At the Redlands, California, proving grounds of Lockheed Propulsion Company, technicians prepare to test-fire solid propellant rocket motor for the U.
Motor in test bay
Forklift places microwave measurement rig and backs away
Engineers looking at motor
First pulse ignited, burns 10 seconds, tails off
Second pulse, same camera position
Another angle, third, fourth, and fifth pulses
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Background: At the Redlands, California, proving grounds of Lockheed Propulsion Company, technicians prepare to test-fire solid propellant rocket motor for the U.S. Navy. The motor, containing five separate propellant wafers which can be fired individually on command, is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of energy controlled solid rockets for use in air-launched Navy weapons systems. Scientists from the Naval Ordinance Test Station, China Lake, California, join Lockheed's engineers in a final inspection of the motor, moments before the firing...
An electronic signal from the block-house ignites the rocket's first pulse, a ten-second burst of flame and power which sends white hot gases at nearly 6,000-degree Fahrenheit temperature rushing from the nozzle at supersonic speed. The flame dies down as the propellant of the first grain is consumed, ...
Then, seconds later, the second grain fires. Each of the five solid propellant wafers will be ignited at intervals approximating those which might be planned for a potential flight mission. Total elapsed time of the test runs about seven minutes. To increase the realism of the demonstration, the motor has been subjected to severe environmental conditions representative of actual missions. For nearly two weeks it has been temperature-cycled over a range from minus 65 degrees to plus 165 degrees. Then it has been vibrated for two days to simulate conditions when carried on a high performance aircraft. Motor performance during the firing is monitored by oscillography and tape recorders. The scientists also measure the effect of the rocket exhaust plume on microwave signals passing through it.
After inspecting the motor and studying the data, Lockheed officials term the test a complete success. They predict that additional firings under increasingly severe environments will give further proof of the advantages of solid pulse motors for air-launched missiles.