The track serves as a critical link between laboratory-type investigations and full-scale flight tests by simulating selected portions of the flight environment under accurately programmed and instrumented conditions..
The HHSTT is the world's premier rocket sled test track. The HHSTT at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, is an aerospace ground test facility that conducted its first sled test in 1950. During tests, payload and instrumentation are moved along a straight-line path by means of rocket sleds, which operate on a set of heavy-duty crane rails. These rails span a total linear distance of 50,988 feet. They are continuously welded and aligned to rigid tolerances with respect to straightness and surface smoothness.
The Test Track provides a critical link between laboratory-type investigations and full-scale flight tests. The Test Track provides an efficient, safe, and cost-effective ground test alternative to expensive developmental flight tests. Complementing the Test Track itself, the overall HHSTT complex encompasses ancillary facilities for artificial rain simulation, an accurately surveyed ejection test area, captive and free-flight blast test sites, impact test sites, and a horizontal rocket test stand. Support facilities include buildings for electronic and photo-optical instrumentation, a telemetry ground station, and engineering and shop facilities for design and fabrication of test sleds.
Both military and civilian professionals operate the HHSTT and have the skills needed to design, fabricate, instrument, launch, photograph, and analyze the performance of test vehicles and payloads.