A Private Tour Aboard US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie

On Monday, December 23rd, I was given the opportunity to get a private tour aboard the US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie with James and Phyllis Tucker (my uncle and aunt) that were celebrating their 50th anniversary and renewing their wedding vows the following day.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie. (Click to enlarge)

I began the day with giving them a tour of Pearl Harbor.  One thing I learned is that if you want to catch that first boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial… you need to be at Pearl Harbor very early.

At Pearl Harbor.  USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

At Pearl Harbor. USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, we arrived at Pearl Harbor around 8:00 and when we got our tickets to go out to the USS Arizona the time of our departure was 12:45 in the afternoon so instead of visiting the Arizona Memorial we just cruised around Pearl Harbor.

Checking out WWII displays.

Checking out WWII displays.  (Click to enlarge)

At 10:30 I had an appointment set up with a Public Affairs Officer to meet with them at the Navy’s Pass and ID Gate.  We arrived their shortly after 10:00 and let them know that we were waiting for them at the location agreed upon.  My Uncle, Aunt and I then climbed into a Navy van where we were lead into the confines of Pearl Harbor.  I had not told my Uncle or Aunt what we were about to do previously, however, I did tell them to be prepared and wear some walking shoes.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs

As we arrived at the USS Lake Erie my uncle said “That’s a big ship!”.  At this point I broke the news to them that we were getting a private invitation aboard the ship and I don’t know what they were thinking but I know my uncle was pretty excited about it.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID

We signed in with Navy personnel fronting the ship and showed them are identification so that we could get boarding passes and then quickly made our way aboard the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship

We met Lt. Hillenbrand on board the ship and he told us that he would act as our escort around the boat.  We started at the front of the ship where Lt. Hillenbrand talked to us about the fighting capabilities of the ship and a little history about the ship.

"That's a big gun" said James Tucker.

“That’s a big gun” said James Tucker

USS Lake Erie (CG-70) is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy, named after the U.S. Navy’s decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. She is the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Hawaii.  Lake Erie’s motto, “Courage, Determination, Peace,” honors the memory of the men who fought the Battle of Lake Erie and Mrs. Margaret Meyer. Courage to fight, Determination to win, with Peace as the ultimate goal.”

We had the first hand opportunity to see the upkeep of the ship that is done by the sailors as folks were grinding away rust and painting the ship… some folks literally using small brushes to get in the tiniest of spots.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”

At ll:00 we made our way to the entrance of the ship as Lieutenant Commander Troy Noonen was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his time served aboard the ship as this would be his last day on the ship after serving on her for since May of 2011.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship

Seeing Lt. Noonen off of the ship:

Lt. Noonens last moment on USS Lake Erie.

Lt. Noonen’s last moment on USS Lake Erie

We then continued on with our tour of the ship where we got to see the helicopter pad and where they store the helicopter and they explained how the helicopter was brought inside of the ship when not in use.

The helicopter pad.

The helicopter pad

We then moved to the bridge of the ship where we got to see where the ship is steered from… of course my uncle wanted to sit in the “Captain’s Chair”!  They talked to us about the general characteristics of the ship and how it was steered and what each seat was for within the bridge.

"You think the Captain would mine if I sat in his chair?"

“You think the Captain would mind if I sat in his chair?”

My uncle, aunt and I all learned a lot about the ship on our brief time above her.  I of course couldn’t get off the ship w/out landing another coin for my collection!

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

Here is a video of what they did back in September:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/pLnQ4SxTOQU]

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test today of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (8:30 p.m. EDT), a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target. The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target. Official U.S. Navy Video courtesy Missile Defense Agency www.mda.mil

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Milestone for Hawaiiʻs First Space Launch Completed In New Mexico

The 135-ft. rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i’s first space launch, known as ORS-4, was unveiled today at the National Technical Systems (NTS) facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NTS and Western Fabrication built the rail launcher In addition, a full-sized model of the Super Strypi rocket that will be used in the Hawai‘i launch was unveiled.

The rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i's first space launch is unveiled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Attached to the rail launcher is a scale model of the Super Strypi rocket that will carry a satellite constructed by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students. The launcher will be disassembled and transported to the 2014 launch site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories.

The rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i’s first space launch is unveiled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Attached to the rail launcher is a scale model of the Super Strypi rocket that will carry a satellite constructed by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students. The launcher will be disassembled and transported to the 2014 launch site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories.

The mission manager for the launch is the Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office.  The Open House event was hosted by ORS and project partners Sandia National Laboratories, the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i, Aerojet Rocketdyne Corp., and the University of Hawai‘i’s Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL).  The launch is currently planned for spring 2014.

The ORS-4 mission is sponsored by the ORS Office and is the first launch of the Super Strypi launch system.This mission will demonstrate a new, low-cost launch capability able to deliver 300 kilograms to Low-Earth Orbit.  This is the first orbital launch from the Pacific Missile Range Facility and will carry the University of Hawai‘i’s hyperspectral imager as the primary payload, along with 12 cubesats in an integrated payload stack.  This demonstration will enable low-cost launch alternatives and range processes for the future.

When the Super Strypi rocket takes flight from the U.S. Navy’s PMRF on Kaua‘i, it will be carrying a satellite designed and built by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students.  UH will have also played a significant role in getting the satellite into space.  With this mission, UH has become one of the only universities in the world to have both satellite fabrication capabilities and direct access to orbital space.  Interim President David Lassner said, “The University of Hawai‘i is pleased to support the State in becoming a low-cost gateway to space and to provide our students with real-world experience that will be invaluable as we train Hawai‘iʻs aerospace workforce.”

Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory Director Luke Flynn with a model of the launcher and Super Strypi launch vehicle.

Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory Director Luke Flynn with a model of the launcher and Super Strypi launch vehicle.

HSFL is responsible for payload development, and project management of the rail launcher and launch pad. The University of Hawai‘i’s faculty and students are building the primary payload called HiakaSat.  “Hiaka” means “to recite legends or fabulous stories” in Hawaiian.  It is also an acronym for Hyperspectral Imaging, Aeronautical Kinematic Analysis.  The 110-lb. satellite is being designed to do a number of things including performing thermal hyperspectral imaging.

HSFL was established in 2007 within the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and the College of Engineering.  As a multidisciplinary research and education center, HSFL brings together individuals from diverse areas and other UH campuses to work on the exploration and understanding of the space environment.  Kaua‘i Community College will be the primary communications link for the satellite.  Honolulu Community College is designing one of the satellite payloads and will operate a receiving station during the mission.  Windward Community College and UH Hilo are also involved.

Lassner said, “The Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory has brought in more than $35 million in government funding for this project and is partnering with top tier aerospace companies for our State’s first space launch.  It is a great example of the critical role UH plays in the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative to build the research sector and to create exciting jobs for future generations.”

HSFL Director Luke Flynn says the university would like to be able to launch small satellites on a regular basis, which will attract companies that are looking for affordable ways to test space technology.  HSFL is looking for partners willing to invest in this endeavor.

The launch rail system will now be disassembled and moved to the PMRF site on the island of Kaua‘i, where it will be reassembled for the 2014 launch.

 

Navy – Missile Defense System Completes Successful Intercept Test Off Kauai Last Night

The Missile Defense Agency and Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie conducted a successful flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system yesterday, Pentagon officials reported.

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED

In the test, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense 4.0 weapon system and a Standard Missile 3 Block IB missile intercepted a separating ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean.

A separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, and flew northwest toward a broad ocean area. The USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB missile.

The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space based on guidance from Aegis BMD weapon system and released its kinetic warhead. The warhead acquired the target re-entry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target.

Initial indications are that all components performed as designed, officials said, and program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

Last night’s event, designated Flight Test Maritime 19, was the third consecutive successful intercept test of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system and the SM-3 Block IB guided missile, and the 25th successful intercept in 31 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002.

In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Saturday Nov. 1, 2008 enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai. The target missile was successfully intercepted by a Standard Missile - 3 (SM-3) launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton. However a second threat target missile was not successfully destroyed by the USS Hopper according to the Navy. (AP Photo/US Navy)

In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Saturday Nov. 1, 2008 enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai. The target missile was successfully intercepted by a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton. However a second threat target missile was not successfully destroyed by the USS Hopper according to the Navy. (AP Photo/US Navy)

Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 59th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 74 flight tests since 2001, officials said.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. The MDA and the Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

Aegis Missile Defense System Intercepts Target in Test Off Kauai

The Missile Defense Agency and sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie conducted a successful flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system today, resulting in the intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by a Standard Missile-3 Block IA guided missile.

At 4:10 a.m. EST, a unitary medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest toward a broad area of the Pacific Ocean.

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED Stock Photo)

The in-orbit Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrators, or STSS-D, detected and tracked the target, and forwarded track data to the USS Lake Erie. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system, used “Launch on Remote” doctrine to engage the target.

The ship developed a fire control solution from the STSS-D track and launched the SM-3 Block IA guided missile about five minutes after target launch. The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space and released its kinetic warhead. The warhead acquired the target re-entry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target.

Initial indications are that all components performed as designed, officials said. Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test, they added.

Today’s event, designated Flight Test Standard Missile-20, or FTM-20, was a demonstration of the ability of space-based assets to provide mid-course fire control quality data to an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ship, extending the battle space, providing the ability for longer-range intercepts and defense of larger areas, officials said.

FTM-20 is the 24th successful intercept in 30 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 58th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 73 flight tests since 2001.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense is the sea-based component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. The Aegis BMD engagement capability defeats short- to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase ballistic missile threats with the SM-3, as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the SM-2 Block IV missile.

The MDA and the Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

Navy in Hawaii Wins Top Prize for Energy

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was the big winner today in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. recognizing commands that are leading the way in energy security.

CAPT Jeff James, Joint Base Commander, and teams from Hawaii were on hand to receive the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Energy and Water Management Award.

U.S. Navy courtesy photo

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recognized select commands for leading the Department of the Navy in reducing energy and water consumption, increasing use of renewable energy sources and constructing sustainable facilities, all while maintaining mission readiness.

“These awards demonstrate the progress that we have made in the last three and a half years to change the way we think about and the way we produce and use energy,” said Mabus. “We are working towards these energy goals to help us become a more effective military force to help us accomplish the mission that the nation gives us.”

Navy leaders have shown how renewable energy saves lives on the battlefield and provides independence from foreign sources of energy.

Hawaii Leads

As SECNAV Platinum Command Award winner, the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is authorized to fly the SECNAV Energy Flag for one year. There is also a cash award of $45,000.

The USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) was honored with Platinum level status for afloat commands and will receive a $5,000 award.
Also earning recognition were the Pacific Missile Range Facility, receiving Gold level of achievement, and the USS Hopper (DDG 70), awarded Blue level of achievement.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2012) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks at the Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Awards ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial. The awards recognize Navy and Marine Corps installations, ships and squadrons for their notable progress toward the Department of the Navy’s goals of reducing energy and water consumption, increasing the use of renewable energy, and constructing sustainable facilities. (U.S. navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote/ Released)

“Congratulations to everyone – past and present, ashore and afloat – who earned this tremendous recognition,” said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. Pearl Harbor-Hickam, USS Paul Hamilton, PMRF and USS Hopper are commended for strong leadership, commitment and advocacy for energy and water management. I am extremely proud that the honors we received recognize our ‘one team’ – both the installations and the waterfront.”

Among the accomplishments leading to JBPHH winning the 2012 SECNAV Energy and Water Management Award include reducing energy consumption by 18 percent in the first year of FOC [full operational capability], constructing photovoltaic systems at five JBPHH facilities and at the Pacific Missile Range, and conducting more than $6.5M in energy and water efficiency projects in fiscal year 2011.

The JBPHH energy team is comprised of Katie Ramirez and Amy Nishijima, installation energy managers, who are also part of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, as well as building energy monitors who conduct weekly audits of energy usage.
“This is a truly a team award, and represents the collective efforts of every command and individual across the entire joint base,” said Capt. Jeffrey James, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The sheer size and diversity of this base – ranging from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One on the Pearl City Peninsula to the Hawaii Air National Guard on Hickam to the Naval Communications/Telecommunications Area Master Station at Wahiawa Annex, and everything in-between-make this recognition all the more meaningful,” he said.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with the outstanding military service members, DoD civilians and families residing onboard JBPHH. It is their commitment and willingness to go the extra mile that make achievements like this possible. As you drive by the flagpole at the JBPHH HQ building and see the SECNAV Energy Award flag proudly waving in the warm trade winds, you can rightly feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that you helped put it there,” James said.

Achievements Recognized

The DoN is cultivating a culture of energy efficiency on shore and at sea resulting in enhanced energy readiness and innovation. DoN is a widely recognized leader in renewable energy production. Equivalent of 19 percent of DoN shore electricity consumption comes from alternative sources.

Eight Navy and Marine Corps commands were recognized for exemplary energy and water savings which resulted in combined energy savings in 2011 of more than 418,500 million British thermal units (MBtu), enough energy for more than 4,144 homes for an entire year. The commands brought new renewable energy systems on line that produce 48,700 MBtu per year, equal to the energy requirements of 482 homes per year. Water savings were more than 37.5 million gallons, equivalent to 57 Olympic-size swimming pools. Cost avoidance in 2011 topped more than $16.7 million.

Navy commands undergo a rigorous evaluation of their overall energy and water management performance and are ranked according to a system of SECNAV award winners, then platinum, gold or blue level of achievement. Ten platinum, 51 gold and 36 blue commands were also recognized during the ceremony.

Mabus emphasized DoN’s aggressive energy and water consumption goals laid out three years ago. These five goals strengthen the strategic, tactical and operational capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps while enhancing environmental stewardship:

The DoN’s five energy goals are:

.    Increase Alternative Energy Use DoN-Wide: By 2020, 50 percent of total DoN energy consumption will come from alternative sources;
.    Sail the “Great Green Fleet”: DoN demonstrated a Green Strike Group in local operations in 2012 and will sail it by 2016;
.    Reduce Non-Tactical Petroleum Use: By 2015; DoN will reduce petroleum use in the commercial vehicle fleet by 50 percent;
.    Energy Ashore: By 2020, DoN will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources; 50 percent of DoN installations will be net-zero; and
.    Energy Efficient Acquisition: Evaluation of energy factors will be mandatory when awarding contracts for systems and buildings.

“We have energy goals that we want to achieve and because of the courage, bold actions and innovations of our winners today, we will achieve these goals,” said Mabus. “We are on the path to create a new energy future that will increase the security of this country because that is what the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have always done.”

For more news on U.S. Department of the Navy Energy, visit http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil.

Successful Launch of Experimental Hypersonic Scramjet Research Flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility – HIFiRE

A team that includes NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is celebrating the successful launch of an experimental hypersonic scramjet research flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

The Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program (HIFiRE) launches an experimental hypersonic scramjet vehicle from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii during a recent research flight. Credit: AFRL

NASA, AFRL and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) are working with a number of partners on the HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program) program to advance hypersonic flight — normally defined as beginning at Mach 5 — five times the speed of sound. The research program is aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies needed to achieve practical hypersonic flight. Being able to fly at hypersonic speeds could revolutionize high speed, long distance flight and provide more cost-effective access to space.

During the experiment the scramjet — aboard its sounding rocket — climbed to about 100,000 feet (30,480 meters) in altitude, accelerated from Mach 6 to Mach 8 (4,567 to 6,090 miles per hour; 7,350 to 9,800 kilometers per hour) and operated about 12 seconds — a big accomplishment for flight at hypersonic speeds. It was the fourth of a planned series of up to 10 flights under HIFiRE and the second focused on scramjet engine research.

The HIFiRE 2 scramjet research payload included a hypersonic inward turning inlet, followed by a scramjet combustor and dual-exhaust nozzle. More than 700 instruments on board recorded and transmitted data to researchers on the ground. The payload was developed under a partnership between the AFRL and NASA, with contributions from the Navy’s detachment at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. and ATK GASL located in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

“This is the first time we have flight tested a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet accelerating from Mach 6 to Mach 8,” said NASA Hypersonics Project Scientist Ken Rock, based at NASA’S Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. “At Mach 6 the inlet compression and combustion process was designed to reduce the flow to below Mach 1 — subsonic combustion. But at Mach 8 flight the flow remained greater than Mach 1 or supersonic throughout the engine. So this test will give us unique scientific data about scramjets transitioning from subsonic to supersonic combustion — something we can’t simulate in wind tunnels.”

The data collected during the execution of the HIFiRE experiments is expected to make a significant contribution to the development of future high-speed air-breathing engine concepts and help improve design, modeling, and simulation tools.

Technicians mount the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) Flight 2 research vehicle on a turntable for weight distribution evaluations at a White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) facility. Credit: WSMR/John Hamilton

The success of the three-stage launch system, consisting of two Terrier boost motors and an Oriole sustainer motor, is another important achievement of the HIFiRE 2 mission. The HIFiRE 2 mission, the first flight of this sounding rocket configuration, opens the door for a new high–performance flight configuration to support future Air Force, Navy, and NASA flight research.

The HIFiRE team has already achieved other milestones such as the design, assembly and extensive pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles and the design of complex avionics and flight systems. Demonstrating supersonic combustion in flight with a hydrocarbon fueled scramjet, compared to a hydrogen-fueled scramjet, is significant, according to researchers. While hydrogen fuel is more reactive, hydrocarbon fuel offers many benefits, including operational simplicity and higher fuel density so a hypersonic vehicle can carry more fuel. This represents yet another noteworthy achievement for the HIFiRE program, with additional test flights scheduled in the coming months and years.

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex Receives Site Dedication

The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) conducted a cultural site dedication today for the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) to be constructed at two locations on PMRF.

The Hawaiian blessing site dedication was conducted by noted Waimea kupuna Aletha Kaohi, with assistance from Sherri “Puni” Patrick. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Rear Adm. Joseph A. Horn, Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) program director for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, and other dignitaries were in attendance.

Sen. Daniel Inouye places soil in an umeke bowl

Sen. Daniel Inouye places soil in an umeke bowl during a dedication ceremony for the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex to be constructed at two sites at PMRF. The Hawaiian blessing site dedication was conducted by noted Waimea kupuna Aletha Kaohi, with assistance from Sherri "Puni" Patrick. Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, Rear Adm. Joseph A. Horn, Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) program director for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, and other dignitaries were in attendance. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh.

The AAMDTC will be a test and evaluation center in the development of the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA). The PAA was announced by the president in September 2009 to provide flexible, adaptable ballistic missile defense for our deployed troops, friends, and allies.

The test complex at PMRF is critical to the development of the Aegis Ashore capability. It is essential for verifying requirements and validating design capability prior to deployment at the first of two planned sites in Europe in 2015.

Aunty Aletha Kaohi hands Capt. Nicholas Mongillo, Commanding Officer, Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF)

Aunty Aletha Kaohi hands Capt. Nicholas Mongillo, Commanding Officer, Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), an umeke bowl during a dedication ceremony for the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex to be constructed at two sites at PMRF. The umeke held soil from both sites. The Hawaiian blessing site dedication was conducted by noted Waimea kupuna Kaohi, with assistance from Sherri "Puni" Patrick. U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, Rear Adm. Joseph A. Horn, Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) program director for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, and other dignitaries were in attendance. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh.

After initial certification, the AAMDTC will remain at PMRF as a Missile Defense Agency test asset and will be operated by the Missile Defense Agency.

Deployment of Aegis Ashore to Europe will greatly enhance coverage of defense of Europe as part of the overall Ballistic Missile Defense System.