National Nuclear Security Administration

Kansas City National Security Campus launches rocket-based research campaign

January 3, 2019

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Researchers at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) ready a rocket for launch. Test engineers have begun to use research rockets to develop the technical knowledge required to improve weapon
Researchers at the Kansas City National Security Campus ready a rocket for launch.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that improved efficiency saves time and money.

Test engineers at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) have begun to use cost effective research sounding rockets to accelerate technology development cycles for weapon subsystems and components. Through the Research & Sounding Rockets (RASR) program, they are collecting flight test data to simultaneously evaluate multiple variables for emerging technologies.  

“The rocket environment provides multi-axis vibration and we hope to utilize the combined environments to validate predictions and facilitate discovery of performance issues. Outputs from these tests provide early insight into emerging technologies that we cannot readily obtain on the ground,” said RASR Systems Engineer David Lartonoix.

The 2018 inaugural launches were the first of many that will produce experimental data used to validate simulation models and test new/high-risk technologies with minimal negative impacts. KCNSC anticipates that the RASR program will dramatically reduce the development time of new technologies.

The initial RASR payload was flown to validate a 3D-printed metal simulation model and establish the environmental parameters of these rocket flights. This process takes advantage of current rocket test programs at partnering universities, leveraging their expertise and allowing KCNSC to fly payloads quickly and frequently at significantly reduced costs.

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