On April 24th 2024, the Sunfire Feed team started with hydrostatic and cold flow testing at the Buxton test site.

Three tests were carried out and for the second test, the tank held a steady pressure just above 70 bar for 30 minutes. The team then moved onto cold flow testing. Unfortunately when the tanks were disassembled, it was discovered that the inner tank had buckled.

The reason for this failiure was that half way down the inner tank, the piston parallaxed and it didn’t travel any further. This resulted in a large pressure differential and slow buckling of the tank.
After designing a new piston that is less susceptible to the previous issues, the Desert Winds team returned to Buxton blast test site on May 16th. The second cold flow test was successful, with the piston working as intended, providing 10 seconds of propellant mass flow and pressure.

This new, longer piston included wear rings as well as an extra o-ring in order to eliminate the possibility of the aluminium of the piston coming into contact with the tank and parallaxing again.

You can watch both attempts on our YouTube channel!