NASA Tests Updated Rocket Motor For Shuttle

May 01, 2006

NASA technicians said Friday they successfully tested an updated version of the rocket motor for the space shuttle's twin solid-fuel boosters at a Utah test facility. The new flight-support motor, designated FSM-12, burned approximately 123 seconds during the test, or the same amount of time each rocket motor on the reusable boosters must burn during an actual shuttle launch.

The static test - performed at the facilities of ATK Launch Systems in Promontory, Utah, near Salt Lake City - included 62 specific objectives and used 711 instrumentation channels to collect and evaluate the motor's performance, officials at Marshall Space Flight Center said in a statement. Technicians will publish the final test results later this year.

"Full-scale static testing continues to be a key element of our 'test before you fly' standard that we apply to our processes, material, hardware and design changes," said Jody Singer, manager of the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project, part of the Marshall's Space Shuttle Propulsion Office. "Testing such as this is important to ensure continued quality and performance."

The shuttle's reusable solid-fuel rocket motors remain the largest such motors ever flown, the only ones rated for human flight and the first designed for reuse. Each shuttle launch requires the two booster motors to lift the 4.5-million-pound vehicle off the ground.

During shuttle flights, the booster motors provide 80 percent of the thrust for the first two minutes after liftoff. Each motor, which generates an average of 2.6 million pounds of thrust, is just over 126 feet long, 12 feet in diameter and is the primary component of the shuttle's twin solid rocket boosters.

The solid-fuel rockets help to take the shuttle to an altitude of 28 miles at a speed of 3,094 miles per hour, before separating and parachuting into the ocean to be retrieved, then refurbished and prepared for another flight.

Copyright 2006 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: Computer simulation suggests early Earth bombarded by asteroids and comets

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Five things to know about SpaceX's flight plans

May 29, 2014

SpaceX has made supply runs to the International Space Station under a NASA contract. Now it's eyeing carrying astronauts to low-Earth orbit. NASA is depending on private companies to fill the void left ...

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 ...

NASA and ATK Successfully Test Ares First Stage Motor

Sep 10, 2009

NASA and industry engineers lit up the Utah sky Thursday with the initial full-scale, full-duration test firing of the first stage motor for the Ares I rocket. The Ares I is a crew launch vehicle in development for NASA's ...

Recommended for you

Exploring Mars in low Earth orbit

5 hours ago

In their quest to understand life's potential beyond Earth, astrobiologists study how organisms might survive in numerous environments, from the surface of Mars to the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter's moon, ...

Lifetime of gravity measurements heralds new beginning

7 hours ago

Although ESA's GOCE satellite is no more, all of the measurements it gathered during its life skirting the fringes our atmosphere, including the very last as it drifted slowly back to Earth, have been drawn ...

NASA's IceCube no longer on ice

11 hours ago

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has chosen a team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to build its first Earth science-related CubeSat mission.

User comments : 0