Northrop Grumman has recently tested the rocket booster for the long-awaited Space Launch System or the SLS from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which was so massive and powerful that it set a hillside on fire.
According to a report by Spaceflight Now, the testing happened at the company’s test facility in Promontory, Utah, this Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 3:05 pm EDT (1:05 MDT, 7:05 pm GMT) and was ignited for around two minutes.
NASA shared a video clip of the SLS booster test, and it showed how powerful the massive rocket is, leaving behind a flaming and smoking hillside.
The July test of the core of the stage rocket built by Boeing was successful, so it appears like everything is going according to plan seeing that the SLS booster is working rather well for its recent test run.
Testing the Flight Support Booster, or the FSB-1, is an essential step for the space agency as this will lay the groundwork for improvements of the future rocket boosters that will be used on the SLS, such as helping NASA engineers evaluate new processes and materials.
The test is also essential as it would help NASA and the Northrop Grumman evaluate motor manufacturing and performance, according to a NASA commentator during the live stream event before the rocket was ignited.
“From our view, it looks like everything went great,” an expert from NASA can also be heard saying after the test.
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The company has been working on the SLS booster since 2009 and has already conducted five separate test runs for the five-segment booster.
For those who are not aware, the SLS is the new heavy-lift launch system that the space agency is planning to use for future manned moon missions, which is part of the Artemis Project that aims to bring back man and the first woman on the moon.
In the future, the space agency is also hoping to bring man to the Red Planet.
According to Northrop Grumman, the rocket booster they have tested is the “largest solid rocket ever built for flight.”
Based on the company’s official documentation, the 154-foot booster weighs a whopping 1.6 million pounds and can produce a maximum thrust of 3.6 million pounds.
But the booster is nothing compared to the SLS core stage, which, according to Futurism, is at 212 feet long and is designed to produce 2 million pounds of thrust from four R-25 engines.
The stacking of the boosters for the launch system’s first-ever test launch, known as Artemis 1, will be conducted after the core stage completes another test-run: a critical full-duration hot-fire test that is scheduled to happen later this year at the Stennis Space Center located in Mississippi.
Artemis 1 will be carrying a crewless spacecraft into space, which will orbit the moon for several weeks before returning to Earth.
By 2023, the space agency is planning to commence the first manned SLS/Orion mission to the moon.
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Written by: Nhx Tingson