Kauai Test Facility

Kauai photo

The Kauai Test Facility (KTF) is a rocket launch range in Hawaii operated by Sandia National Laboratories for the Department of Energy. The facilities and personnel support a variety of missions including research and development, operational training, and test and evaluation. To ensure maximum use of the facilities, Sandia conducts launch projects for other organizations or government agencies on a noninterference basis. Beginning in 1961, KTF has a long history of success and experience with a multitude of rocket launch operations and has supported over 400 missions.

KTF provides a high-quality integrated facility for conducting a wide range of test operations. These operations support materials research, components development, advanced reentry-vehicle technologies, water entry-and-recovery systems, missile defense testing, and on-board sensor research-and-development testing. Resources at KTF are available for assembling, testing, and launching instrumented rockets and rocket payloads; receiving, recording, and processing telemetry; and data transfer with remote air- and ship-borne instrumentation platforms.

KTF is a tenant and an integral element of the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), the world’s largest test range (underwater, surface, air, and space assets). PMRF complimentary and supplementary capabilities include flight safety, radar tracking, world time reference, telemetry reception, communication, and weather data. Located on the westernmost extension of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, our location offers excellent weather conditions and flight corridors for preparation and flight activities. KTFs assets, collaboration with PMRF, and location provide an ideal and unique option for many U.S. rocket-borne experiments.

Facilities, Operations, and Unique Offerings

KTF offers the following facilities and equipment:

  • A vertical launch complex with missile service tower
  • 20K- and 7.5K-rail launchers
  • Four Secure, climate-controlled assembly buildings used for
    • Payload buildup, checkout, and control
    • Rocket motor processing and checkout
  • A launch operations building including
    • a central computing facility
    • computer-controlled countdown
    • Interrange and intrarange communications
  • In-flight telemetry data receipt, processing, recording, and display
  • Real-time trajectory data receipt, processing, and display
  • Wind data collection and analysis
  • An extensive array of still and high-speed documentation photometrics
  • Physical and information security coordination
  • Range safety analysis and support
  • Quick-look data playback
  • Office space / conference rooms / network access for mission personnel

KTF provides the following location-enabled operations:

  • Partnership with the Pacific Missile Range Facility
  • A broad, unrestricted, and unpopulated ocean impact area
  • Joint experiments with launches from other Ranges or orbiting objects
  • Experiments on phenomena occurring in the upper atmosphere and in space over the mid-Pacific
  • High-velocity water impact and underwater trajectory experiments
  • Over 125 acres of land surrounded by PMRF and the Pacific Ocean

KTF has these unique offerings:

  • Sandia's immense technical-support infrastructure, including reach-back to the labs 10K+ staff members
  • Rocket, Range, and Sensor expertise all under one roof
  • Multiple and simultaneous launches
  • On-site diagnostics dedicated / on the fly configurable to individual mission
  • Experienced personnel for executing smooth and cost efficient operations
  • Partnerships with government agencies and industry partners
  • Onsite operation and maintenance staff