Engine and Systems Ultra High Altitude Test Facility
The UHATF test chamber has been designed to demonstrate and verify the performance
of high altitude engines and systems. Aurora Flight Sciences provides turnkey solutions
for your testing needs including integration, test operation, instrumentation, data
acquisition and analysis services. Aurora works hand-in-hand with our customers
and their engineering teams to leverage the unique capabilities of the UHATF. Our
customers have included AAI (Textron), Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.
Altitude Test Environment
The high altitude test chamber is a cylindrical bell 7 feet in diameter by 12 feet
in length. It is normally operated to test high altitude aircraft piston engines.
The facility is currently capable of testing up to 100 horsepower engines at altitudes
up to 89,000 feet with 25% bypass air. The dynamometer is capable of 335 hp (885
ft-lb torque) with engine speeds up to 12,000 rpm. The chamber can test at altitudes
up to 100,000 feet. The UHATF is located in Manassas, VA only 45 minutes from Washington,
DC with convenient access to three major airports.
In addition to the test facility Aurora provides services for data acquisition system
specification and setup and instrumentation specification and installation. Aurora
can design and fabricate the necessary test fixtures and adapters. Aurora supports
both one shift per day testing services or continuous 24x7 operations for endurance
testing. The UHATF supports testing ITAR controlled equipment. Aurora treats all
customers with strict confidentiality to ensure the protection of your intellectual
The UHATF is for hydrocarbon and hydrogen fuel testing. All liquid fuels, including
cryogenic fuels, can be accommodated. The facility is equipped with a 200 channel
(expandable) data acquisition system with high response combustion data systems
available. The facility has three separate cooling loops for test article cooling
including cooling with liquid nitrogen (-195ºC) (3000 gallon LN2 tank on site),
hydrofluoroether (HFE) (to -135ºC), and glycol/water (-40ºC). Combined cooling system
capability is 570 kW.
Systems Thermal and Environmental Testing
The facility also can provide thermal and high altitude environmental testing of
large scale systems for high altitude aircraft, such as payload cooling or satellite
launch through combined temperature and pressure environments. This enables the
development or validation of electrical or environmental control systems under simulated