Successful Rocket Motor Test Helps NASA's Shuttle and Ares I

Nov 02, 2007

NASA's Space Shuttle Program successfully fired a four-segment reusable solid rocket motor Thursday, Nov. 1, at a Utah test facility. The two-minute test provided important information for continued launches of the shuttle and for development of the Ares I rocket, a key component of NASA's Constellation Program that will launch the Orion crew vehicle on missions to the moon.

The static firing of the full-scale motor was performed at 1 p.m. MDT at ATK Launch Systems Group, a Promontory, Utah-based unit of Alliant Techsystems Inc., where the shuttle's solid rocket motors are manufactured. Preliminary indications are that all test objectives for shuttle and Ares I were met.

The test evaluation motor, or TEM-13, burned for approximately 123 seconds, the same time each reusable solid rocket motor burns during a space shuttle launch. The Reusable Solid Rocket Booster Project Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages these tests to qualify any proposed changes to the rocket motor and to determine whether new materials perform as well as those now in use.

"Full-scale static testing such as this is a key element of the 'test before you fly' standard and ensures continued quality and performance," said Jody Singer, deputy manager of the Shuttle Propulsion Office at Marshall.

One test objective was to demonstrate the thrust vector control system operation using only one of two hydraulic power units. The vector control, part of the flight control system, directs the thrust of the two solid rocket booster nozzles to control shuttle attitude and trajectory during liftoff and ascent. During a shuttle launch, both hydraulic power units run and provide backup power to thrust vector control actuators. The test with only one hydraulic power unit will validate the system's redundancy capability and operating performance data.

Another test objective was to measure the external sound or acoustics created when the motor ignites. More than 25 microphones were located near the motor to record the data from the firing. This information will be used to predict the motor's acoustic effects and aid in the final design of the launch structure for Ares I.

After final test data are analyzed, NASA will publish results for each objective in a report available later this year.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Space sex geckos at risk as Russia loses control of satellite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA's 'flying saucer' readies for first test flight

Jun 03, 2014

(Phys.org) —It only sounds like science fiction. To test a new technology for landing heavy payloads on Mars, NASA is about to drop a flying-saucer shaped vehicle from a helium balloon high above Earth' ...

NASA to test giant Mars parachute on Earth

Jun 01, 2014

The skies off the Hawaiian island of Kauai will be a stand-in for Mars as NASA prepares to launch a saucer-shaped vehicle in an experimental flight designed to land heavy loads on the red planet.

Recommended for you

Video: A dizzying view of the Earth from space

18 hours ago

We've got vertigo watching this video, but in a good way! This is a sped-up view of Earth from the International Space Station from the Cupola, a wraparound window that is usually used for cargo ship berthings ...

NEOWISE spots a comet that looked like an asteroid

18 hours ago

Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) has been observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft just one day after passing through its closest approach to the sun. The comet ...

What the UK Space Agency can teach Australia

18 hours ago

Australia has had an active civil space program since 1947 but has much to learn if it is to capture a bigger share of growing billion dollar global space industry. ...

Discover the "X-factor" of NASA's Webb telescope

18 hours ago

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray observatory have something in common: a huge test chamber used to simulate the hazards of space and the distant glow of starlight. Viewers can learn about ...

User comments : 0