Test Stand D-1
Building number 620c

Built in 1949-50, Test Stand D-1 was the largest rocket test stand that stood at the west end of Test Area D.  It was a massively-constructed reinforced concrete structure, 37’9” tall.  The stand had a working and utility floor at ground level and an upper firing floor.  A concrete-block room attached to the north side, containing an internal stairway, provided access to the firing floor via a double steel door.  There was also an external ramp up to the firing floor on the south side of the building.  A large steel gantry crane was attached to the south side of the structure, and a 5-ton electric hoist mounted on the ceiling of the building was used to lift rockets into firing position.  A rectangular fuel neutralizing pit for receiving rocket exhaust during vertical test firings was built into the ground at the south side of the stand (beneath the gantry).

Building Information

Year Built

1949-50

Fabric

Reinforced concrete foundation, floor, and walls, bituminous built-up roof; concrete block north room

Size

2 stories, 37'9" height; 29' x 20' plus 8' x 15' (north room)

Alterations

None

Construction

  • Test Stand D-1, designed by the Bureau of Yards and Docks, was under construction when NARL published its January 1950 progress report. It was considered the most up-to-date and best equipped static test stand of its kind in the country at that time, with a thrust capacity of 100,000 pounds (exceeded only by the large test stand at White Sands). Firings could be from either horizontal or vertical attitudes for durations of up to five seconds, and rockets up to 20' long by 30 " diameter could be mounted.

    D-1 was one of the first three test stands built by the Navy in Test Area D. The other two, D-2 and D-3 (called the "small scale test stands," having thrust capacity of 20,000 pounds), stood further east, flanking a control room for all three. Firings at Test Stand D-1 were controlled and viewed by remote control from this part of the facility. D-2, D-3 and the control room collectively make up present-day Building 3607.

    These photographs from the NARL report of January 1950 illustrate the construction of the stand, from clearing the land through near-completion in early 1950, and men working in the control room circa 1959. D-1 would remain in use for 20 years.

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    The control room for Test Stand D-1, circa 1959 (located in Building 3607)

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Additional Building Photographs

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    Firing floor with mount and gantry door

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    Working/utility floor at ground level

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    Entrance to firing floor

Drawings (click for zoomable image)

  • Called on original plan drawings the "Booster Test Pit," Test Stand D-1 was designed by the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks as part of a new facility for the Navy's "L.F. [Liquid Fuel] Rocket Test Laboratory" in 1949. It could handle either liquid fueled rocket engines with their own tanks, or solid fuel engines. In 1958, plans were drawn up to convert the test stand for use solely for liquid propellants testing, with an addition on the west side to hold fixed oxidizer and fuel tanks. This alteration was apparently never carried out.

  • Building 3603 site plan
  • Building 3603 plan and section
  • Building 3603 plan and section
  • Building 3603 Section Details
  • Building 3603 test cell detail