NASA's Marshall Center Successfully Tests 48-inch Solid Rocket Motor

Mar 25, 2005

A scaled-down version of the Space Shuttle's Reusable Solid Rocket Motor was successfully tested March 24 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The 28-second firing tested a 48-inch-diameter, modified NASA motor.
Space Shuttle's solid rocket motors are periodically tested to ensure they can withstand environments similar to those generated by an actual motor during flight. For example, the motor's insulation materials must withstand chamber gas temperatures that reach 5,652 degrees Fahrenheit during a Shuttle launch.

Testing a sub-scale version of the Shuttle's Solid Rocket Motor is a versatile, quick-turnaround and low-cost way to determine the performance of new materials and instrumentation. Test results will be used to evaluate the performance of internal replacement insulation materials in the aft dome of the motor. The best performing insulation candidate will be tested in a full-scale motor test firing in July 2006.

The test is expected to further evaluate the performance of the Intelligent Pressure Transducer, a gauge which samples motor pressure 25 times faster than instruments now used.

The test, replicating launch conditions, is part of the Shuttle program's ongoing verification of components, materials and manufacturing processes required by the Space Shuttle Program and the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project Office at the Marshall Center.

"Testing continues to be a key element to the success of the Solid Rocket Motor, providing valuable information on design, process and material changes," said Jody Singer, manager of the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project Office.

Engineers from the Marshall Center Engineering Directorate and Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project Office conducted the test. ATK Thiokol of Promontory, Utah, manufactures the Shuttle's Solid Rocket Motor. The motor test -- used to qualify any proposed changes to the motor -- is a stepping stone to a Flight Support Motor test performed at ATK Thiokol's Test Services facility in Promontory.

At 126 feet long and 12 feet in diameter, the Shuttle's Reusable Solid Rocket Motor is the largest solid rocket motor ever flown and the first designed for reuse. During its two-minute burn at liftoff, each motor generates an average thrust of 2.6 million pounds. During Space Shuttle flights, Solid Rocket Motors provide 80 percent of the thrust during the first two minutes of flight.

Explore further: Bright points in Sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The amazing anatomy of James Webb Space Telescope mirrors

Mar 20, 2014

When you think of a mirror, there really isn't that much needed to describe it, but when you look at a mirror that will fly aboard NASA's next-generation James Webb Space Telescope, there's a lot to the anatomy ...

NASA successfully tests five-segment solid rocket motor

Sep 09, 2011

NASA and ATK Space Systems successfully completed a two-minute, full-scale test of Development Motor-3 (DM-3), Thursday, Sept. 8. DM-3 is NASA's largest and most powerful solid rocket motor ever designed for ...

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

14 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

14 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

15 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...