An Experimental Evaluation of the Performance of Cryogenic Gaseous Hydrogen as a Monopropellant

  • I. Millett
  • C. R. Nelson
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 10)


The main propulsion system of the Saturn V nuclear upper stage (S-N stage) is liquid hydrogen. Vehicle system optimization for this stage resulted in a propellant tank insulation design which permitted significant quantities of boiloff. The existence of auxiliary propulsion requirements suggested the possible use of boiloff-fed thrust nozzles to supply secondary propulsion needs with minimum additional weight penalty and maximum reliability. Other cryogenic-fueled upper stages and spacecraft may be considered for cryogenic gaseous-hydrogen boiloff auxiliary propulsion application. However, before a preliminary design could be made for this type of propulsion application, a knowledge of the attainable level of specific impulse (i.e., ratio of pounds of thrust per pound per second of propellant) for hydrogen boiloff gas, expanded through a thrust nozzle to vacuum, was necessary.


Liquid Hydrogen Specific Impulse Nozzle Throat Simulated Altitude Nozzle Performance 
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  1. 1.
    E. D. Berlin et al., “Centaur Attitude Control System Study Final Report,” General Dynamics/ Astronautics Report No. GDA 63–0596, (July 25, 1963).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. C. Mullins et al., “The Thermodynamic Properties of Parahydrogen from 1o to 22°K,” NBS Contract No. CST-7339 (November 1, 1961).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Crane Technical Paper No. 410, “Flow of Fluids Through Valves, Fittings, and Pipe,” Crane Co., Chicago, Illinois.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Millett
    • 1
  • C. R. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Lockheed Missiles and Space CompanySunnyvaleUSA

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