The UAH Propulsion Research Center has a Rocket Test Cell for small (up to 500 pounds thrust) scale liquid, gaseous, and solid rocket testing. The facility is located on the UAHuntsville campus and consists of two test cells and an instrumentation room.
Experiments in the Rocket Test Cell are remotely operated from a control room in the adjacent Johnson Research Center (JRC). The facility is enclosed by a fence with controlled gated access. Security cameras are located around the facility to monitor activity in the test cells and in the surrounding area.
Rocket engines are tested on a single axis thrust stand capable of supporting thrust levels up to 500 lbs.
The PRC has successfully tested hybrids, solids, liquids (storable and cryogenic), gels, and gaseous rocket motors on this stand. Data acquisition equipment is located in an adjacent instrumentation cell. Existing DAQ capability provides for thermocouple and voltage measurements at high speed (1.25Msamples/sec) or high resolution (16 bit) with programmable low pass filter. The instrumentation is expandable as needed for more measurement requirements. The test cell is prewired for instrumentation connections, which feed through the instrumentation cell into the JRC control room.
The rocket test stand engine is a modular heat sink design for a single injector element. The engine has water cooling for the nozzle segment. It relies on the copper segment to dissipate heat from the combustion chamber in short duration testing (typically < 5 sec.). The length of the motor can be varied by adding or removing segments. A windowed segment is used to perform optical diagnostics inside the combustion chamber. Various nozzles can be used in the engine to change the chamber pressure/flow rate/ expansion properties.