Propulsion and Structural Test Facility

By Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms
Propulsion and Structural Test Facility
Propulsion and Structural Test Facility Photo courtesy of George C. Marshall Space Flight Center

Built in 1957 by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Propulsion and Structural Test Facility, in Huntsville, Alabama, became the primary center responsible for the development of large vehicles and rocket propulsion systems. During the 1960s, under the direction of Dr. Werner von Braun, the Saturn family of launch vehicles was developed here. This facility has supported testing of the Army Redstone Rocket, the Saturn S-1B vehicle and the F-1 engine of the Saturn 1-C vehicle employed in the Apollo program. One position of the test stand was later modified to accommodate static testing for the Solid Rocket booster currently used in the Space Shuttle program.

Continually used and modified to meet new demands, the Propulsion and Structural Test Facility has played a part in testing every important rocket developed by the Redstone Arsenal and, later, the Marshall Space Flight Center. Without the Propulsion and Structural Test Facility the Apollo missions and the American Space Program would never have succeeded. Years of testing at this site have literally launched the American Space Program.
 

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