Shepard Test Stand Safety Procedures v1.1

This is a newer document based on this one , and you should refer to that original version if you want to see the revision history.


This document includes procedures that are designed to ensure the safe operation of the Shepard Test Stand. Each safety procedure item is labeled with a prefix of "STSSP", which stands for "Shepard Test Stand Safety Procedure". This prefix is followed by the number of the main section (i.e. 1), which is then followed by the number of the specific item (i.e. x.1). This is done so that the procedures are easy to reference for training purposes or to point out a specific safety violation.

Safety Procedures

  • STSSP 1 - In accordance with the NAR Motor Testing Manual :
    • STSSP 1.1 - Follow NAR Safety Code where appropriate (see next section for details).
    • STSSP 1.2 - Handle all motors and igniters per manufacturer’s instructions, including operating procedures and safe storage with particular attention to temperature and humidity.
    • STSSP 1.3 - Should a motor under test fail catastrophically, do not approach the test stand until it is safe to do so (any debris has landed, the motor is done firing, etc).
    • STSSP 1.4 - Should the test stand be damaged during testing, do not use the test stand for further testing until it has been repaired.
  • STSSP 2 - In accordance with the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code :
    • STSSP 2.1 - Use only certified and unmodified commercial rocket motors (such as those manufactured by Estes Rockets ).
    • STSSP 2.2 - Use only unmodified commercial Launch Controllers (such as the Electron Beam Launch Controller ) per manufacturer’s instructions to ignite the motor under test.
    • STSSP 2.3 - In the event of a misfire, remove the safety pin from the the Launch Controller and wait 60 seconds from the final test attempt before approaching the test stand.
    • STSSP 2.4 - Ensure all participants and observers stay out of the Safety Radius and Cones of Exclusion (including while setting up a test) as shown on the diagram below whenever the igniter is connected to the Launch Controller. See Figure 2.4.
    • STSSP 2.5 - Ensure all participants and observers are aware of any tests about to begin.
    • STSSP 2.6 - Always use a countdown before igniting a motor during a test.
    • STSSP 2.7 - Only test A through E sized motors, and use the appropriate adaptors for A through D motors (see Operating Manual for more details).
  • STSSP 3 - Fire Prevention and Management :
    • STSSP 3.1 - Do not operate the test stand in areas where there are local burn bans or zoning regulations. Consult local officials for information concerning such bans or regulations.
    • STSSP 3.2 - Ensure that the testing area is clear of any flammable debris and operation of the test stand does not present a risk of fire (such as dry grass or brush fires).
    • STSSP 3.3 - Ensure the test stand is oriented such that the motor exhaust points away from any pathways (such as sidewalks, parking lots, or roads).
    • STSSP 3.4 - Ensure there is a large bucket of water and an All-Purpose Fire Extinguisher at the test control station (that is, next to the computer and Launch Controller) so there is easy access in the event of a small fire.
    • STSSP 3.5 - In the event of a small fire, put out grass (or similar) fires with the bucket of water, and put out fires on the test stand with the fire extinguisher.
    • STSSP 3.6 - In the event a small fire becomes a large fire, call the local fire department and maintain a safe distance.
    • STSSP 3.7 - Always follow general fire safety procedures when handling a fire event.


Figure 2.4


NAR - National Association of Rocketry
STSSP - Shepard Test Stand Safety Procedure

Shepard_Safety_Zones_Diagram.png (73.4 kB) Jeremy Wright, 01/19/2013 10:15 pm

Also available in: HTML TXT