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Rocket Engine Testing

EMRTC Rocket Engine Testing

Contact: Bob Bezanson
Email: Click here to Email Bob
Phone: 575.835.5312
Fax: 575.835.5630


The Rocket Test Site Facility (RTSF) has two engine test stands, one rated for 8,000 lbs of thrust and the other for 80,000 lbs of thrust. The 80K thrust test stand is now set up for both LOX/Kerosene engines and LOX/LH2 engines. The facility has a 3,000 gallon LOX storage capability, two storage tanks for gas pressurization, 48,000 standard cubic feet LOX and 77,000 standard cubic feet (fuel). Two LOX run tanks are available for use, one having a capacity of 370 gallons, and the other having a capacity of 2,200 gallons. There are also two Jet A run tanks available for the 80K thrust test stand a 220 gallon. tank and a 7,800 gallon. tank. The Jet A run tank for the 8K thrust test stand is 200 gallons and the LH2 run tank is 1,000 gallons. The maximum system operating pressure is dependent upon the type of engine and run tanks being used.

The LOX/LH2 MOV and MFV on the 80K thrust test stand are both remotely actuated, proportional control valves, allowing for the mixture ratio to be controlled and changed during testing.

Each test stand has its own data acquisition and control systems (DACS). The DACS are operated with 500MHz computers using LabVIEWtm software. There are 416 DACS channels available, including 128 real-time channels for control and red-line aborts. The RTSF also has a dedicated video system and four video cameras (real-time) to record typical test firings. The tests are controlled from a blockhouse bunker that was built for testing explosive charges many times greater than the explosive yield currently employed.

The RTSF has been developed to be as self-contained as possible, using support equipment such as component cleaning equipment for LOX service, lathe, drill press, tubing bender, welding machine, cutoff saw, and complete set of tools on site. The EMRTC on-site test team consists of the RTSF engineer, two test stand mechanics, an electrical engineer (responsible for all instrumentation), and an instrumentation and/or photo technician. Other EMRTC support, such as machine shop services or ordnance support, is provided as needed. The RTSF team can be supplemented with contract personnel to make the test program as efficient as possible.

Testing Goals

The long-term testing goals of EMRTC extend beyond this first test facility. Work is underway to assess the needs of government and industry and to determine how EMRTC can best fulfill those needs. Future projects may include testing of engines that use LOX/LNG and hydrogen peroxide/kerosene fuels.

The philosophy of EMRTC is to work diligently with its customers to find the best solutions for meeting the needs and expectations of everyone concerned. This EMRTC/Customer Teaming approach is paramount to providing the lowest cost service in the shortest time possible, thereby helping to significantly reduce testing costs.

The RTSF's customer base will continue to expand as its successful programs become known and the facility's capabilities grow.

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