FAR Test Site, June 2013
In 2003 four individuals - Kevin Baxter, Fred Holmes, Mark Holthaus, and Ted Rothaupt - formed the Friends of Amateur Rocketry Inc. (FAR) The goal of FAR is to encourage cooperation between individuals and groups, and advance amateur rocketry. The FAR Test Site is located in the Mojave Desert, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
In a word, this place is incredible. The facility safely supports all forms of flight testing and static testing. Individuals and groups from around the country develop solid, hybrid, and liquid fueled projects. FAR boasts an impressive assortment of equipment including a forklift, fire fighting equipment, explosives magazines, static test stands, launch rails, 110VAC electricity, Ethernet, storage, welders, drill press, crane, and much much more.
Although it is hard to believe, even more impressive than the concrete and steel are the individuals who support and run FAR. Their passion, knowledge, and dedication must been seen.
The Facility click
Viewing Bunker click
FAR is located in the Mojave desert about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Edwards Air Force Base is nearby. Most of the trip to FAR is on paved roads and unremarkable. The last half hour of the journey involves rough sand/dirt trails. Overall the trip is not bad and very scenic.
This is the dirt road leading into FAR.
FAR contains vertical test stands, horizontal test stands, and inverted test stand of different sizes and flexible configurations. Various launch rails are available.
Combining fixed ground support (doesn't need to be taken apart at the end of the day) with an underground block house and several observation bunkers allows anything from a small HPR motor to a large Class 3 project to be safely tested or flown. Various vehicles, cranes, tool shops, and assembly buildings complete the first class facility.
A picture is worth a thousand words........
The command center is located in a small underground blockhouse. The ceiling of the blockhouse is 8 inches of reinforced concrete. The walls are made from 16 inches of reinforced concrete. Small observation windows are thick polycarbonate glass.
Inside the structure is electric power, lighting, and Internet.
In addition to the block house, several viewing bunkers are available. The roof of the viewing bunkers are 8 inches of reinforced concrete. The front walls are 16 inches thick. In front of the viewing bunker a large mound of dirt is piled. The back is cinder blocks.