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Air Force tests rocket fuel

July 19, 2010 at 11:43 AM   |   Comments

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., July 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Air Force scientists have performed their own rocket propellant test without contractor assistance and eye continued in-house experimentation.

The Armed Forces News Service reported that officials at the Air Force Research Laboratory said the 3-second, 15-pound Ballistic Test and Evaluation System, in which a small-scale apparatus is used to test rocket propellant and designs in a standardized rocket motor casing, yielded extraordinary amount of data due to new high-speed digital video cameras used for recording it.

"What's special about this test is that it was entirely in-house," said 1st. Lt. Rob Antypas, the AFRL program manager and a developmental engineer. "The propellant was made here, the rocket motor and nozzle were designed and fabricated here and then we put it on the test stand."

Antypas said this was the first time in a long time that AFRL people designed their own in-house rocket motor in order to conduct a test. Rocket motor development had been contracted previously.

Air Force scientists want to develop more powerful and efficient rocket fuel for future space vehicles and rockets but will have to do so primarily on their own for the time being, the report said, because companies are doing very little development of new and improved solid rocket fuels because of costs and funding cuts.

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