This ethereal photograph from December 12, 1960 shows a rocket test at the Bravo test stand on NASA’s part of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The golden tones and aquamarine color make this previously unpublished photograph one of the most awe-inspiring images we’ve ever seen of a rocket test at the lab.
Bravo II was activated in April 1956 and conducted over 209 tests while BRAVO I and Bravo III began operating the following August. Though records aren’t available for Bravo III’s testing quantity, Bravo I is known to have conducted over 489 rocket engine ignitions.
The Bravo test area was initially constructed for testing of Atlas engines but it was modified shortly after construction to perform testing of large components and eventually was involved in the testing and development of the Thor, F-1 engine predecessor, F-1 engine components, and Delta vernier engines.
Its most significant event was perhaps the test of F-1 engine turbopumps and several F-1 thrust chamber ignition tests. Bravo was later modified for turbopump and vernier engine testing for the RS-27 and Atlas programs.
NASA’s Area II included the Alpha and Bravo test stands and is heavily polluted as are some of the surrounding structures including the Hazardous Waste Storage Tank Area, Waste Coolant Tank, Storable Propellant Area, and the Alfa/Bravo Fuel Farm.
NASA is responsible for the cleanup of contamination in this area that comes from volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, petroleum hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, dioxins and furans.
The 188 acre area where Alpha and Bravo are situated is at the top of one of the Los Angeles River’s watersheds.
EnviroReporter.com thanks NASA’s Merrilee Fellows for this amazing photograph.
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I recently began making experimental solid-fuel rocket engines and I am looking for a place to test-fire them. Hmmm.