Bake missile at 350 for eight hours. Run away.

Thing that went boom in the night: A routine test of a missile – Breaking News from The Birmingham News –

So, apparently there was a huge explosion in Huntsville around 11PM last night. Nothing to worry about, though. Redstone Arsenal was just baking missile parts, and it was entirely routine. I am not making this up.

Walter Ruh, chief of the propulsion test branch of the Redstone Technical Test Center, answered reporter questions at midday outside the post. He was prompted to act by widespread alarm that prompted almost 100 calls to the Huntsville Police Department’s emergency and administrative lines.

Ruh said the test involved putting a segment of a missile into a prefabricated oven and slow-burning it to see how long it took before it blew up.

Duh, I mean Ruh, went on to say that it all done to make sure that missiles are safe for soldiers to be around. That’s good, I guess. I don’t quite understand why the missile was allowed to slow-cook for quite so long, though. A few years ago, I would have been pretty sure he was lying, but in the current climate it’s all too possible.


2 responses to “Bake missile at 350 for eight hours. Run away.

  1. Science must progress, said in sad Dr Strangelove accent.

    Lets not think of the chemical weapons incinerator at Bynum either.

  2. You do “slow cook” rockets and other solid fuel devices, such as some types of air bag inflators in cars, for safety reasons. As metal gets hot its mechanical properties degrade. Internal pressures that the case can withhold at normal operating temperatures might cause the case to burst at elevated temperatures. “Slow cooking” simulates the munition being exposed to a “regular” fire for an extended period of time until the autoignition temperature of the pyrotechnic charge is reached.

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