Lots of impulse

Thanks to The Rocketry Blog for the link to this video from today’s QM-1 static test:

Peak thrust is 3.6 million pounds. I think average thrust would be about 2.9 million pounds, or 13 MN (meganewtons). Two minutes firing time gives a total impulse of about 1.6 GN-s (giganewton-seconds).

Coincidentally, Rocketry Victoria has been getting headlines about this upcoming weekend’s attempt to fly a full scale replica of a V-2, the largest amateur rocket ever built. It’s “only” going up on a single O motor, though. I have no idea what the record for amateur impulse is, but further down on that same page you can see Dave Couzens’ Full Scale IRIS with seven M3400 motors in the booster and one O3700 in the sustainer — that’s got to be pretty high up there in the impulse records. Total impulse for that is 7 x 9994.5 + 29919.9 = 99881.4 Ns.

So QM-1 = 16000 x IRIS, roughly. Or putting it another way, within a factor of two or so:

QM-1 : IRIS :: IRIS : Estes Alpha


Anyway, congratulations, NASA and Orbital-ATK; and good luck, Rocketry Victoria, Dave Couzens, and anyone planning to fly an Alpha (or anything in between or beyond) this weekend!



One thought on “Lots of impulse

  1. 1.6 GN-s would roughly be an AE class motor; assuming that AA follows a Z class motor. For reference, an ATK GEM-40 (40″ dia x 37′ long) is class Y at about ~32 MN-s, and a GEM-60 (60″ dia x 43′ long) would be class Z at about 80 MN-s. The GEM-40 is used as a strap-on booster for the Delta II, and the GEM-60 is used on the Delta IV. The Atlas V uses the Aerojet SRB strap-on that is 62″ x 56′ and produces about 100 MN-s or class AA. The shuttle derived SRB is truly massive!

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