New Rocket Motor Tested

The Air Force and its industry partners on Dec. 9 conducted the first full-scale static test firing of Alliant Techsystems’ Castor 30 rocket motor at the Arnold Engineering Development Center’s J-6 test facility on the grounds of Arnold AFB, Tenn. The Castor 30 motor is the second-stage motor for Orbital Sciences’ Taurus II space launch vehicle that will carry supplies to the International Space Station starting in March 2011. A larger variant of the motor is envisioned for future Air Force rockets. “This test is significant to the Air Force because the technology can be used to support some of the Air Force weapons systems in development,” said Lt. Col. James Colebank, commander of Arnold’s 718th Test Squadron. The motor burned for about two and a half minutes, longer than any other rocket motor tested there. (Arnold report by Philip Lorenz III) (See also ATK’s release.)