Testing the rocket engine on the firewall test stand includes a number of other sub-systems. Here in the XCOR test bunker, the Lynx Electronic Flight Information System, or EFIS, displays real-time engine data on temporary panels, just as they will in the final cockpit design.
We also collect and analyze significant data after each test. This includes thermocouple data for analysis of heat and cold in the tanks, engine, pump and other parts of the thermodynamic cycle, sensor data of the pressures in each system, timing signals to sync everything, valve actuation signals, and the list continues.
After a test, XCOR team members hold an “After Action Briefing” to review what went right and what could be improved.
Safety culture at XCOR is one where everyone, from the team member on their first day on the job, to the most senior level executives are actively encouraged to speak up and ask questions, challenge assumptions, and point out where they feel something could be done better, safer, or more efficiently. Every point raised is carefully documented, analyzed and the appropriate action taken.
The bunker is a great place to be on test day. It is an opportunity to see the professionalism of the XCOR test team and the “build a little, test a little” culture on the move.
Tomorrow, a few words on test efficiency and philosophy.