NASA tests new rocket booster


ORBITAL ATK

Engineers at Orbital ATK prepare to test the largest, most powerful booster ever built for NASA's new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which will fire up for a ground test later today, at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems’ test facilities in Promontory, Utah.

The two-minute static test is a significant milestone for the SLS as part of NASA’s journey to Mars. A second test is planned for early 2016 after which the system will be ready for its first test flight.

NASA explains

When completed, two five-segment, solid-rocket boosters and four RS-25 main engines will power the SLS as it begins its deep space missions. The boosters operate in parallel with the main engines for the first two minutes of flight, providing more than 75 percent of the thrust needed for the rocket to escape Earth’s gravitational pull.
The first flight test of the SLS will feature a configuration for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS is updated, it will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

You can watch the test live on NASA TV.

  1. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#.VP9zm7NwHrc
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