This map shows a closer look at the area around Green Cove Road in South Huntsville.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – This map shows a closer look at the area around Green Cove Road in South Huntsville. (Photo Credit: 2022 Redstone Arsenal Installation Compatible Use Zone Study) VIEW ORIGINAL
 This map is a closer look at the area around Haysland Road in South Huntsville.
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – This map is a closer look at the area around Haysland Road in South Huntsville. (Photo Credit: 2022 Redstone Arsenal Installation Compatible Use Zone Study) VIEW ORIGINAL
This map shows the expected noise intensity of demolition and large-caliber tests and activities. Note that Zone I is not highlighted, rather it is considered the entire area outside of Zone II.
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – This map shows the expected noise intensity of demolition and large-caliber tests and activities. Note that Zone I is not highlighted, rather it is considered the entire area outside of Zone II.

(Photo Credit: 2022 Redstone Arsenal Installation Compatible Use Zone Study)
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Warning signs line the fences along the boundaries of one of Redstone Arsenal’s test ranges. These large parcels of land are used to test and/or demolish a variety of items throughout the year.
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Warning signs line the fences along the boundaries of one of Redstone Arsenal’s test ranges. These large parcels of land are used to test and/or demolish a variety of items throughout the year. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Stinson ) VIEW ORIGINAL

The rumbling sounds of rocket engines will now be added to the mix of the typical detonations and booming noises coming from Redstone Arsenal.

Hotfire tests of rocket engines have resumed on the installation and bring a sound that hasn’t been generated here since the 1990s.

The tests are part of NASA’s commercial space launch agreement.

When it comes to noise generated by the activities on post, the Army goes to great lengths to measure its impact on the surrounding communities going as far as to consider the impact noise will have on domestic animals and wildlife, according to Army Regulation 200-1.

Redstone Arsenal has conducted several studies and has a dedicated program designed to monitor and mitigate any adverse effects reported by the public.

Ramzi Makkouk heads up that program.

“The Army understands that military activities are noisy events,” he said. “Since the regulation of land use on adjoining land is the authority of local communities, the military cannot solve these problems unilaterally. Rather, the Army must work with local communities to establish the controls that will prevent noise problems from growing even larger.”

The Army has identified several “noise-sensitive land uses” like medical facilities, schools and residential housing and works to ensure that the testing on post takes place far enough away or with enough mitigating factors that the noise levels don’t exceed what’s acceptable for Noise Zone I, the least affected zone of the Army’s three zone designations.

The places where you would expect to hear the loudest sounds are along the Arsenal’s eastern boundary, which includes portions of Green Cove Road, Sandhurst Drive, and Haysland Road, with the sounds lessening as you get farther into South Huntsville; parts of Lacey’s Spring and Valhermoso Springs.

According to the study, the principal noise makers on post are demolition, missile research and development testing, along with fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft training.

Redstone Arsenal is equipped with 12 test sites, not including NASA’s various test stands, that are capable of hosting some rather noisy activities, but in addition to those, Morale, Welfare and Recreation also operates a number of hunting programs and a firing range used for skeet shooting that can create noise.

When scientists, musicians and anyone else who deals with noise discuss the topic, they use decibels to describe it.

According to the study, human hearing runs from zero to 140dB. It puts that in perspective by saying a whisper two meters away from someone’s ear would register at 30dB, while  an M16 rifle, fired from the same distance, would register around 154dB.

When it comes to testing, noises experienced between 115-130dB are usually described as “noticeable and distinct,” according to the study, while noises above 130dB are “generally objectionable” and “correlate with a high risk of noise complaints.”

The study also said that structural damage is “improbable” when noises levels do not exceed 140dB.

Even though the study did not look at NASA activities, it does tell how noise is affected by the local environment, which can be applied to anything that makes a substantial amount of noise on post.

“Wind and temperature significantly influence how far sound may travel from a source and how loud it will be at the receiver’s location,” the study noted.

“As sound travels through air, a receiver downwind of the source will be subjected to higher sound levels than a receiver upwind; in effect the wind is actually helping move or push the sound to the downwind receiver.

“Combine wind direction with temperature variation (as a rule, sound usually travels further in cold temperatures) and one may observe the phenomena of atmospheric refraction.

“This is the process by which atmospheric conditions actually bend and/or focus sound waves toward some areas and away from others.”

That means on a clear day in the middle of the summer with a rising barometer, people will be less likely to hear what’s happening on post.

But if the wind is blowing in your direction, it’s cold, hazy of foggy or the weather is measuring high barometric readings with low temperatures, things will probably get a little noisy.

Members of the public who feel they’ve been adversely affected by the noise can call the Garrison’s Public Affairs Office at 256-876-4161.

From there the complaint will be routed to the Office of Staff Judge Advocate’s chief claims attorney who will perform a damage assessment.

“Typically, only a small percentage of people are bothered by noise,” Makkouk said. “People who call to complain are often angry because they feel that the negative impact on their lives has been too large.

“I would say most of the callers’ complaints received are for structural damage.”