Director's Cut
Howdy from RELLIS!
 
With recent news reports of the “failure” of the first hypersonic flight test of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body on a two-stage missile booster, I am reminded of two ideas we often hear from leaders. The first is some form of “fail fast” or “fail early,” and the second is the need to conduct “risk reduction” activities before large scale testing.

Central to the first idea is the belief that one must accept some failures when truly pushing the boundaries of new capabilities, and that “failure” is a fundamental part of the innovation process. Examples often cited include one of my childhood favorites, Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb. More recently, we have seen this in Elon Musk’s pursuit of reusable rockets. The point is that to learn what is required to cross into new horizons, an inventor must learn through events others describe as failure.  

The second idea emphasizes the criticality of risk reduction in high cost development efforts. As we pursue highly complex defense and dual-use capabilities, we must be able to experiment with and test components and subsystems at a fraction of the costs and timelines normally associated with full flight tests and deliberate, highly-structured ground tests. We need to maximize our “learning” and “failure” before the most expensive and time-consuming tests as much as possible. I do believe the lack of national level test infrastructure capacity has meant some risk reduction efforts may not be undertaken simply due to lack of available time on a test range.

The Bush Combat Development Complex was conceived, in part, as a large risk reduction enterprise. The new experimentation and test capabilities we will bring on-line over the next year directly address some of our current key national shortages in these facilities. Representatives of US national labs, military research labs, proving grounds, test and evaluation organizations and industry identified critical needs they hoped we could address as we designed our complex—and we are bringing those capabilities to life. 

Our robust research portfolio means we are much more than just an experimentation and testing enterprise. The entire BCDC team, whether they are involved in research or testing, is focused on expanding existing boundaries and discovering new capabilities. In fact, one of our goals is to develop new techniques and technologies, such as laser diagnostics for hypersonic tests and improved test sensors used during off-road vehicle tests, that our partner labs and ranges can incorporate for improved effectiveness.  

If you want to come visit and learn more about the facilities and our research portfolio, we have our next open house August 23rd. If interested in participating in it, please send an email to bcdc@tamu.edu, and we'll make sure you receive an invitation. 

On behalf of our BCDC team, I hope you have a wonderful and safe summer (and vacation!) and we look forward to working with you!
 
Thank you & Gig ‘em---
 
Tim
 
Timothy S. Green
Major General, U.S. Air Force (Retired)
BCDC Director
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Thomas H. Todd III visits Aggieland
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Todd III is the Army Futures Command Deputy Commanding General for Acquisition and Systems, Chief Innovation Officer. He and Mr. Abdul Subhani, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army--Texas Capital Region, visited TAMU and BCDC on 27-28 June. They met with President Banks and Dr. Hurtado and received a comprehensive overview of TAMU and BCDC research and facility capabilities.
Army Futures Command leaders in front of the George H.W. Bush display wall in the Research Integration Center.
First Open House -- June 9th
We held our first open house on June 9th. We held a session for TAMU faculty during the morning and tracks for other academia, community interest, and small businesses that afternoon. Among the participants included eight representatives from the City of College Station. We learned a lot of great lessons from this first session and look forward to our next one on August 23rd.
Army Stakeholder Engagements
Data and Streaming Analytics Workshop
Representatives from the Ground Vehicle Systems Center and BCDC researchers standing in the Innovation Proving Ground area.
We're thankful to Gordon Wilson and David Blackwell (two Army Futures Command team members with duty here at BCDC) for arranging a series of in-person workshops with stakeholders from many of the U.S. Army labs and centers last month. These sessions proved invaluable, and we look forward to future collaboration opportunities.
Our IPG team hosted a data analytics workshop last month that included experts from academia and industry to insure our capabilities remain on the cutting edge of evolving technology. Big thanks to IBM, DELL, Trideum, SRC, Army Research Lab-UT for your assistance!
RELLIS 5G Ribbon Cutting
Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce/TAMU Central Texas
Our IPG and integrated autonomy teams supported the Texas A&M System 5G ribbon cutting event here on RELLIS in May. We're thankful to the Texas Legislature for their support as these 5G networks are a key component needed to facilitate our research efforts.

Members of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and TAMU Central Texas visited BCDC in June.  They are standing in front of the President George H.W. Bush tribute wall.
The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and TAMU Central Texas visited the RELLIS Campus in early June to learn about ongoing research and facilities, as well as identify potential national security research collaboration areas.
BAM Construction Update
IPG Construction Update
BAM construction continues on-schedule as we anticipate being prepared to conduct hypersonic ground test flights in the facility starting in April 2023. We expect the outer tubing to arrive in the coming weeks (photo from the manufacturer is above).

Construction progress continues with the IPG in both the Maneuver Challenge Course and the Off-road Test Area. The IPG remains on-schedule for completion in Fall 2022. Check out the video on the IPG page for a status of construction efforts.

Research Integration Center
BCDC In the News
Our capabilities within the RIC continue to expand. As you can see in the photo above, we've received more tools for our prototype shop and we're beginning to fabricate items needed for our research.

Recent news items of interest:

Texas A&M University System and AT&T launch 5G research testbeds on RELLIS Campus (The Eagle)

Upcoming Events
23 AUG: BCDC Open House
24 AUG: First day of Fall classes
04 SEP: Labor Day (holiday)

Mark calendars for 04 NOV BCDC Dedication
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