Spacecraft Propulsion System Test Capability at the NASA White Sands Test Facility 931445
The NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF), a component installation of the Johnson Space Center, is located on a 94-square-mile site in southwestern New Mexico. WSTF maintains many unique capabilities to support its mission to “test and evaluate spacecraft materials, components, and propulsion systems to enable the safe human exploration and utilization of space.”
WSTF has tested over 340 rocket engines with more than 2.5 million firings to date. Included are propulsion system testing for Apollo, Shuttle, and now Space Station as well as unmanned spacecraft such as Viking, Pioneer, and Mars Observer. This paper describes the current WSTF propulsion test facilities and capabilities.