Rocket Test Group

To enhance rocket ground test operational effort, reduce ground test costs and facilitate activation of new facilities.

RTG is an entirely volunteer organization of rocket test facility operators.

35th RTG Meeting - Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Posted on December 29, 2010

Purdue University’s Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories in West Lafayette, IN hosted the 35th Rocket Test Group (RTG) meeting on 11-12 November 2010. The RTG meeting is a 1.5-day working group for rocket test facility operators and managers to discuss testing facilities, their practices, upgrades and changes, and recent tests.

The RTG meets twice a year to discuss current issues facilities are facing and present on new practices, recent rocket firings, experiments, facility upgrades and changes, and new test cells. The RTG meetings also provide a forum to discuss problems a test cell is having and gather input on possible solutions from other test facility experts. RTG meetings provide an environment that allows operators and managers to discuss their issues and brainstorm/discuss solutions to problems.

Each RTG meeting is held at a different test facility and includes facility overview presentations and a tour of the facilities themselves. The tour at this meeting included Purdue University’s static rocket test cells and the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Thirty-seven attendees from twenty-one organizations (five government organizations, six universities, and ten commercial companies) involved in rocket test facilities participated in the 35th RTG meeting. Technical presentations were provided and discussed, including the topics of university test facilities, cryogenic test facilities, hypergolic gel research, helium and hydrogen recovery, guided wave radar liquid level detection system, incorporating test data into valve modeling, digital imaging inside a motor plume, low thrust measurement issues with dynamic response profiles, and the Nation’s test facility capabilities.

At this meeting, the RTG was also fortunate to have NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) provide its two-day Hydrogen System Design, Analysis, and Operations Safety Training course at Purdue University for the two days prior to the meeting. The course, led by a WSTF instructor, was filled with a mixture of rocket test facility operators and Purdue University professors and graduate students.