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Los Alamos Lab Spin-Tests Nuclear Missile

Scientists and engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are using a new centrifuge facility to evaluate a flight-ready telemetry equipment for evaluating test missile launches. The equipment transmits a stream of data on the missile’s temperature, acceleration, vibration, and strain at various parts of the weapon’s airframe. Because test missile flights end with missiles being destroyed, telemetry data from the flight must be collected by receiving stations along the flight path.

The centrifuge test subjects the telemetry electronics to a high gravitational load that’s representative of what it will experience when re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The centrifuge spins test articles at speeds that generate 200 g’s. This centrifuge is also the first one that can handle equipment including significant quantities of high explosives.

The goal of this particular test is to put a very large gravitational force on the telemetry unit—greater than 100 G—to confirm that it continuously and reliably transmits accurate data during the re-entry phase of the launch to target sequence.

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