White Sands Test Facility


White Sands Test Facility

White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) is a rocket engine test facility and a resource for testing and evaluating potentially hazardous materials, space flight components, and rocket propulsion systems. NASA established WSTF on the White Sands Missile Range in 1963. [cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/about/wstfcomm.html | title=WSTF Community |publisher=NASA] WSTF services are available to NASA, the United States Department of Defense, other federal agencies, universities and commercial industry. WSTF is managed by the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. WSTF is located in the foothills of the Organ Mountains, eleven miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Rocket Propulsion

The primary mission of WSTF is to support NASA's Space Shuttle and Space Station Programs. As the official Johnson Space Center (JSC) Propulsion Systems Development Facility, WSTF participates in propulsion systems testing, with test expertise in hypergolic propellant handling and training, and it is the Shuttle Fleet Leader for testing orbital maneuvering and reaction control subsystems. [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/propulsion/index.html WSTF Propulsion]

White Sands Test Facility offers numerous ambient pressure and altitude simulation stands to test rocket propulsion test systems as well as single rocket engines.

* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/propulsion/altitude.html Altitude Testing]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/propulsion/ambient.html Ambient Testing]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/propulsion/shuttleFleetLeader.html Fleet Leader Testing]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/propulsion/uniquePropTest.html Unique Propulsion Test Expertise]

Laboratories

WSTF performs testing designed to better understand materials used in space flight. [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/index.html WSTF Laboratories]

* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/oxygen/index.html Oxygen Systems]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/propellant/index.html Propellant Systems]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/hypervelocity/index.html Hypervelocity Impact Testing]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/composite/index.html Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPV)]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/standard/index.html Standard Materials Testing]

Hardware Processing

The mission of the Hardware Processing Office is to provide the expertise to develop ground support equipment with the highest regard for safety and customer satisfaction. [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/index.html WSTF Hardware Processing]

* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/flight/index.html Flight and Critical Hardware and Depot Processing]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/component/index.html Component Services]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/fabrication/index.html Fabrication Services]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/measurement/index.html Measurement Standards and Calibration Laboratory]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/photovideo/index.html Photo / Video Services]
* [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/techpubs/index.html Technical Publication Services]

White Sands Space Harbor

WSTF operates the White Sands Space Harbor (WSSH), the primary training area for Space Shuttle pilots. [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/spaceharbor/index.html WSSH]

Health, Safety, and Environment at WSTF

WSTF's highest priority is maintaining a healthy and safe environment for its employees, contractors, visitors, and the surrounding community. [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hse/index.html HSE at WSTF] . Since the late 1990s, NASA and a series of subcontractors have been working under the oversight of the New Mexico Environment Department to remediate a large plume of polluted ground water caused by repeated rocket tests at the site. Remediation has involved the construction of six wells from which the groundwater is pumped; a UV reactor which treats the contaminated water; and four injection wells to inject the cleaned water back into the water table. A second, similar system is currently in the planning stage.

Chemical and Physical Properties of Materials

The engineers, chemists, and scientists in WSTF laboratories conduct testing of hazardous materials and propellants, air quality, aerospace hardware and ground support equipment, and all materials used in space flight. Standard Testing for ASTM and NASA, as well as ignition and flammability testing is routinely performed.

Hazards Assessment

WSTF laboratory facilities conduct hazardous fluid assessment, hypervelocity tests, and explosive hazard assessment. The High Energy Blast Facility performs explosive testing with solid, cryogenic, hypergolic propellants, and other high explosives.

Oxygen Systems

Oxygen compatibility is a critical issue in space, aircraft, medical, and industrial applications. At WSTF, researchers investigate the effects of increased oxygen concentration on the ignition and burning of materials and components used in these applications. Hazards analyses are performed on materials, components, and systems; and failure analyses determine the cause of fires. Training courses about design and operation of safe oxygen systems are provided by WSTF personnel under the auspices of ASTM. [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/oxygen/index.html WSTF NASA Oxygen Systems]

Space Flight Hardware

The Propulsion Component Test Facility at WSTF is an Orbiter and International Space Station Depot Repair Facility. Flight hardware assembly, repair, and acceptance testing for private aerospace manufacturers is performed. WSTF refurbishes hypergolic propellant components for the Space Shuttle, handle advanced pyrovalve testing at two laboratory facilities, and perform failure investigations. [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/hardware/index.html WSTF NASA Hardware Processing]

Launch and Landing Support

White Sands Space Harbor (WSSH) is the primary training area for Space Shuttle pilots flying practice approaches and landings in the shuttle-training aircraft and T-38 aircraft. Runways, navigational aids, runway lighting, and control facilities continuously stand ready as a backup Shuttle landing site. [cite web | url = http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/spaceharbor/index.html | title = White Sands Space Harbor | publisher = NASA]

References


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