安娜·德明reveals the scientist who invented the fuel that powered the first US satellite into orbit, yet died with barely a trace on record of her achievements
1957年10月4日，苏联推出了人造卫星。世界上第一个卫星在地球上旋转了21天，并以哔哔声的信号演唱了成功的信号，表明地球上的任何人都可以接触。在不到一个月的时间里，Sputnik 2在航空航天技术领域推出了苏联的领先地位。同时，对于美国而言，轨道太空火箭仍然无法触及 - 他们的火箭技术计划主要集中在军用导弹上。
Mary Sherman Morgan’s family would remember her as a ‘homebody’, rooted to the dining room table, often mumbling to herself irritably, with a coffee, cigarette, deck of cards for solitaire and an outdoor lifestyle magazine – often the inspiration for the next annual camping holiday. She was always sharp, but rewind to the days before her retirement ‘to raise a family’ and Morgan’s story reveals a tenacity of intellect and brilliance of mind that helped elevate US aerospace aspirations to new heights.
Morgan was born to a large and impoverished farming household in Ray, North Dakota. Her days were buried in household and farmyard chores, so much so that her parents did not send her to school until she was nine years old, by which time social services had arrived threatening her parents with arrest. Thriving in education, Morgan secured a scholarship to a modest college in Sandusky, Ohio, to read chemistry, but as pressures to contribute to the war effort and resolve her own dissolving finances mounted, she left her degree uncompleted to work at a nearby weapons plant. As a result, when she joined Rocketdyne (then North American Aviation) after the war, she was dealing with not only the prejudices against her as a woman, but also as the only person working in their engineering department without a college degree. Nonetheless, it was there that she invented hydyne, achieved within almost impossible working constraints. She had been tasked to develop a more powerful propellant that would give extra power to the US Army’s Redstone rocket engine but without changing any aspect of the engine’s design.
‘I think that was quite an achievement,’ says Brian Cantwell, an engineering professor at Stanford University in the US, whose work in rocket research ranges from testing the lunar module ascent engine for the Apollo mission back in the 1960s to pioneering a competitive hybrid solid–liquid rocket propellant currently in testing with scientists at Nasa. ‘I think her big accomplishment with this hydyne was to figure out how to keep the density comparable,’ Cantwell tells必威体育 红利账户，列出燃料必须满足的其他几种化学要求，同时增加了它增强火箭的特定冲动。他强调了管理温度的问题，这在1950年代主要是由钢制造的，因此比当今的高温镍合金和随附的复杂冷却系统更容易燃烧。摩根发动机的任务是通过在发动机和喷嘴上循环燃料来“再生冷却”轨道，因此燃料也需要是一种有效的冷却液。
美国已经在Werner von Braun的火箭科学中获得了重要资产。冯·布劳恩（Von Braun）负责开发能够在第二次世界大战期间为纳粹覆盖超过300公里的V2导弹。他的专业知识使他在战争结束时处于脆弱的位置，纳粹渴望消除任何可能对敌人带来优势的情报。为了他的好运，美国认识到他的价值，并使他努力扩展其导弹技术的性能。自从少年时代，冯·布劳恩（Von Braun）拥有征服空间的梦想，而他到达轨道的最佳机会是他的木星C火箭弹，其A-7引擎是根据V2改编而来的。该发动机以乙醇和水为燃料和液体氧（称为LOX）的混合物作为氧化剂，但尽管强大，但即使是冯·布劳恩（Von Braun）和他的团队的专业知识，也只能从发动机推进剂中获得足够的特定冲动才能获得足够的特定冲动来获得。这是通往轨道的93.1％。尽管专注于武器申请，但美国军方对北美航空非常有兴趣，摩根在复杂的理论计算中的声誉使她成为了为火箭找到更好推进剂的“中毒圣杯”。在Sputnik推出之后，委员会的紧迫性加剧了。
Although Cantwell describes the task she had been set as ‘quite a search through all the available propellants’, he adds that the list of available fuels and oxidizers was (and is) quite limited. Little has changed in rocket propellants over the past 60 years since the early space missions – other than a push towards more ‘green’ technology – and the chemistry of the propellants has not changed. Morgan focused her attention on the fuel side, a strategy that may have been against the recommendation of her supervisor, although he was nonetheless happy to take the credit when she hit on the winning combination.
我们很快地了解到,没有“off-the-shelf’ fuel that would work alongside the liquid oxygen to give the A-7 more power, so Morgan started looking for compounds she could mix with unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH) to increase both its density as well as its performance. Pure hydrazine is a nitrogen-based fuel that packs a powerful punch but is limited by its relatively high freezing point at around 2°C. Conveniently for Morgan, the Soviets had already devised UH with comparable power but a lower freezing point. However, the density would not work with the fuel tank capacity of the A-7. Morgan hit on diethylenetriamine (DETA), which is miscible with UDMH but has a higher density. Morgan had the quirky notion of naming the star performing 60:40 mix of UDMH and DETA ‘bagel’ so the propellant would be known as ‘bagel and lox’, the more sober-minded military overruled and named it hydyne.
从那时起，探险家1的新闻报道遍布冯·布劳恩（von Braun）的照片，他被广泛庆祝为发射美国卫星的火箭的发明者。但是，尽管没有摩根的燃料，他的火箭将永远不会到达那里，即使在航空航天专家中，几乎没有人听说过她。其中的一部分可能取决于该项目的机密性。第二次世界大战的保密性在1950年代延续了冷战，因为紧张局势加剧，麦卡锡主义的文化加剧了恐惧。然而，这几乎不会使冯·布劳恩（von Braun）的贡献危及。
As many who knew her testify, Morgan guarded her privacy vehemently. ‘She intentionally eschewed the fame she could have had, calling security at her job when a生活magazine reporter showed up after the Explorer I success to interview her for a feature article on her accomplishment,’ recalls her son and biographer George Morgan, who has been on a mission since his mother’s death in 2004 to undo her disappearing act from the annals of history. His stage play火箭女孩about his mother’s life premiered at Caltech in 2008 and his biography of her was published in 2013.
Engineers are nobodies in the eyes of the media
Despite his own enthusiasm for rockets as a boy he remained in the dark over his mother’s accomplishments until around the age of 14 when his father (who had also worked at North American Aviation) slipped an offhand comment into conversation. ‘You know, your mother invented the rocket fuel that launched America’s first satellite, right?’ he recalls his father saying. In fact, his mother was so good at keeping secrets from her children that it was not until long after her death that news emerged they had a half-sister born out of wedlock during the war. Thanks to Morgan’s secrecy and the dismal record keeping at North American Aviation, when George D Morgan submitted an obituary to the洛杉矶时报，，，，they refused to print it. There simply wasn’t enough documentation to back up the claims.
当时还有一个明显的性别偏见问题（谁愿意将美国的太空荣耀归因于女人？），但乔治·摩根（George Morgan）引用了第四个贡献因素。‘太空时代的故事主要围绕宇航员以及吉恩·克兰兹（Gene Krantz）和沃纳·冯·布劳恩（Wernher von Braun）等领导人。在媒体眼中，工程师是近亲。’必威体育 红利账户。‘例如，您对埃隆·马斯克（Elon Musk）有很多了解，但是您对他的首席火箭工程师汤姆·穆勒（Tom Mueller）了解多少？’