Former ICBM rocket motor tested for space launch

Release Number: 200867

The U. S. Air Force successfully fired a Peacekeeper Stage III rocket engine under simulated altitude conditions at the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) today.

The rocket motor was tested for the Space Development and Test Wing, Launch Test Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. under the Rocket System Launch
Program (RSLP). The test objective was to determine the effect of age on the performance of the solid rocket motor.

RSLP provides space launch flight operations using commercial and excess ballistic missile assets. Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles were part of America's nuclear deterrent force from 1986 to 2005. Peacekeeper motors became RSLP assets when the weapon system was decommissioned.

AEDC has the only high altitude large rocket motor test cells in the department of defense. The cells are used to evaluate the performance of upper stage rocket motors under high altitude/near space conditions.

This test was accomplished in the center's J-6 high altitude rocket test cell. J-6, built in the 1990s, can test solid fuel rocket motors up to 500,000 pounds thrust under high altitude conditions. This was the 91st firing of a large solid fueled rocket motor under simulated high altitude conditions in J-6.

AEDC has previously tested 26 Peacekeeper Stage III motors for development, flight proof, qualification, production quality assurance and aging and surveillance programs. This is the first RSLP test of the motor at AEDC. The motor has a burn time of just more than a minute and a maximum thrust of 75,000 pounds.
AEDC at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., is the nation's largest complex of flight simulation test facilities.