NASA completed a full-scale booster test for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket in Promontory, Utah, on September 2, 2020.
The full-scale booster firing was conducted with new materials and processes that may be used for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket boosters. NASA and Northrop Grumman, the SLS boosters lead contractor, will use data from the test to evaluate the motor’s performance using potential new materials and processes for Artemis missions beyond the initial Moon landing in 2024.
The SLS boosters are the largest, most powerful boosters ever built for flight. The two boosters on the rocket provide more than 75% of the thrust needed to launch NASA’s future deep space missions through NASA’s Artemis lunar program. Northrop Grumman is the lead contractor for the SLS boosters.
For a little over two minutes — the same amount of time that the boosters power the SLS rocket during liftoff and flight for each Artemis mission — the five-segment flight support booster fired in the Utah desert, producing more than 3 million pounds of thrust.
NASA and Northrop Grumman have previously completed three development motor tests and two qualification motor tests. Yesterday’s test, called Flight Support Booster-1 (FSB-1), builds on prior tests with the introduction of propellant ingredients from new suppliers for boosters on SLS rockets to support flights after Artemis III.
Credit: NASA/Northrop Grumman/Scott Mohrman
The first solid rocket booster test for Space Launch System (SLS) missions beyond Artemis III is seen here during a two-minute hot fire test, Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at the T-97 Northrop Grumman test facility in Promontory, Utah. The flight support booster is structurally identical to each of the five-segment solid rocket boosters on the SLS rocket and produce more than 75 percent of the rocket’s thrust capability.
The flight support booster test builds on prior tests and will allow NASA and Northrop Grumman, the SLS booster lead contractor, to evaluate the motor’s performance using potential new materials and processes for future booster performance.
NASA is working to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. The SLS rocket, Orion spacecraft, Gateway, and Human Landing System are part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. The Artemis program is the next step in human space exploration. It’s part of America’s broader Moon to Mars exploration approach, in which astronauts will explore the Moon. Experience gained there will enable humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon in a single mission.
For more images and information on this Space Launch System rocket test, see NASA Conducts Massive SLS Rocket Booster Test for Artemis Mission to the Moon.