas and Titan I ICBMs.   RAND and Ramo Woodbridge both saw the potential of these new ICBMs and there smaller IRBM/MRBMs to get things into Space.   RAND Corporation based on their “ideal” diameter of 9ft sketched a 9ft diameter upper stage for satellite launch.  This ingloriously named “9ft Upper Stage” would be powered by the new ABLE engine, the AJ10 of unknown version.  The fuel load would be JP4 and IRFNA-3 and it would be equipped with two vernier engines as engine gimballing on the AJ10 had not been proven or designed yet.   Shortly after this was sketched out by RAND and shared with Ramo Woodbridge the idea was floated to the USAF.   The USAF asked Ramo Woodbridge to refine the idea while RAND corporation moved onto other projects.   To be clear until the letting of actual contracts RAND was still involved with their 9ft Upper Stage but were taking a backseat role to Ramo Woodbridge.   Ramo Woodbridge spent some time talking about size restrictions of the Upper to lower stage.   At this point of development, not a lot was known about flying in vacuum conditions, so it was believed that every rocket had to have that ideal “.50 caliber bullet shape” that saw the X-1 break the sound barrier.   Of course, they were all wrong, we can clearly see that today, but back then when all you had was a slide rule to do your advanced calculus equations and it could take weeks to solve a math problem…   Well, you get the idea.   Ramo Woodbridge settled on a stage that would have a maximum diameter of five feet instead of the nine feet of the originally proposed RAND upper stage.   This was chosen so the rocket’s own aerodynamics would not be disturbed and to reduce the amount of re-engineering for the upcoming Thor and Atlas Rockets, both of which had about a five-foot interconnect area with their warhead bus.

Now with the project in USAF hands it was classified and given the name “Pied Piper.”  The upper stage was to be used for a series of 3 proposed space-based surveillance systems.    The stage, while narrower than original envisioned was still powered by a now UDMH/IRFNA-3 fueled AJ10 engine and still had two vernier engines for general attitude control.

Here is where the available FOIA documents get blurry… literally.  Pied Piper was never offered to Lockheed MSC as I can see.    One of the various engineers from RAND, a Robert Salter, working now for Lockheed Missile and Space Company, on mostly his own initiative started looking into Satellite launch on 3rd party ICBMs after Lockheed MSC was down selected for the alternate (Titan) ICBM program.   However, the competition of Pied Piper and Lockheed MSC’s involvement still had no solid connection.   While I have no facts in evidence to back this up, I believe that the CIA’s use of the Lockheed Skunk Works for the U-2 Dragonlady and A-12 Blackbird are what led to Lockheed MSC being approved for Pied Piper.  The company you know etc.   An alternative interpretation of the data was the 1956 Earth Satellite program which started latter than Pied Piper was a “introduction” of companies to the USAF satellite program Pied Piper.  

Now in 1956 the USAF let a white (as in public) contract for an “Earth Satellite” this program started as a limited budget pie in the sky kind of contract.  That is to say, no hardware was going to be built, the USAF was just looking for ideas with simple engineering behind them so as to have a way to judge what kind of talent pool they might have to issue a future contract to.  Just about every aviation contractor in the United States was invited to participate, except Martin Company and Consolidated Vultee (aka Convair AKA General Dynamics,) because Atlas and Titan.   Lockheed MSC chose to participate in this contract and because of the work done on their own initiative had a decided edge vs the competition.   Once a “launcher” was chosen it was to be the Atlas C standard ICBM.   Convair stated the Atlas C could only lift 3500lbs as required by USAF standards.   Lockheed MSC/Salter doing their own calculations based on data Salter had from RAND, concluded that these throw weights quoted were hugely conservative and the basic Atlas C could carry 15,000lbs safely, with a nose area re-enforcement strap.   Salter and Lockheed MSC began their Earth satellite assuming a 10,000lb payload on Atlas.

Now here is where that FOIA blurriness really comes to the for-front.   Lockheed MSC submitted a Pied Piper two stage plan to the USAF.  Pied Piper Pioneer was a 3,500lb mass satellite including 2nd stage and Pied Piper Advance would be a 7800lb vehicle.   Remember, they, Lockheed MSC was competing for the 3,500lb Earth Satellite program… yet they are submitting a proposal under Pied Piper taking advantage of design changes to the Atlas that have not even been investigated at Convair!   While there are a lot of declassified documents citing communications between the various companies and USAF branches there is no clear document that either invites Lockheed MSC to compete in Pied Piper or even a public program acknowledgement of said program.   Pied Piper was a Grey program at this juncture (a few parts public and many parts considered secret or above.)  

Oh, and Pied Piper Pioneer is basically an Agena A with an AJ10 main engine and two supplemental verniers for attitude control.    Pied Piper Advanced?  Yep, an Agena B with the Pioneer’s AJ10 engine arrangement!

Enter USAF Wright Field, Bell, and the Rocket Pod:  

During the Earth Satellite program, both USAF Western Division (ICBM) and USAF Wright Field were involved in the process.  This is one of the few times that Wright Field was involved directly with a space based program.   Up until about this point, Wright Field was THE experimental and design headquarters for the US Army Air Corp and later the USAF.   Starting in the late 1940s however the move to what would become Edwards Air Force base was begun and Wright Field was feeling the “pull” of jobs and projects away from the original home of the US Army Air Corp experimental and design center.    Wright Field was responsible for the B-58’s Rocket Pod program, meaning it is here in the Earth Satellite program that an alternative to the AJ10 exists.   The alternative is the Bell Aircraft Corporation XLR81.  Now Bell is hungry for a contract.  They have an engine that has just lost it’s only function but it is a perfectly workable and usable engine.  At this same time, Aerojet is working its collective tail off trying to meet all the contract requirements for Titan, Able, Project Phoenix, Large SRM… etc.  This means that Aerojet did not have the engineering capacity to also work on a gimbaled version of their AJ10 at the time.  Mind you gimballing for the AJ10 would come soon but not soon enough for the design process undertaken for Pied Piper.   Bell was willing to put the effort in and modify their existing engine to meet new requirements on the quick and on the cheap.   The engine bell was slightly extended from the original design, gimballing hardware was designed, and investigations into better fuel for space were begun.   All in the span of a few weeks.   You see, Bell knew their engine might be a winner in space so they were working on all these problems even before the Earth Satellite program, with their own funds according to one telephone conversation log.

Pied Piper Pioneer becomes Agena A. 

While the original payload envisioned in Pied Piper was never built, Agena A would become synonymous with the latter Keyhole / Corona / SAMOS programs.  Agena A combines the Bell XLR81 engine in its Bell Engine Company’s 8001 and after two flights, 8048 versions.   The 8001 being a space-rated prototype based on the original Hustler Rocket Pod engine, still using JP-4 as fuel, and having a short bell with a 15:1 expansion ratio.    8048 switched to the Hypergolic combination of UDMH for fuel and the same IRFNA-3 nitric acid for oxidizer as 8001.   The bell on 8048 grew to a 20:1 bell and with the weight savings by using Hypergolic fuel meant the engine barely gained any weight.     

The Avionics was at best crude on the Agena A.   Each mission had to have a custom-made Avionics structure and component list.   The avionics combined into the Guidance Control Unit or GCU was at the top directly below the Payload fairing.  Between it and the engine was the so-called Forward rack.  Which was, on some missions, an empty void in the spaceframe.   Other missions it was crammed with parts of the GCU or it was used for small experiments.   This forward rack would see the biggest changes from Agena to Agena as to what was in it or invading its space.   The forward rack was open to the bottom side of the GCU allowing the GCU direct access to this space.   Some documents call the avionics on Agena the Telemetry Response Unit (TRU) others the Guidance Control unit (GCU.)  For sake of standardization this series of articles uses the term GCU as this is an important distinction for latter USAF Agena programs.

Each Agena A’s GCU was hand-built depending on mission flight profile, duration, altitude it was to fly, attitude of the agena stage itself.   The attitude control seems to be where most of the changes from mission to mission happened on the GCU.   This was because computers, in a small compact form, did not economically or numerically exist in 1957.  Each flight had a unique profile that would require different modules to be added or removed from the GCU to provide a unique to the mission list of timed commands or a list of orders picked and sent by ground control.   In the initial Pied Piper plans, the GCU would have extended from the fuel tank into the PLF.   Early in the design process, it was realized that the GCU invading the payload envelop significantly reduced payload potential.  To solve this engineering issue a structure, the previously mentioned Forward Rack was added between the fuel tank and the GCU.  

Next week we will NOT cover Agena B.  But rather someone else.   

 

I had hoped to get the entire Agena Article done in one swoop.  Sadly after last week + how hard many of these FOIA documents are to actually read, I may not be done with writing this article until I post the last chapter!      I hope to at least post one chapter a week until I am done.

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1 hour ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

Mmmmm asbestos tastes the bestos 

If you or a loved one was licked the insulation on an F1 engine you may be entitled to financial compensation.

1-800-367-LAW NOW

Edited by SpaceFace545
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Little issue, on some engines both the RealPlume effects and Waterfall effects will appear at the same time, as you can kind of see in this screenshot:

screenshot171.png

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Great mod! I love the new Saturn parts revamp. I have a question regarding waterfall in relation to solid fuel rockets: I know that currently there is no way to make it replicate correctly sea level solid boosters, but could it be used on at least the vacuum solid fuel rockets, like the ones on the scout? Thanks!

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On 3/11/2021 at 6:22 PM, zakkpaz said:

i know your moving old parts to a separate folder so i point out something i just noticed,  to unlock the RL-10 upgrades in career you need to still have the old hidden RL-10

I think I've run into a similar problem with the Castor IVA upgrade, however this time adding the old part back to the mod file doesn't fix it.

 

also love the Saturn V can't wait to fly it

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3 hours ago, KeaKaka said:

Little issue, on some engines both the RealPlume effects and Waterfall effects will appear at the same time, as you can kind of see in this screenshot:

 

If you see this again please let me know the specifics. Just pushed a fix for the Delta AJ10s

1 hour ago, zakkpaz said:

I think I've run into a similar problem with the Castor IVA upgrade, however this time adding the old part back to the mod file doesn't fix it.

What exactly is the issue? The RL10s were due to the fact it used the old model for the icon (which has been fixed) but as far as I can see the Castor upgrades look fine in the config and reference the correct the icons too.

2 hours ago, Beccab said:

Great mod! I love the new Saturn parts revamp. I have a question regarding waterfall in relation to solid fuel rockets: I know that currently there is no way to make it replicate correctly sea level solid boosters, but could it be used on at least the vacuum solid fuel rockets, like the ones on the scout? Thanks!

Its possible for solid vacuum plumes like the kick stages but doing so is not a priority right now, will get to it eventually.

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The same issue happens to me on the Sina LEM engines, both descent and ascent, with the master from a couple of days ago. Kane SPS is fine though.

The new Waterfall effects look absolutely fantastic though. I love what you have done with them and eagerly check for new tweaks on github every day. Looking forward to the Apollo release!

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23 minutes ago, Roger Workman said:

The same issue happens to me on the Sina LEM engines, both descent and ascent, with the master from a couple of days ago. Kane SPS is fine though.

The new Waterfall effects look absolutely fantastic though. I love what you have done with them and eagerly check for new tweaks on github every day. Looking forward to the Apollo release!

Thanks, pushed a couple more fixes for those and a few others.

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8 hours ago, Zorg said:

What exactly is the issue? The RL10s were due to the fact it used the old model for the icon (which has been fixed) but as far as I can see the Castor upgrades look fine in the config and reference the correct the icons too.

the issue is the upgrade isn't in the tech tree, unless I'm just not seeing it.  it should be in advanced rocketry if i'm reading the .cfg right

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hey, I'm wondering if someone may be able to help me get to the bottom of an issue that is plaguing a ship of mine. I have 5 of the 'tempel2' ION engines fitted, and for some reason I cannot burn for any length of time before they overheat and loose their thrust, Thermal heat systems also heat up too whilst engines are under thrust. But as I understood it, looking through the config file for them, they have a heat production value of 0, so cannot understand why they are overheating. If it is any help, I have SMURFF installed, I don't know whether that alters these engines in any way, and have also adjusted the standard size of them using Tweakscale. The BDB I'm using according to the changelog is v1.7.1. 

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On 3/14/2021 at 5:08 PM, CobaltWolf said:

I've been too quiet lately...

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May as well ask this now. Are we going to see Texture variations for the Saturn family, like the all-white tanks on later Saturn IBs, or the Saturn V Dynamic Test Article?

UYSXMAGXUAJHCKCKM7CWQV75TQ.jpg

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3 hours ago, pTrevTrevs said:

May as well ask this now. Are we going to see Texture variations for the Saturn family, like the all-white tanks on later Saturn IBs, or the Saturn V Dynamic Test Article?

UYSXMAGXUAJHCKCKM7CWQV75TQ.jpg

oh my god its beautiful! id love to see them add this :o 

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8 hours ago, si2504 said:

hey, I'm wondering if someone may be able to help me get to the bottom of an issue that is plaguing a ship of mine. I have 5 of the 'tempel2' ION engines fitted, and for some reason I cannot burn for any length of time before they overheat and loose their thrust, Thermal heat systems also heat up too whilst engines are under thrust. But as I understood it, looking through the config file for them, they have a heat production value of 0, so cannot understand why they are overheating. If it is any help, I have SMURFF installed, I don't know whether that alters these engines in any way, and have also adjusted the standard size of them using Tweakscale. The BDB I'm using according to the changelog is v1.7.1. 

BDB has a thermal patch that rebalances the (BDB) engines thermal output based on performance. Some engines however need to be handled separately and the Ion engine was missed out last time. This will be fixed in the next update.

In the meantime you can go to Bluedog_DB/Thermal and delete the file there or you can replace it with https://github.com/CobaltWolf/Bluedog-Design-Bureau/blob/master/Gamedata/Bluedog_DB/Patches/Thermal/engines.cfg

12 hours ago, zakkpaz said:

the issue is the upgrade isn't in the tech tree, unless I'm just not seeing it.  it should be in advanced rocketry if i'm reading the .cfg right

I'll take a look.

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Shiny configs for TU are also available in BDBNIC

Edit: though I think it actually needs updating for the new Centaur G/T

Edited by Friznit
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