Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Boilerhouse Valves

"Wendell Moore, Rocket Installations Engineer at Bell Aircraft, the man responsible for fitting the engine into the [first rocket airplane in the late 1940's] X1, shakes his head today when he recalls some of the early problems.

"We had valves in that plane that were boilerhouse valves, old brake valves--anything we could fix up in a hurry. To save time, we'd use standard castings and then design our special fittings to match the size. When we got through, we had a big fantastic piece of junk that you'd suspect might belong on a tractor. But we made it work."

From Mallan, L. 1955. Men, Rockets and Space Rats. New York, Messner.

Above, a photo of the X1 purging hydrogen peroxide fuel after a landing. After the 'bracing' experience of flying such a craft faster than the speed of sound, test pilot Chuck Yaeger said "I couldn't talk for two days."

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