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Hybrid Rockets History
A Brief History of Hybrid Rocket Technology
Hybrid rocket propulsion has been studied and experimented with since the 1930's and possibly earlier. This document aims to give a brief, non-comprehensive overview of the history of hybrid rockets.
Early History (1932-1960)
- 1932-1933: GIRD-9 (Soviet)- Liquid oxygen (LOX)/Gellified gasoline 60lbf. thrust motor. Built by Tikhonravov and the Korolev group. First flight August, 1933.
- 1937: Coal/Gaseous Nitrous Oxide hybrid motor (Germany). 2,500lbf. thrust.
- 1938-1939: LOX/Graphite (Germany) - built by H. Oberth.
- 1938-1941: Coal/GOX (USA) - built by California Rocket Society.
- 1947: Douglas Fir/LOX (USA) - built by Pacific Rocket Society.
- 1951-1956: Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)/Polyethylene (USA) - GE initiates investigation into hybrids.
CSD's Li/LiH/PBAN-F2/O2 Hybrid Measured Isp=400 sec
Era of Enlightenment (1960-1980)
Important research was done at several large aerospace companies in the 1960's including:
- Chemical Systems Division of UTC - Testing up to 40 klbf., Li/LiH/PBAN/FLOX motor developed 400s measured Isp, significant modeling efforts.
- LPC: Lockheed Propulsion Company.
- SRI: Stanford Research Institute.
- ONERA (France)
Between 1964 and 1984, several flight systems developed including:
- Target drone programs by Chemical Systems Division of UTC (Sandpiper, HAST, Firebolt).
- LEX Sounding Rocket (ONERA, France).
- FLGMOTOR Sounding Rocket (Sweden).
Recent History (1981-Present)
- 1981-1985: Starstruck company developed and sea launched the Dolphin sounding rocket (35 klbf. thrust).
- 1985-1995: AMROC Continuation of Starstruck.
- Tested 10, 33 and 75 klbf. thrust sub-scale motors.
- Developed and tested H-1800, a 250 klbf LOX/HTPB motor.
- 1990's: Hybrid Propulsion Development Program (HPDP).
- Successfully launched a small sounding rocket.
- Developed and tested 250klbf. thrust LOX/HTPB motors.
- 1998: First firing of paraffin-based hybrid at Stanford University.
- 2002: Lockheed developed and flight tested a 24-inch LOX/HTPB sounding rocket called HYSR (60 klbf. thrust).
- 2003: Scaled Composites and SpaceDev developed 20klbf. Nitrous oxide/HTPB hybrid motor for the sub-orbital manned vehicle SpaceShipOne.