John Wickman

Present: Wickman Spacecraft & Propulsion Company

Mr. Wickman is currently working on a new class of fast burning solid propellants without the use of high energy explosives. This work has been successful in the developed a new class of composite solid rocket propellants that burn as faster or faster than pressed black powder propellants. These new propellants do not use chlorates or perchlorates and can be used a direct substitute for pressed black powder propellants. Mr. Wickman is continuing this work to develop an end burning, long duration solid rocket motor for use in launch vehicles.

Mr. Wickman was principal investigator on a US Air Force contract to develop a rapid response, Small Launch Vehicle (SLV) that uses a PSAN solid rocket propellant. He was principal investigator on a NASA contract that demonstrated the feasibility of a variable hot gas thruster using a highly metallized ammonium perchlorate solid propellant. This new thruster could be used to steer a Mars sample return vehicle. He was also principal investigator on a US Army contract to develop a new solid rocket pintle nozzle with integral thrust vector control. He has worked on a contract with the US Navy to develop a new phase stabilized ammonium nitrate oxidizer for use in tactical missiles. Mr. Wickman developed the SHARP "S" Series of sounding rockets that were to deploy scale prototype SHARP vehicles in Space for the NASA Ames Research Center.

He was principal investigator on Phase I and II of a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marshall Space Flight Center contract to develop rocket and jet engines that burn carbon dioxide with magnesium powder. This program was concluded successfully in 1998 with the delivery of the rocket and jet engines to NASA. In 1995, he was principal investigator on Phase I of the LOX/kerosene monopropellant rocket engine SBIR contract with the NASA Glenn Research Center. Mr. Wickman characterized LOX/kerosene monopropellant and test fired a small LOX/kerosene monopropellant rocket engine. In a previous SBIR contract, he demonstrated the feasibility of LOX/hydrocarbon monopropellants with shock sensitivity and combustion tests. The revolutionary idea of premixing liquid oxygen and hydrocarbons to form a safe liquid monopropellant could have a major impact on the future of liquid rocket engine technology.

Mr. Wickman has also served as principal investigator on a contract with NASA Glenn Research Center developing liquid oxygen/metal powder propellants that can be produced from elements commonly found on the moon. Other work performed by Mr. Wickman includes the design of subscale liquid oxygen monopropellant rocket engines, sounding rockets and small launch vehicles.

He has lead a company research and development effort focused on using low cost, commercial material for the construction of solid and liquid rocket engines. This has been successful to the point where it has now been expanded to sounding rockets. Mr. Wickman also served as contract administrator and engineer on Phase II of the Phase Stabilized Ammonium Nitrate for Solid Rocket Propellants Air Force SBIR program.

Mr. Wickman has conducted performance analyses for the Air Force on various ammonium nitrate propellant formulations. These calculations included specific impulse, flame temperature, propellant density and other parameters for various chamber pressures. He also set up laboratory apparatus and computer data capture systems. He ran all burn rate tests at our laboratory and reduced the data to obtain burn rate as a function of pressure.

Mr. Wickman worked on the new Space Shuttle SRB field and nozzle joint designs for Morton Thiokol under subcontract to Creare. This work included thermal analysis of the joint region with temperature predictions of the seals and metal parts and thermo-ablation predictions for the internal insulation. He has also presented to Thiokol engineers thermal design criteria for screening potential joint concepts. Mr. Wickman also worked with Chemical Systems Division of United Technologies on the Titan Recovery Program. This included thermal analysis for the test stand modification at the Air Force Phillips Laboratory for the vertical firing of Titan solid rocket boosters.

1974 - 1985: Aerojet Propulsion Company

In the Advanced Engineering group, Mr. Wickman performed air and ground launch missile systems design studies and trajectory analysis under subcontract to Rockwell for SICBM and stand-off applications. He ran the POST trajectory analysis computer code for both air and ground launch conditions. Mr. Wickman ran the Aerojet AIDE preliminary missile design computer code to determine missile length and weights. He also calculated solid rocket motor performance for a variety of propellants. He has modified for Aerojet the AFAL MEMDOP trajectory computer code to include more accurate solid rocket design equations for missile design optimization.

Before transferring over the Advanced Engineering group, Mr. Wickman was group leader of all thermal analysis in the company. This include the MX missile, Minuteman, Polaris and other tactical missile programs.

1972 - 1974: Pratt & Whitney Aircraft

Mr. Wickman was an analytical engineer in the Combustion Group. He worked on the thermal modeling and design of the burner section of the JT9D-70 engine used on large body aircraft. He was also responsible for the scheduling, design, testing and analysis of burner configurations in an experimental JT9D turbofan jet engine.

    A Partial List Of Technical Publications
  1. Wickman, J.H, "In-Situ Mars Rocket and Jet Engines Burning Carbon Dioxide", AIAA 99-2409, 35th Joint Propulsion Conference, June 1999.
  2. Wickman, J.H., "Liquid Oxygen Monopropellants for Rocket Engines", AIAA 94-3173, 30th Joint Propulsion Conference, June 1994.
  3. Wickman, J.H., "Design of a LOX/Aluminum Lunar Propellant Rocket Engine", AIAA 94-2842, 30th Joint Propulsion Conference, June 1994.
  4. Wickman, J.H. and James, E., "Gelled Liquid Oxygen/Metal Powder Monopropellants", AIAA 92-3450, 28th Joint Propulsion Conference, June 1992.
  5. Wickman, J.H., Oberth, A.E. and Mockenhaupt, J.D, "Lunar Base Spacecraft Propulsion with Lunar Propellants", AIAA 86-1763, 22nd Joint Propulsion Conference, June 1986.
  6. Wickman, J.H., "Technology Assessment Of Photon Propulsion - How Close Are We?" (Positron-Electron Anti-matter Propulsion), AIAA 81-1532, 17th Joint Propulsion Conference, , Colorado Springs, CO, July, 1981
  7. Wickman, J.H., Mockenhaupt, J.D. and Ditore, M.J., "An Investigation of Particle Impingement in Solid Rocket Nozzles", AIAA 79-1251, 15th Joint Propulsion Conference, June 1970.