Wednesday, June 29, 2016

VIDEO: NASA Fires Solid Propellant Booster For Most Powerful Rocket In The World


PROMONTORY, Utah - A solid propellant booster for the most powerful rocket in the world, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), was successfully fired on Tuesday for its second qualification ground test at Orbital ATK's test facilities in Promontory, Utah.

This was the last full-scale test for the booster before SLS’s first uncrewed test flight with NASA’s Orion spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in late 2018.




“This final qualification test of the booster system shows real progress in the development of the Space Launch System,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Seeing this test today, and experiencing the sound and feel of approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust, helps us appreciate the progress we’re making to advance human exploration and open new frontiers for science and technology missions in deep space.”

The booster was tested at a cold motor conditioning target of 40 degrees Fahrenheit – the colder end of its accepted propellant temperature range. When ignited, temperatures inside the booster reached nearly 6,000 degrees. The two-minute, full-duration ground qualification test provided NASA with critical data on 82 qualification objectives that will support certification of the booster for flight. Engineers now will evaluate these data, captured by more than 530 instrumentation channels on the booster.


When completed, two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 main engines will be capable of sending humans to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and eventually Mars.  

The initial 77-ton (70-metric-ton) SLS configuration will use two 5-segment solid rocket boosters similar to the boosters that helped power the space shuttle to orbit. The next planned upgrade of SLS will use a powerful exploration upper stage for more ambitious missions, with a 105-metric-ton (115-ton) lift capacity. In each configuration, SLS will continue to use the same core stage and four RS-25 engines.


ABOVE PHOTO: The second and final qualification motor (QM-2) test for the Space Launch System’s booster is seen, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at Orbital ATK Propulsion System's (SLS) test facilities in Promontory, Utah. During the SLS flight the boosters will provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth, the first step on NASA’s Journey to Mars. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.