Rocket Test Stand No. 2, American Rocket Society (ARS)

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    Rocket Test Stand No. 2, American Rocket Society (ARS)

    Rectangular, all-metal framed stand with screwed on metal plate, or instrument plate, on the lower front side where instrument guages are mounted which could be read in safety at a distance while the rocket motors were static tested on the stand. The rocket motors were secured by resting in a V-shaped horizontal trough and secured by two bolted bars over the trough (one bar missing). The trough is mounted on a shelf on top of the stand and is moveable (while a rocket engine fired) by this component being a rail-like structure with four horizontal wheels underneath. During operation, the forward part of the trough was connected (unconnected or incomplete in this artifact) to an oil syphon bellows or hydraulic piston which exerted a pressure that could be read as the thrust on a large "reaction guage" or dial originally mounted in the center of the instrument plate (see below and also Curatorial Remarks for further clarrification). The thrust could also apparently be shown on a vertically mounted linear scale at the right of the stand, on a scale of 0-3 with smaller divisions marked off by simple black lines on a white background, without numbers. Additionally, the thrust could possibly be measured from 0-200 psi on a smaller, circular guage described below. The guages or dials on the instrument plate consist of: three identical glass-faced Lonergan [Company], Philadelphia, standard pressure guages (0-500 [psi]) on the lower front of the plate; one smaller glass-faced Air Reduction Sales Co., New York, pressure guage (perhaps a smaller version of the original "reaction guage") for measuring thrusts, at upper right corner, with valve underneath it; one large white-faced clock-like guage in upper center, with Roman numerals, V, X, and V only; and one hand-made seconds clock at upper left. Painted red in front of instrumenta plate and rocket motor cradle, for ease in sighting at a distance during static firings. The sighting were usually made by the experimenters crouched down at a safe distance away and sighting with binoculars. Two brass or copper colored fuel and oxidizer tanks and valves in back of stand. Frame, overall, and linar guage holder painted gray. Rocket motor was replicated by Gary Gordon, Machinist, Restoration, and installed in July 2010. Some copper tubing and a spark plug wire are also replicas, not original to the artifact. For display in Pioneers of Flight, two "C" clamps were installed on the replica motor, August 31, 2010.

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    ARS Test Stand No. 2

    Members of the American Rocket Society built this second and more elaborate test stand in 1938 to test their liquid-fuel rocket engines.

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Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

This is American Rocket Society (ARS) Test Stand Stand No. 2 used in ground tests of experimental rocket motors. Built in 1938, it had a thrust capacity of 200 pounds.

The stand notably proved the effectiveness of James H. Wyld's regeneratively-cooled motor in tests from 1938 to 1941. This led Wyld and three other ARS members to form Reaction Motors, Inc. (RMI) in 1941, America's first commercial liquid-fuel rocket company which later built the 6000-pound thrust rocket engine for the Bell X-1 research rocket aircraft that broke the sound barrier in October 1947.

The stand was last used in 1942 when loaned to RM. It then was loaned in 1953 to the ARS. It was donated to the Smithsonian in 1967 by the Reaction Motors Division, Thiokol Chemical Corp.