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Test Stand Gets Modernize

Test Stand Gets Modernized

Edwards Air Force Base, California -- (AFPN) March 18, 2002 -- Workers modernizing one of the nation's largest rocket engine test stands here could help send rumbles across California's Antelope Valley that have not been heard since Apollo moon mission engines were tested three decades ago.

Test Stand 1-D, a 15-story rocket engine test stand is being renovated at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Once completed, the test stand will add to the Air Force Research Laboratory's list of unique facilities that provide the nation with complete research, development and test capabilities for rocket propulsion technology progress.

Courtesy photo

Located at the Air Force Research Laboratory's research site here, Test Stand 1-D modifications include upgrading the 60's era test stand to current environmental requirements and modernizing its electrical, plumbing and instrumentation systems, said Robert Drake, AFRL propulsion directorate test operations chief here.

The 15-story test stand holds the rocket engine for the duration of the firing, and measures multiple performance factors. Once completed, Test Stand 1-D will add to the lab's list of unique facilities that provide the nation with complete research, development and test capabilities for rocket propulsion technology progress.

Because of more sophisticated computer systems, experts here said the stand's new control room will use less space and provide more information to engineers than was ever possible during moon mission engine testing.

The deluge system is another part of the test stand scheduled for renovations, Drake said. This provides a water spray to keep the test stand cool while exposed to high firing temperatures.

The water that does not turn to steam is recovered and recycled for use on future tests.

"All these efforts will provide a modern state-of-the-art test stand capable of firing a liquid oxygen-kerosene fueled rocket engine with 1.5 million pounds of thrust," Drake said. "It's part of nearly $3 billion worth of facilities that have provided the nation with rocket propulsion research, development and test capabilities for more than 50 years."

Drake said the modernization's $12.6 million price tag is a very small investment compared to the estimated $150 to $200 million required to build a new test stand from scratch.

The modernization will take about 18 months to complete, compared with a typical five-year lead time for a new stand, officials said.

Sverdrup Technology is the prime contractor for the modernization. Booz Allen Hamilton, a management consulting firm specializing in science, engineering and technical assistance is providing the management assistance for the engineering, design and execution.

Nearly every American rocket-propelled satellite, missile or launch vehicle has been touched by the technology developments or testing conducted at the research site, Drake said.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).