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Journal of Automation and Information Sciences
THE CONQUEST OF INTERPLANETARY SPACE
Prof. V.P.Vetchinkin, the editor
Yu. V. Kondratyuk
The suggested book by YU.V. KONDRATYUK presents undoubtedly the most complete analysis of interplanetary flights among all other recent Russian and foreign publications. All investigations have been performed by the author on his own on the basis of the only information received by him, namely that it is possible to fly with a rocket not only beyond the atmosphere, but also beyond the terrestrial gravity. The book discusses exhaustively all the subjects touched on also in other publications, and furthermore, it resolves a number of new problems of the major importance that have not been mentioned by other authors. The latter covers the following issues.
In general, a rocket take-off dynamics presents the most difficult part of the issue. Yu.V. Kondratyuk resolved it most comprehensively comparing to all other authors. The paper presents also analysis of air-heating for the front part of a rocket accounting both adiabatic air compression and radiation by the rocket surface and a heated air itself. This has not been analyzed by anyone before.
- The suggestion on using combustion of various substances in ozone instead of oxygen that increases the heat of combustion.
- The suggestion on using a solid fuel (lithium, boron, aluminium, magnesium, and silicon) in addition to a gaseous fuel for both increasing the heat of combustion and utilization of fuel tanks by burning them in a furnace after they get emptied. The same was suggested by engineer F.A. Tsandler at the seminar of the theoretical section of the Moscow Astronomy Club in December, 1923. However, this suggestion appeared earlier in the draft paper by Yu.V. Kondratyuk than in Tsander's report.
- He first provided a formula accounting the influence of weights of fuel and oxygen tanks (the proportional passive according to the author's terminology) on a total weight of rocket. He proved also that a rocket cannot overcome the terrestrial gravity without either dropping or burning its tanks.
- He also suggested to construct a rocket with wings to make it flying in the air same way as an airplane does. One can find no ideas of this kind in the foreign publications they suggest instead to use parachutes for landing; in the Russian papers, this was suggested by F.A.Tsandler at the mentioned seminar and published later by K.E. Tsiolkovky, however later than it had appeared in the draft paper by the author. The investigation by Yu.V. Kondratyuk yet extends further the issue he points not only to the need of using wings, but also presents a rather complete analysis: what are the particular accelerations, which wings are useful with, and what are the inclinations with respect to horizon therewith; also he calculates the most advantageous reactive force of a rocket flying in the air: it appears to be of the same order as a starting weight of rocket.
Therewith, all figures are given by Yu.V. Kondratyuk although roughly (he makes himself a remark on this in the preface), but always with a deviation from the true values in unfavorable direction for a designer.
Even such problem as construction of a space base in between the Earth and other planets with the needed rocket and artillery supplement the problem that otherwise savors of a poet fantasy, Yu.V. Kondratyuk considers quite thoroughly, with a good foresight of technical and orientation aspects. This space base is seen by the author as a satellite of the Moon (not of the Earth as other authors suggest) that provides a better warranty from stall and falling on the Earth because of long-term satellite deceleration by the remains, although insignificant, of the atmosphere.
The last section, which is devoted to a preparatory work for performing interplanetary flights, looks also well thought-out.
The book is written in a quite distinctive style, specific notations, and it is so concise that one can read it without difficulties only trusting the author's conclusions and assuming that there are no errata. Being interested in the results only, the author omitted almost all intermediate calculations and presented the final expressions, which are often non-trivial and demand sometimes big intellectual efforts and clear understanding of mechanical essence of the analyzed problems.
Several formulae are given in the paper with editor remarks to simplify understanding and make the results more precise. However, no essential corrections were made, since the original solutions are basically correct, and there is no need of increasing the accuracy to the extent of a hundredth, while the tenth is unclear.
Taking into account that Yu.V. Kondratyuk did not receive university education, nevertheless managed to perform the investigations independently, it is amazing to realize how talented and open-minded are Russian self-educated engineers.
This book will be serving as a desk book for everyone interested in rocket flights.
Prof. V. Vetchinkin Moscow, December 4, 1927.
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