Nah, that’s not a big motor. THIS is a big motor…

Mr. RFH, Roamy’s husband (and an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist himself) remarked on the abort motor for the Orion crew capsule in the last post.

Wonder what he thinks of the¬†Hercules X-265 motor on the old Nike Sprint ABM platform. ¬†650,000lbf, 0 to Mach 10 in 5 seconds, 100g of acceleration. THAT’S a motor…


Spartan/Sprint was a two-layered anti-ballistic missile system to shield the US from a Soviet ICBM strike. It worked, and was actually deployed, but there were problems. One, the system was really expensive. Two, the US and the Soviets signed the ABM treaty which really curtailed the usefulness of ABM systems. And three, the use of nuclear warheads to destroy incoming nuclear warheads wasn’t all that popular an idea, and it had some real practical drawbacks, especially in terms of EMP.

7 thoughts on “Nah, that’s not a big motor. THIS is a big motor…”

  1. lbf? The only time I used that notation was in Physics class and as a Physics TA. Physicists are a bit anal about those things. Over in the Engineering School we just said lb and were done with it. Slugs were the unit of mass and is weight in pounds divided by 32.2 (accel due to gravity), which teh reuslt of teh old Newtonian formulation F=ma.

    1. I just copied the unit from the wiki entry. I did so because I’m unsure if that’s the thrust generated at any given moment, or the total power output of the motor.

      And there’s no math on this blog. Please.

  2. The Sprint missile had a low-yield enhanced radiation “neutron bomb” warhead. It was the last-ditch intercept of reentering enemy missile warheads at 15 to 30 kilometers up -in 15 seconds!

  3. But this rocket was never on my CAD screen. That’s the thing about doing CAD work, everything in the world – be it a 300′ long rocket or a #4 nut – is always on the order of 10-15″ across. Seeing a pipe that a guy could go through that was always this dinky little bit on my rocket model needed a mental adjustment. And the thing does pull 15g’s with the whole Orion behind it – just not for very long.

  4. That’s even faster than the 300 v8 in my old 64 LeSabre. Despite the 4bbl carburetor!

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