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AFRL scientists conduct 'in-house' rocket fuel development test

Air Force Research Laboratory scientists recently conducted a 15-pound Ballistic Test and Evaluation System, or BATES, test. Photo: USAF

EDWARDS AFB (BNS): The Air Force Research Laboratory scientists of the United States have conducted a 15-pound Ballistic Test and Evaluation System, or BATES test, at their AFRL laboratory.

The first test was considered as an overall success by the scientists, as the three-second test has provided an extraordinary amount of data with the new high speed digital video cameras used for recording.

In the BATES test, a small scale apparatus was used by the scientist to test the rocket propellant and designs in a standardised rocket motor casing, the whole components of the test were developed at the AFRL laboratory.

"What's special about this test is that it was entirely in-house, the propellant was made here, the rocket motor and nozzle were designed and fabricated here, and then we put it on the test stand, "1st. Lt. Rob Antypas, the AFRL program manager and a developmental engineer, said in an USAF official news release.

The AFRL scientists will try to develop more powerful and efficient rocket fuel for future space vehicles and rockets.

"Although we used a standard propellant that has been formulated before, this first test helps us to develop a baseline so we can make our own propellant formulations and test them out and push farther in the solid rocket world because the industry is no longer doing this," Antypas said.

"If we're going to build a new space-lift motor for the US Air Force, we're going to need the capability to push the limits of propellant testing and manufacturing beyond what the civilian world can do," he added.

Scientists of AFRL are specifically looking for rocket propellants that can provide better thrust, burn longer and has the capability to perform more efficiently.

AFRL will do a 70-pound BATES test after a few more preliminary 15-pound propellant tests. The next rocket fuel development test is scheduled for August 5, 2010.


Air Force  rocket  

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