Colonel Huber Speaks at Rotary Club
by Bob Augustin Jr.
Air Force Colonel Art Huber, Base Commander of the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) located in Tullahoma, Tennessee, was the guest speaker at the March 7, 2008 meeting of the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club. Col. Huber explained that part of his duty as Base Commander is exactly what he was doing today: educating the general public to the mission of Arnold Engineering Development Center.
Col. Huber said that AEDC was established to test and evaluate future systems for civil and military agencies and also to trouble-shoot current systems. Currently AEDC is testing two major systems: NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), the replacement for the Space Shuttle, and the F-35 Lightning II, a Joint Strike Fighter which will be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marines. The AEDC also houses military personnel who are on active duty, many of whom have been or are currently deployed in Iraq.
Arnold Engineering Development Center employs 2,750 people on a 40,000 acres site near Tullahoma. Col. Huber explained that the main part of the base occupies approximately 4,000 acres, the rest being undeveloped but essential to its mission, nonetheless. Jet and rocket engines are both noisy and dangerous and, to assure the safety and peace of the community, they are tested far away for populated areas. Col. Huber stated that the ratio of private contractors to military personnel at AEDC is 9:1, which is unique in military bases. Consequently, the base provides many jobs for the community
With the aid of computer slide presentation, Col. Huber outlined the different types of testing done at the base. The AEDC performs aero propulsion testing for jet engines, particularly altitude testing and icing testing. They provide aerodynamic testing, evaluating the shapes of vehicles in wind tunnels of various speeds. Hypersonic testing, which determines what happens to an engine when in goes beyond Mach 5, five times the speed of sound, is also done there. Because air breaks down, that is, the atoms that make up the air disassociate with each other when a vehicle accelerates beyond Mach 5, extensive tests must be run to determine what effect this will have on the operation of the engine.
Other types of evaluations performed at AEDC are rocket testing and space testing. The center in Tullahoma performs testing that is unique in the entire world, duplicating the vacuum and heat and cold of space. They currently are testing the Minuteman III space missile and NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. The AEDC also tested the kill vehicle, the seeker missile that shot down the falling spy satellite which was headline news this past month.
Pictured above are President-Elect Polly Marsh, Col. Art Huber, and Rotarian Jim Bush.