The following press release is from Holloman AFB:
Officials at the Holloman High Speed Test Track have announced they will attempt a world record test run on Jan. 31.
The test is part of a project for the Navy, which will blast the rail-mounted rocket sled to a speed of Mach 8.9. The sled will carry a Sandia National Laboratories-designed payload and will reach a predicted velocity of 6,494 miles per hour and detonate at the north end of the track. The current record is 9,456 feet per second (6,453 miles per hour) or Mach 8.6.The sled train will consist of three pusher sleds and forebody sled. The motors will deliver a total thrust of 814,000 pounds. The payload will travel a distance of 3.61 miles in about 6 seconds. A helium tent will enclose 2.77 miles of the track in order to reduce the aerodynamic heating and drag on the payload.
The HHSTT occupies 11 square miles in the northwest area of Holloman and is adjacent to the White Sands Missile Range. The facility is seen as a bridge between laboratory experiments and full-scale flight testing for advanced weapons systems. Past tests on the 10-mile track have consisted of egress systems, aerothermal, dispense and infrared countermeasures. The HHSTT supports testing for Air Force, Navy, Army, Missile Defense Agency, international and commercial customers.
First constructed in 1949 for $451,000, the original 3,550 feet has since been extended to 50,788 feet in length. The test is scheduled for 7 p.m., however, delays can be expected. For those wanting to catch a glimpse of the world record event, the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo will be an excellent location for viewing. For more information and photos of the HHSTT, visit the Holloman AFB website at www.holloman.af.mil.