Rocket Non-Destructive Examination (RNDE)

The primary function of the RNDE System is to safely and efficiently examine the contents of an M55 Rocket contained in its original Shipping and Firing Tube, prior to processing the unit on the rocket line. The inspection process will allow trained operators to identify M55 rocket assemblies that may have leaked from their agent cavity into other parts of the rocket during their 60 plus years of storage.  

The RNDE System is a custom, state-of-the-art, Non-Destructive Examination System. This system is a self-contained, stand-alone system that contains two independent RNDE work cells enclosed by polycarbonate perimeter safety stand-off guarding to support Time, Distance and Shielding to the RNDE Operator. The RNDE system utilizes fully automated material handling, coupled with an advanced X-ray system with a direct conversion detector array to accomplish the Non-Destructive examination of the M55 rocket assemblies contained in their shipping and firing tubes.

This system was designed and built through a collaborative effort to produce a safe and efficient processing environment.

The RNDE process consists of M55 rocket firing tubes being loaded into the cell via a custom loading cart. There, a 2-axis “pick & place” robot will pick and place a rocket tube into the RNDE sled. This servo driven sled will move the rocket into the x-ray area where the rocket is scanned. Trained operators will evaluate the images from a remote station to determine if agent leakage is detected. Passed rockets (no leakage detected) will then be loaded onto an exit cart where they are taken to be processed on the rocket line. Failed rockets (leakage detected) will be removed to an overpack area where they are safely processed.

This system utilized the following equipment in each of the (2) RNDE cells:

  • INPUT and OUTPUT Transport Carts
  • X-ray Scanner & Detector housed in a leaded enclosure
  • 2-Axis “Pick and Place” robot for material handling
  • Servo Motion Sled with Tilting mechanism
  • Safety Interlocks
  • Operator Cart Control Panel


Machine in use

Machine in use

Machine in use

Machine in use