Sandia Aims to Improve Flight Vibration Tests via Sounding Rocket Program

Jeff Brody

The New Mexico-based Sandia National Laboratories conducted a series of experiments to improve the accuracy of computer simulations or field tests of flight vibrations through the High Operational Tempo Sounding Rocket Program. 

A team led by Greg Tipton, an SNL structural dynamics engineer, installed pea-sized vibration measurement instruments within HOT SHOT rockets and analyzed data from the onboard sensors to determine the effects of a launch mission on nuclear deterence technology prototypes, Sandia said Friday. In another test, Tipton and his team integrated over a dozen experimental tools onto two sounding rockets and examined the possibility of predicting vibrations at any location in space.

“Flight gives you combined environments that you wouldn’t get on the ground,” Tipton said. "It’s spinning and it’s accelerating and it’s vibrating, there are shocks. It’s a whole different kind of environment.”

According to the lab, data collection efforts could foster the development of missile components that address power, size and weight requirements. The Sandia team also plans to study vibrating patches and acoustics to simulate complex vibrational patterns.

A Honeywell International subsidiary operates the multiprogram engineering and science facility for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

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