The test at the Old Blimp Base was a typical demonstration of the kind of problems that can be experienced in testing rocket engines. Delivery of the cryogenic nitrogen was no problem. However, delivery of the relatively small quantieies of oxygen and methane (600 gallons each) were provided whenever a large delivery was made in the area. Our storage tanks performed satisfactorly however and we had sufficient propellant on the day of testing.
The new engine had the same ignition system that performed very well on the previous engines. However, successful ignition was never accomplished. After two adjustments of the ignition system with still no success, the third attempt produced the classic major problem with testing rocket engines. The propellant that was not ignited in the engine combustion chamber was ignited on the test stand. Similar results were experienced on the two previous test runs but there was apparently enough breeze to carry away much of the propellant and there was no problem. However, on the third try, there was a “BIG BANG”. The attached photos show the test stand before and after the test. The investment in an automatic shutdown system would have paid good dividends. The bottom line is that the next engine will have dual ignitions of two different types.
Also attached is a photo of the new engine (in the shop) that is sized for use on the first Advent vehicle. The plan calls for eight of these 4,500 pound thrust engines for the first Advent vehicle. Hopefully a more “capable” test facility will will be available soon.