Located on the southwest corner of the White Sands Missile Range is NASA’s White Sands Test Facility (WSTF). WSTF maintains a key role in America’s space program and space-related technology by conducting tests on materials and components required in today’s innovative space vehicles and advancing the use of rocket engines that use nontoxic fuels through testing and evaluation.
An award-winning site, NASA’s White Sands Test Facility is a diverse testing facility used in support of NASA, other government agencies, the U.S. military and private industry. The facility is a remote component facility of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Located on 28 square miles, the White Sands Test Facility is a self-contained and remote testing entity. The facility has five core test capabilities: rocket propulsion testing, hypervelocity impact testing, propellants and aerospace fluids testing, oxygen systems testing and composite pressure systems testing. NASA’s White Sands Test Facility maintains a full-service facility for precision cleaning, repair and functional testing of fluid components. WSTF’s Hardware Processing Component Services Section (CSS) is responsible for the disassembly, cleaning, maintenance, reassembly and testing of pressure relief and pressure safety valves in compliance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) National Board Inspection Code (NBIC)/NB-23. After meeting the NBIC Part 3, Section 1 requirements, the WSTF Hardware Processing CSS is an approved “VR” certified facility holding the NBIC Certificate of Authorization and “VR” symbol stamp for the repair of pressure relief valves.
A key player in the space program since 1964, the test facility has created technical support capabilities for its customers, including chemistry and metallurgical laboratories, fabrication shops and clean rooms, which support the analysis, cleaning, refurbishment and calibration of equipment, hardware and test materials to stringent specifications. WSTF personnel have created safe system design and operations courses for oxygen, hydrogen, hypergolic propellants and other aerospace fluids and provide numerous opportunities for training and technology transfers of this information to other government agencies and private industry. NASA and contractors are all Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program Stars, denoting commitment and excellence to a safe work environment.
The facility maintains and operates nine rocket engine system test stands, six with long-duration, high-altitude simulation systems. In addition to existing hypergolic propulsion systems, WSTF also operates propellant supply systems for liquid oxygen, liquid methane and other hydrocarbons to enable testing of environmentally friendly, nontoxic rocket engines and propulsion systems. Other capabilities include a high-energy blast facility, oxygen-enriched atmosphere test facilities and hypervelocity impact test facilities. The site’s hypervelocity testing is invaluable to NASA’s understanding of micrometeoroid and orbital debris impacts to spacecraft to ensure the safety of crew and cargo. WSTF is engaged in extensive testing efforts to evaluate the compatibility of materials being considered for use in aerospace applications, including flammability and ignition susceptibility in varied atmospheres, off-gassing and out-gassing, thermal stability and toxicity. WSTF is involved in the evaluation and test of composite pressure systems safety, damage tolerance and use-life evaluation.
The site is certified to ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 9001:2008 Standard. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/centers/ wstf, call Robert Cort at 575-524-5521 or write to NASA-WSTF, P.O. Box 20, Las Cruces, NM 88004 to request capabilities data sheets.