Facility design consideration for continuous mix production of class 1.3 propellant
In November of 1989, NASA awarded the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor (ASRM) contract to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (LMSC) for production of advanced solid rocket motors using the continuous mix process. Aerojet ASRM division (AAD) was selected as the facility operator and RUST International Corporation provided the engineering, procurement, and construction management services. The continuous mix process mandates that the mix and cast facilities be 'close-coupled' along with the premix facilities, creating unique and challenging requirements for the facility designer. The classical approach to handling energetic materials-division into manageable quantities, segregation, and isolation-was not available due to these process requirements and quantities involved. This paper provides a description of the physical facilities, the continuous mix process, and discusses the monitoring and detection techniques used to mitigate hazards and prevent an incident.