Rolls-Royce Opens World’s Largest Aerospace Testbed

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Rolls-Royce officially opened the doors to its new 7,500-square-meter (80,729-square-foot) testbed facility in Derby, U.K., last week. Called Testbed 80, the testbed can collect data for more than 10,000 different engine parameters and detect vibrations at a rate of up to 200,000 samples per second. Along with being able to handle Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan demonstrator, which has blades measuring 140 inches in diameter, the facility is capable of testing engines producing up to 155,000 pounds of thrust.

“As the new global hub of our testing capability, [Testbed 80] will support the next stage of our UltraFan programme as we begin ground testing the first demonstrator in 2022,” said Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East. “This incredible piece of infrastructure is a very visible sign of our commitment to this site and secures the future of Derby as the home of large engine development, continuing a history that began in the late 1960s with the RB211.”

Rolls-Royce partnered with Ottawa, Canada-based MDS Aero Support Corporation for the design and construction of the Testbed 80 facility. The project represents a £90 million (about $127 million) investment for the company and construction took nearly three years to complete. As previously reported by AVweb, Rolls-Royce conducted the first test run in the facility last January.

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