Small Test Stand D-6
Building number 620c

This test stand was built in 1956 along with a control room immediately to the west (Building 3605). D-6 was a 12' by 14' reinforced concrete structure used for testing solid propellant motors and Jet-assited take-off units (Jatos) up to a thrust capacity of 40,000 pounds. Jatos were mounted on a roller frame and bolted to rails imbedded in the floor. Firing was done horizontally or at slight angles using special mounts. The firing bay had double steel doors that opened for testing out to the south. The interior was divided by ½" thick steel partitions into 3 rooms, a large full-width firing room and two smaller rooms behind it, each with an exterior door on the side. The roof was slightly pitched down to the north. There were small louvered vents situated high up on each side of the firing bay. In 1960, Test Stand D-6 was destroyed in a failed liquid-fueled rocket motor test – evidently, the stand was completely rebuilt, though not until 1964.

Building Information

Year Built

1956

Fabric

Reinforced concrete slab floor, walls, and roof

Size

1 story, 12’ x 14’

Alterations

Rebuilt circa 1960

Firing!

  • Building No. 3606
  • Building No. 3606
  • Test Stand D-6 had to be rebuilt at least once. In his book Ignition!, John D. Clark used these NARTS photos to show successful and unsuccessful rocket motor tests at D-6. Here is his description of the failed test of a new monopropellant in the summer of 1960:

    The motor blew on startup…the fragments from the injector smashed into the tank, and set off the 200 pounds of propellant in that. (Each pound of propellant had more available energy than two pounds of TNT.) I never saw such a mess. The walls of the test cell – two feet of concrete – went out, and the roof came in. The motor itself – a heavy, workhorse job of solid copper – went about 600 feet down range. And a six-foot square of armor plate sailed into the woods, cutting off a few trees at the root, smashing a granite boulder, bouncing into the air and slicing off a few treetops, and finally coming to rest some 1400 feet from where it started. The woods looked as though a stampeding herd of wild elephants had been through. When I got down to the test area after the bang, one of the rocket mechanics galloped up and demanded, "My God, Doc! What the Hell did you send us this time?" …this was just before NARTS was due to be "disestablished" and taken over by the Army, and [an officer from Picatinny] stated…"Now I know what the Navy means by 'disestablishement.'" (p. 165).

  • Building No. 3606

    Although NARTS’ strong suit was liquid rocket propulsion, they also tested solid fuel engines and Jet-assisted take-off units (Jatos) for the Navy and its contractors at Test Area D.  Here a Jato is being fired in Test Stand D-6.

Additional Building Photographs

  • Building No. 3606
  • Building No. 3606

Drawings (click for zoomable image)

  • Building 3606 plan
  • Building 3606 Ventilation Plan