Edwards Boosts In-House Expertise

Air Force Research Laboratory technicians at Edwards AFB, Calif., recently accomplished what they hadn’t done for a long time. They conducted a test of a new solid rocket propellant using components developed exclusively in their lab “The propellant was made here, the rocket motor and nozzle were designed and fabricated here, and then we put it on the test stand,” said 1st. Lt. Rob Antypas, AFRL’s program manager for this initiative. This ballistic test and evaluation system, or BATES, test was a three-second burn of 15 pounds of propellant. In recent years, such rocket motor development was farmed out to contractors. But with changes in industry, in-house development and testing is expected to become the normal procedure for AFRL, he said. The next BATES test is scheduled for August 5. (Edwards report by Kenji Thuloweit)