Debris Hazard at a Rocket Motor Test Cell Facility - An 'Accidental' Study
SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INST SAN ANTONIO TX
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The J-5 test cell at Arnold Engineering Development Center AEDC is the only national facility for testing large solid-propellant rocket motors at simulated flight-altitude conditions. However, the cell was not sited to meet the quantity-distance criteria required for testing motors containing propellant equivalent to 20,000 lb of TNT. This motor and other motors containing similar propellant amounts were being tested in J-5 using explosives safety waivers since no other facility is available in which to test them. Safety personnel concerned with the serious potential hazards for other unique test capabilities at AEDC funded a study to examine the distribution of debris and define the hazard at the J-5 test cell resulting from accidental detonation of rocket motors containing propellant equivalent to 20,000 and 30,000 lb of TNT. While the study was in progress, an actual mishap occurred during a test of one of the motors being examined in the study. The estimated sequence of events during the mishap and the distribution of motor, test cell, and building debris after the accident as compared with predicted debris arcs are presented in this paper.
- Safety Engineering
- Solid Propellant Rocket Engines