21 thoughts on “Sats from Underground”

  1. Cool. Liquid fuel. You can see it from the almost invisible flame. Big rockets usually use solid fuel, like the ones used to launch the shuttle (the shuttle itself uses liquid fuel). That thing must be expensive.

  2. That’s a very cool set of photos.

    Quite apart from their outstanding quality as images, they show things that I would’ve thought are classified all the way to hell…

    Like, watch the first threee shots – no gas plumes from the exhaust vents! Because, like, there aren’t any: the missile doesn’t emerge from the silo under it’s own power, there’s a little ejector cartridge using a very slow-burning fuel so as not to damage the delicate machinery of the ICBM.

    That makes me wonder if this isn’t a submarine-launched missile in a land silo. Or maybe that’s just the way they build them all.

    Eventually, we get the main engine ignition – a nervous moment for the ground grew, as a failure to ignite means that several tons of high-explosive fuel AND the oxidiser fall back into the silo and ignite very successfully indeed.

    Missile silos are built to withstand external blasts but I bet the crew were always nervous about internal ones and the enery to get a payload into orbit – or fractional orbit, for an ICBM – is around a kiloton.

    The ignition sequence shows a yellow flame turning transparent blue: that means a hydrocarbon liquid fuel, almost certainly kerosine; and a liquid oxidiser – probably LOX (liquid Oxygen), or maybe Hydrogen Peroxide.

    Note that there’s a contaminant visible in the exhaust pkume of one of the engines: the brown tinge is likely due to debris from the ejector charge rather than a badly-maintained nozzle or fuel contamination. Whatever it is, it burned off quickly – but that’s right on the edge of what a rocket can tolerate because the damn’ things are built with razor-thin design margins.

    If they weren’t they wouldn’t get to orbit: rockets really are ‘rocket science’, they are right at the edge of what is possible with fuels and materials. Did I mention that rockets are fragile?

    • That does not mean a hydrocarbon liquid fuel. Please, pay attention to pic. 1_010. You can see red stream of nitric oxide. This rocket (SS-18) use nitric tetraoxide and dimethilhydrazine.

  3. Wow – great pictures. I’ll bet there’s a serious pucker-factor going on in the US space command every time one of those things launches… “Ummm… Bob? Are you _sure_ it’s a satellite?”

  4. Japan Tsunami (Earthquake: tsunami wave hitting Sendai airport) DONATE TO JAPAN THEY NEED


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