This is the last of four chapters on solid propellant rocket motors. Here, we describe key components such as the motor case, nozzle, and igniter; subsequently we elaborate on the design of these motors. Although thrust vector control mechanisms are also components of many rocket motors, they are described separately in Chapter 18.


Solid propellant rocket motor cases enclose the propellant grain and also serve as highly loaded pressure vessels, often as part of the flight vehicle structure. Case design and fabrication technology has progressed to where efficient and reliable motor cases can now be produced consistently for many solid rocket applications. Problems arise, however, when the established technology is used improperly; incorrect design analysis or understating of requirements may lead to improper materials and process controls, and to omitting necessary nondestructive tests at critical points in the fabrication process. Besides constituting the structural body of the rocket motor including its nozzle and propellant grain, the case frequently serves also as the primary structure of the missile or launch vehicle. Thus, optimizing case designs frequently entail trade‐offs between case design parameters and vehicle design parameters. Often, case design is further influenced by assembly and fabrication requirements.

Table 15–1 lists many types of case loads with their sources; only some of these ...

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