Friday, June 3, 2022

Holloman AFB Rocket Sled sets hypersonic ground (recoverable) rocket speed record.

In late March, the 846th Test Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., successfully stopped a reusable sled traveling at 6,400 feet per second on a monorail, making it a historic event for the team’s Hypersonic Sled Recovery, or HSR, effort.

Lt. Col. Paul Dolce, Commander, 846th Test Squadron, congratulated his team on this momentous achievement at the Holloman High Speed Test Track.

"What you accomplished marked the fastest recovery of a monorail sled in over 30 years, and the first time we have recovered a planned reusable sled at those speeds ever,” Dolce said. “Truly historic in my books! This could not have been done without everyone here who works at the track. 

“These efforts will now setup our future HyTIP [Hypersonic Test and Evaluation Investment Portfolio] runs for success and add a new capability for our hypersonic customers."

Daniel Lopez, a project manager for the HHSTT, added that he hopes this is a sign of future successful hypersonic recovery tests.

“I echo what Lt. Col. Dolce said,” Lopez said. “Excellent job to the entire team for their hard work and innovation. This just sets the bar that much higher.”

The 846 TS has been responding to a significant increase in demand for hypersonic weapons testing, with a focus on improving its high-speed breaking capability in order to recover sleds for post-test analysis. HHSTT is the only sled track capable of recovering sleds with test articles from velocities over Mach 5.

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.


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