A-3 Test Stand
|A-3 Test Stand|
|Center:||Stennis Space Center|
|Location:||Hancock County, MS|
|Year Built:||in progress|
|Historic Eligibility:||not currently eligible|
|Important Tests:||facility not yet complete|
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In 2007, it was announced that a new test stand would be built at Stennis Space Center for testing the next generation of rocket engines. Called the A-3 Test Stand, this huge structure is the first major engine test facility constructed at Stennis since the 1960s. It stands approximately 300 feet tall and is designed to withstand up to 1 million pounds of thrust.
The A-3 stand will allow operators to simulate altitude conditions of up to 100,000 feet, achieved using a network of chemical steam generators, to conduct full-duration tests on the new engines, and to gimbal the engines (rotate them in the way they will move during flight). The combination of these capabilities will be unique across all NASA centers, and will allow for full testing of the J-2X engine developed to power the Ares I and Ares V rockets. Initial testing of this engine is already underway on the A-1 stand.
Groundbreaking for the new test stand occurred in August 2007, and in April 2009 the completion of the structural frame was celebrated with the placement of the final beam. The A-3 Test Stand is scheduled to be completed in 2012.