Raven Meteorological Sounding Vehicle
By Richard B. Morrow (NAR #3575)
The RAVEN Sounding Vehicle was developed at Rocket Power, Inc. under ONR Contract NONR-3872(00). The purpose of the development of the RAVEN vehicle was to provide a reliable meteorological vehicle capable of carrying a 10 pound payload to an altitude in excess of 200,000 feet. One unique feature in the RAVEN design was the boost phase designed into the rocket motor to provide an acceleration sufficiently high to reach a velocity of 600 feet per second during the first second of flight. This greatly reduced the wind sensitivity problems and allowed the vehicle to be launched in relatively high winds. It also allowed the use of a very simple, low cost launcher. Ten vehicles were manufactured for flight tests at White Sands, New Mexico in 1963. Their fin configuration was slightly different than the production run. The rocket motor for the RAVEN was the HOPI IV.(8.5 KS 1 800). The HOPI IV rocket motor is a nominal 9 second duration 1740 pound thrust unit. The rocket motor case is SAE 4130 steel heat treated to a minimal yield strength of 165,000 psi. The rocket motor has an outside diameter of 4.5 inches and a nominal length of 93 inches (94.785 REF). The rocket motor utilizes a polyurethane propellant cast in the configuration of an internal burning star. The ignitor utilized in this unit is of the pyrogen type. It is installed though the forward end of the rocket motor and can be supplied with either aft end or head end initiation. The nozzle assembly consists of a carbon steel housing with a graphite insert for the throat. Motor case and nozzle are insulated by a pressure-molded fiberglass-reinforced phenolic material. The forward closure is made of SAE 4130 alloy steel. The longitudinal center of gravity location from the nozzle exit plane of the motor is 47.94 inches for the loaded unit and 44.5 inches for the fired unit. The nominal motor weights before and after firing are 88.0 pounds and 19.21 pounds respectively. The drawing depicts the upper stage of the SIDEWINDER-RAVEN which was used by Great Britain. The first stage was a Sidewinder 1A The motor diameter of the booster is 5.0″ and the booster length is 78.64″. The nose cone length is 18.12″, payload section length is 11.55″, remaining body length 94.69″. Raven instrument housing internal volume is 225 cubic inches. Nose cone internal volume is 65 cubic inches. The Raven was also a stand alone singe stage rocket as is depicted in the accompanying photos.
I would like to thank Mr. Ted Ryan, Mr. R.A. Thomas (VP of Engineering and Research, Talley Defense Systems), and Frank Marion (former VP of Rocket Power Inc.) for their assistance with this information.
SIDEWINDER-RAVEN PERFORMANCE SUMMARY
Weights (LB) Performace Total 208 Summitt Altitude (ft) 460,000 Payload 20 Max. Velocity (ft/sec) Second Stage 116 First Stage 1330 First Stage 92 Second Stage 5830 Max. Acceleration (g’s) First Stage 22 Second Stage 24
HVAR-RAVEN PERFORMANCE SUMMARY
Weights (LB) Performace Total 209 Summitt Altitude (ft) 344,000 Payload 20 Max. Velocity (ft/sec) Second Stage 116 (total) First Stage 800 69 (propellant) Second Stage 5350 First Stage 93 (total) Max. Acceleration (g’s) 24 (propellant) First Stage 30 Second Stage 24
The HVAR Boosted RAVEN has a nose cone length of 18″, payload section length of 15″, and body length of 95″. The HVAR booster has a diameter of 5: and a lenght of 78.64″.
When launching the RAVEN, a forward launch strap assembly was utilized which snapped away from the vehicle on take off.
COLOR DATA Nose Cone: Dull Red (flat) Payload Section: Earth (flat) Motor: Flat White Fins and Shroud: Metallic Silver
The only color photo is slightly faded and the nose cone may have been brighter. The earthen color in the suns reflection in the photo may be grey.
Motor Label: placed 4 inches below top of motor
Decal dimensions approximate. Scaled from photo.
DATA SOURCE Black andWhite Photos 9300-1020-494, 9300-1020-494 White Sands N.M. Color Photo M-573 Raven Meteorological Sounding Vehicle Report No. 7691 Rocket Power Inc. Product Data Bulletin Sidewinder-Raven Performance Summary RPI Product Data Bulletin HVAR-Raven Performance Summary RPI drawings: 1424-102,SK2599-44, 2599-10,2599-50,2596-10