Aerobee 300 details wanted

tsmith1315

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I'm looking for information about the Aerobee 300, cosmetics of the IGY flight modeled by the Estes version in particular. Any details would be appreciated.

I have Peter's drawing, the great Aerobee sounding rocket article from HPR magazine years ago, one small image of what appears to be the real rocket Estes was modeling, and Peter's note here in TRF that the main color was most likely white and not silver. I have perused all 30-something pages of posts here in the scale forum, and all threads within that looked like they could divulge any info.

The image of the real one shows an atypical conduit, maybe 60% of the sustainer length, and not extended forward to the adapter or aft to the fins. It's not obvious if the other two are the same or if they even exist. I don't see the Aerobee logo or the Aerojet General logo. Seams and/or screws are visible, but not well-illustrated. I would especially like to know what the wording barely visible in the middle of the sustainer is.

aerobee-300.jpg

The (payload?) designation on Estes' decal is AF AA 10.12. I get nothing on that with Google and it's not in the listing on Gunter's Space Page, although it seems to be in reasonable sequence when compared to the IGY flights listed there for this rocket. Those are AA 10.01, and AA 10.02 from Oct 1958.

Gunter's page:
space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau_fam/aerobee.htm

My plan is to build this 300, the NRL-51 100 Jr with the Arcon nose, and an early Aerobee with the short sustainer and tail cone. So beware, questions about these other two will be next!!!
 

Ez2cDave

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Tim,

AEROBEE 300 . . .

Dave F.
 

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Ez2cDave

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AEROBEE 100 JR . . .

Data for the ARCON nose cone version have been posted in the Scale forum.

Dave F.
 

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tsmith1315

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Tim,

AEROBEE 300 . . .

Dave F.

Thanks for the info, Dave!

I recently found pics of the guys working on that 300A. I assumed that since it said 150A on the side, it was just a 150A with a different payload/nose cone rather than the Sparrow 3rd stage. I'll look at that one more closely this evening and post what I have.

Do you know if 300's got their own logo?

AEROBEE 100 JR . . .

Data for the ARCON nose cone version have been posted in the Scale forum.

Dave F.

I think there's enough info in that thread to make a decent version of that Jr.
 

Ez2cDave

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Ez2cDave

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AEROBEE 100 data . . . MINAKOV

Dave
 

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Ez2cDave

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AEROBEE 100 - MINAKOV ( cont. )

Dave F.
 

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tsmith1315

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I recently found pics of the guys working on that 300A. I assumed that since it said 150A on the side, it was just a 150A with a different payload/nose cone rather than the Sparrow 3rd stage. I'll look at that one more closely this evening and post what I have.

Actually, I only found one picture of that 300A. Advertised as an "Original NASA Press Photo Aerbec 150A Two Stage Sounding Rocket", I took what it said as correct.

Here's the picture:
Aerobee 150A.png


And on the back of that picture, this is written in faded blue mimeograph-looking copy:

"For Release Immediate
Photo No. 63-Aerobee-3

If this photo is used for advertising purposes copy and
layout must be submitted to NASA for approval prior to release.

Wallops Island, Va. - The Aerobee 150 - two
stage sounding rocket developing 1900 lbs of thrust
is being prepared for liftoff. The instrumented
nose cone will be carried to 152 miles altitude."


Although this copy says the rocket is a two-stage 150A, closer inspection of the picture shows the print isn't correct for this rocket:

NASA 6.08 July 1963.png

On the adapter is written NASA 6.08 and the date 7-12-63. The 6 in the flight number indicates an Aerobee 300/300A, aka Spaerobee. The 08 is the unique flight number, and GA indicates Goddard instruments, Aeronomy experiment.


According to NASA Tech Report R-226, flight 6.08 GA was flown on 7-20-1963 to an altitude of 210 miles, and had a third stage.

1963 Aerobee flights.png

Aerobee 300A overview Flight 6.08GA Wallops 7-20-1963.png

Aerobee 300A Flight 6.08GA Wallops 7-20-1963.png




While none of this detail is for the IGY flight I want to model, it's the only decent photo of a 300/300A that I have found.

This leaves me two main questions about the 300's:

- Did any of them actually use "Aerobee 300" as a logo?

- Is this payload size unique, or are the payload sections typically smaller than the 8" dia Sparrow? This looks to be about 6½" for the instrument payload & nose cone. Every model I've seen has a single-diameter 3rd stage.


@Ez2cDave, do you know where this image originates? It looks like a page from a bound notebook:

436985-Aerobee300Ap-p.jpg
 
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PeterAlway

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OK, here's what I know about that Aerobee 300. The photo is from "Sounding Rocket Study of Eighteen Vehicles" by Vought Astronautics, 1961. I managed to score a copy from a retiring professor about 30 years ago, and Jim Ball posted them to his now-defunct scale data page. What made an Aerobee 300 an Aerobee 300 was the modified Sparrow upper stage. The fin can was replaced with an adapter that functioned as a stabilizing cone and as a high-expansion nozzle for high-altitude efficiency. Whether it was literally replaced by unscrewing one and screwing in the other, or if the cone was incorporated in the manufacturing process, I couldn't tell you. There was a cylindrical section below the cone that was dedicated to upper stage ignition--separation happened at the base of the cone.

The upper stage and ignition cylinder were attached, as if they were an interchangeable payload, to An Aerobee Hi, Aerobee 150, or Aerobee 150A. The Aerobee Hi was used for the pre-NASA Aerobee 300 launches. NASA used the 3-finned Aerobee 150 for its Aerobee 300 launches from Fort Churchill, Manitoba, and the 4-finned Aerobee 150A for its Aerobee 300A launches from Wallops Island. As far as I can, the Aerobee sustainer stages were stock -Hi, 150, and 150A stages and were left painted and marked as such.

If I recall correctly, I've seen a photo of one of the upper stages with an Aerobee 300 logo on it, as shown on Dave F's model photo.

I believe the original Aerobee 300 photo was taken before the conduit fairings were attached. I believe that different bits of plumbing and wiring were concealed within the fairings, and I suspect you are seeing a propellant pressure line in that image (there are reports laying out the plumbing that you could use to sort that out). You can see attachment doodads along the length of where the conduit will be installed. I think that an early version of the Estes kit used a long launch lug to represent that line. Later kits had the full-length fairing, representative of the launch configuration.

Stage count for Aerobees is ambiguous. Some sources count the booster as a stage, while some don't. So the Aerobee 300 might be called a 2-stage rocket in some contexts, and a 3-stage rocket in others. In the 50's, there was a sense that if a booster was small enough compared to the stage above it (like the Aerobee booster), it didn't count as a proper stage, so you would call it a boosted single stage rocket.

Notice that the Aerobee 300A in the picture has a payload that is thinner than the 8" Sparrow upper stage. The early flights had full 8-inch payloads.

I hope this is somewhat clear!
 

Ez2cDave

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If I recall correctly, I've seen a photo of one of the upper stages with an Aerobee 300 logo on it, as shown on Dave F's model photo.
Peter,

Those photo's are of Steve Humphrey's AEROBEE 300 at NARAM - 51, in 2009.
If there is a way to contact Steve, that might yield more information.

Dave F.

1653608123405.png
 

tsmith1315

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First off, Peter, I greatly appreciate the input.

There was a cylindrical section below the cone that was dedicated to upper stage ignition--separation happened at the base of the cone.

I would assume this ignition section below the blowout diaphragm that is the 9" cylinder that's shown on all of the drawings, and below that is the typical Hi/150/150A section with the roll jets. But this photo does make me question if those are roll jets just below the blowout diaphragm.

1653629134632.png

The Aerobee Hi was used for the pre-NASA Aerobee 300 launches. NASA used the 3-finned Aerobee 150 for its Aerobee 300 launches from Fort Churchill, Manitoba, and the 4-finned Aerobee 150A for its Aerobee 300A launches from Wallops Island. As far as I can, the Aerobee sustainer stages were stock -Hi, 150, and 150A stages and were left painted and marked as such.

Great! Though the I.G.Y. 300 flights were right around the time NASA was created, all of the flights I can find in 1958 were Aerobees or Aerobee Hi's. The flight numbers are (Air Force?) AA designations and not NASA 6.xx numbers. So, I feel comfortable with calling the 300 from the Vought Astronautics book an Aerobee Hi- based 300. Thanks for that tidbit!


1653626767841.png

I believe the original Aerobee 300 photo was taken before the conduit fairings were attached. I believe that different bits of plumbing and wiring were concealed within the fairings, and I suspect you are seeing a propellant pressure line in that image (there are reports laying out the plumbing that you could use to sort that out). You can see attachment doodads along the length of where the conduit will be installed.

Agreed. What looked like a short fairing is most likely plumbing, because the bracket bolts are visible on the sides of it. Every picture I've seen of the conduit shows recessed screws and no protrusions.

Notice that the Aerobee 300A in the picture has a payload that is thinner than the 8" Sparrow upper stage. The early flights had full 8-inch payloads.

Yeah, that smaller diameter payload/nose was the first thing that made me question what I was looking at.

That's a beautiful B&W picture, an 8x10 that was listed on ebay. After sorting out the flight number, I went back and bought it! Hopefully it will show up in a few days.


Thanks so much for the help!
 
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