Mobile Vertical Test Stand

As part of the NASA-funded Payload Planners Guide program, SquidWorks has designed and constructed the Mobile Vertical Test Stand (MVTS) to flight qualify commercial and experimental hybrid rocket motors for use in the Modular Launch Vehicle system, enabling large numbers of flights to be conducted with repeatable thrust curves and at unprecedentedly low cost.

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MVTS was designed and constructed in a two month period, and weighs approximately 1300 pounds when fully loaded in its test configuration. Designed for test fires of up to 3000 lbf in thrust and a swappable core to allow for refitting to many different engines, MVTS will continue to be the center of SquidWorks propulsion development research for years to come. We currently have the test stand configured for collecting thrust, chamber pressure, oxidizer pressure, oxidizer temperature, and external slow-motion video data. More sensors are expected to be added over time as we improve MVTS. The data collected on MVTS has allowed us to test propellant loading conditions relevant to our liquid engine, isolate issues with combustion stability in our hybrid motors, and explore the life cycle of our motor hardware.

 

Previous work on MSU's first generation test stand highlighted the need for an adaptable platform that was also designed for fluid and rapid operations. MVTS can be easily rolled onto and off of a trailer for delivery to one of our two test pads with hold down points and safely rotated to the vertical test position by a team of three in the field. GSE & control systems are situated in quick to deploy mobile cases and carts. Being mobile allows us to choose between multiple test facilities depending on the engine being used, and negates the need for fixed enclosures for equipment. 

MVTS being set up for a test fire at the remote test site

Oxidizer loading seen through our FLIR imager at the local test site